Exploring the Golden Isles of Georgia
If you haven’t discovered the Golden Isles of Georgia, you may be missing out on the best-kept secret in the South. This spectacular area is made up of Brunswick (the mainland) and 4 barrier islands. The islands include St. Simons (the most well-known), Jekyll, Little St. Simons, and Sea. They lie halfway between Jacksonville, Florida, and Savannah, Georgia.
In this part of Georgia, the streets are provocatively draped with Spanish moss. The oak trees bend and sway with the breeze, almost beckoning for guests to leave their cares behind and jump feet first into the calm lifestyle that the Golden Isles prides itself on. These eco-friendly islands on the Atlantic seaboard offer coastal marshlands, sandy beaches, unique shops, and a variety of historical attractions that set the stage for a memorable vacation or visit.
The King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort
For my visits to the Golden Isles, I stayed at St. Simons Island. We chose the King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort, a great family-friendly beachfront resort.
My family’s accommodations at The King and Prince included a spacious two-bedroom oceanfront condo in the north villas. We had two bathrooms, a huge balcony, living room, dining area, full kitchen and washer/dryer. The complex had a big swimming pool only steps from the beach. On a second trip, I enjoyed an oceanfront room in the historic main building, with fine furnishings, lovely linens, and modern amenities. Some rooms at the resort are pet-friendly.
The King and Prince has a really good onsite restaurant (ECHO), tennis courts, a huge swimming pool, and a pool-side snack bar open during season. The Georgia Golf Resort allows the guests to play a lovely 18-hole, Par 72 course during their travels.
K&P’s staff is attentive and the maid service impeccable. The resort is very laid back so families will feel comfortable throughout the resort. To read a more current review of King and Prince, go to this article: Unspoiled Beauty of St. Simons Island.
Fun Offerings in the Golden Isles
St. Simons Island has many quaint restaurants and a few shopping centers, but it is primarily a relaxation spot. We found luxury shopping at Shops at Sea Island and North Frederica Walk, where Indigo & Cotton and Mimi’s Stationery caught my eye.
History buffs will appreciate the beautiful Christ Church Frederica, built by John and Charles Wesley, who later returned to England to helped create the Methodist Movement. It is quite lovely inside and makes for great photos. It also has lovely Louis Comfort Tiffany windows. Be sure to visit Fort Frederica, built by James Oglethorpe in 1736, while you are out. Around 630 British troops were stationed here protecting Georgia from Spanish raids. It is now part of the National Park Service so be sure to get your National Park Service Passport stamped.
From St. Simons, consider day trips to Brunswick, one of the busiest ports in the country, or to historic Jekyll Island. Jekyll was once the scene for the elite wealthy class, with club memberships held by the Morgans, Cranes, and Rockefellers. It is said that at one time, Jekyll’s membership represented one sixth of the world’s wealth. You can take a guided tour or see the island on your own, but without the guide you will miss much of the colorful history. Pop in the Jekyll Island Club Resort (A Historic Hotels of America brand) for a glass of wine or cocktail from the beautiful Clubhouse veranda. Someday I hope to stay there.
Families should not miss the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. This is great rehab and educational center that will teach you about endangered turtles.
Delicious Dining Options
Mullet Bay appeared to be the busiest restaurant on St. Simons Island. It had a boisterous, but fun crowd which my husband loved. I enjoyed Barbara Jean’s, where I had a very tasty cooked vegetables plate. Options here include 3 or 4 classic Southern vegetables such as red beans & rice, stewed tomatoes, squash casserole, fresh green beans, coleslaw, and glazed carrots.
I had delicious appetizers and Crab Cakes from Echo at the King and Prince Hotel. The restaurant is beautiful and has lovely scenery to enjoy with its oceanfront location. Georgia Sea Grill served our best steaks and fresh seafood, while Gnat’s Landing had elevated Southern dishes and appetizers, like the yummy Vidalia Onion Pie—which is highly addictive!
Don’t miss breakfast from the Sandcastle Cafe & Grille, where you can choose an awesome little breakfast buffet or the Rosti (hash browns with ham, Swiss, and a poached egg) or Eggs Benedict. Luckily every restaurant I tried on the island served perfectly sweetened sweet tea.
The Golden Isles: A Great Way to Relax and Recharge
Visiting the Golden Isles of Georgia is a perfect way to get back to basics and enjoy family time during your holiday without sparing good food, modern conveniences, and noteworthy attractions. Have you been to this part of the state yet?
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Check out our other Georgia vacation destinations:
Historic & Haunted Savannah
This article was originally published October 2014, it was one of my first.