As the holidays approach, families start planning for their Christmas vacation. For some, northern cities are a top choice for a picture-perfect, frosty and festive season, where snow is welcome around Christmas time.
But not everyone wants snowfall to be a part of holiday cheer, particularly if driving is required. By late November and after the first freeze, families may decide they’ve had enough of snow shovels, thick winter jackets and ice scraping. They want a place that’s full of holiday activities without the snow and icy roads.
For families who have vacationed in South Georgia, there’s a good chance they’ll choose to spend the holidays on St. Simons Island. This 18-mile long island has a long history of providing families with happy memories during the holiday season. The island hosts a series of holiday events that appeal to both longtime residents and visitors alike.
For many of those visitors from frigid northern states, spending the weeks leading up to Christmas and New Years on St. Simons Island seems like a tropical paradise. In December, it’s sometimes warm enough for a t-shirt and shorts — a welcome departure from the winter layers needed in the Northeast.
Why Are the Holidays so Much Fun on St. Simons Island?
St. Simons Island is a place that visitors flock to all year long. The island has a unique combination of natural beauty and modern conveniences. Beaches, nature trails, stunning views of the ocean and abundant wildlife make it an ideal place to vacation.
A lot of people come here specifically to enjoy the outdoors, taking part in activities like biking, fishing, deep-sea diving, and boating. The island also appeals to people who love meticulously preserved historic sights that date back more than a century.
Delectable family-owned restaurants that you can’t find elsewhere and unique antique shops and specialty stores make it a true, one-of-a-kind destination.
For these reasons, St. Simons is a popular vacation spot in the summer. The cool breeze off the ocean has a moderating effect on the summer heat and feels wonderfully refreshing. And the beaches are spectacular here.
In December, when northern friends and relatives are bundling up, St. Simons is still enjoying considerably milder temperatures. December’s average temperature in South Georgia is usually 65 degrees, a balmy high for anyone used to daytime temps in the 30s up north. Shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops are common holiday attire around here, and even Santa Claus may find the weather too comfortable for his thick red suit.
Plenty to do, delightful weather, and lots of holiday cheer – that’s an appealing combination, for sure. What could be more perfect than opening presents on Christmas morning, then going for a walk along the beach, enjoying the warmth of the sun? St. Simons is a place where you won’t run up against icy roads, bone-chilling cold, or grey skies this holiday season.
Another reason why so many families come here is that St. Simons Island provides the ultimate in peace and tranquility. It’s a place where you quickly forget about the stress of big city life, rediscover nature and move at a slower, more enjoyable pace of life.
The lifestyle here truly is more relaxed — nobody on St. Simons Island seems to be in a hurry. Everyone is happy to take their time, maybe even stop for a moment by the Pier Village and savor the view of the sun setting over the Atlantic Ocean.
The pier itself has a way of drawing in people who want to take a moment to just enjoy the island’s stunning beauty. And St. Simons Island also has plenty of southern hospitality to spare. It’s a friendly place, where the locals welcome you and are happy to tell you about all the yuletide activities going on here.
What Holiday Activities Happen on St. Simons Island?
With great weather and beautiful scenery, St. Simons is an ideal holiday paradise, a place where everyone celebrates the holidays and where you can truly rediscover the magic of Christmas.
A favorite activity this time of year is a preview of neighborhood Christmas lights. On St. Simons Island, you can do that – but you won’t necessarily need your car. Here, you can hop on a trolley in front of St. Simons Island Pier for a tour of the area’s Christmas lights. This is a 90-minute guided tour that comes complete with hot chocolate, cookies, and a visit from Santa.
St. Simons Island knows how to put folks into the Christmas spirit, from tree lighting celebrations to holiday parades. And it’s also a great place to do some holiday shopping. On Dec. 1-2, Postell Park hosts the Glynn Visual Arts Eighth Annual Mistletoe Market, an opportunity to get a jump on your Christmas shopping at this fine art and gift market.
This is a mainstay of the Golden Isles’ holiday festivities, and this year more than 70 artists, crafters, and artisans are expected to offer quite a bit for early holiday shoppers to explore. That includes pottery, jewelry, sculpture, photography, art woodworking, baskets, fabric, and mixed media.
This event also offers food and entertainment in a festive island holiday atmosphere.
On that same weekend, St. Simons Island hosts the Holiday Hound Hike Pooch Parade, when local dogs and potbellied pigs get all dressed up in their holiday best and help residents and visitors celebrate the season with a parade and festival.
Right over the bridge that leads onto the island, historic downtown Brunswick has its annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on the Friday after Thanksgiving, complete with Christmas carols and carriage rides.
Brunswick has an annual community parade on the first Saturday in December too, with more than 100 floats, vehicles, walking groups, and marching band units.
And if you love history, one of the region’s most historic sites will be all decked out for the holidays. From Nov. 30-Dec. 1, the Hofwyl-Broadfield 38th Annual Christmas Tour will be held at the Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation State Historic Site, 5556 US Highway 17N, Brunswick.
Centuries-old oaks line the path that starts your guided tour of this antebellum rice plantation, a favorite of history buffs, and one that celebrates the holidays with hot wassail and cookies, musicians and Christmas carols.
Santa Claus will make an appearance both nights, sitting by a fireplace to welcome the kids. Then you can explore this beautiful Southern rice plantation by candlelight, creating the feel for what it was like to celebrate Christmas back in the 1850s.
There is plenty of Yuletide cheer happening on St. Simons Island in November and December, and it’s a real joy to drive around the island and see the beautiful homes lit up for the holidays. It’s a charming island and it really comes to life during the holiday season.
St. Simons is an ideal place for enjoying pristine beaches, genuine Southern hospitality, and remarkably preserved historical attractions. Why not add it to your list of places to visit for the holidays as well?
With so much to enjoy here, it’s no wonder a growing number of people want to call St. Simons Island their permanent home.
If you’re looking at becoming a permanent resident of St. Simons Island, Palmetto Building Group has new, move-in ready single-family homes, cottages, condominiums and townhouses available, often with fabulous views of the marshes close by. We also have homes close to the Pier Village or right near the beach.
Contact us today at 912-266-8401 or email us at Palmettoleads@gmail.com to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you, but most of all, we’re thrilled to know you’re looking for a new home on one of the most spectacularly beautiful and historic parts of South Georgia.