Going on vacation to St. Simons Island? Here are things to do on St. Simons Island Beaches.
If you’re thinking about making your first visit to St. Simons Island after friends or colleagues bragged about how great it is, you may have a vague image in your mind.
It’s an island, so you’re envisioning sand, waves. You’re anticipating a spectacular view of the ocean.
Without question, this island has beaches you’ll fall in love with, and gorgeous views of the ocean. But if you’re a first-time visitor, you’ll quickly discover there’s so much more to enjoy.
For decades, people have been coming to St. Simons Island to take advantage of so many different things, including the ability to enjoy:
- Southern cooking in family-owned restaurants
- Fresh seafood from boats right off the ocean
- Exploring history
- Playing golf
- Boating and fishing
- Biking and hiking on nature trails.
What’s remarkable about St. Simons Island is that while the island is just 18 miles long from one end to the other, but it’s a highly diverse place to vacation.
And you can learn some amazing history here. This island is rich in history from the days of the original 13 colonies right up to the Civil War and then World War II.
So if you’re new to St. Simons Island and want to know more about things to do here, here’s a guide to give you a better sense of things to do on St. Simons Island beaches and in the area.
Planning for Your St. Simons Island Trip
St. Simons Island is a truly unique place. One of the five Golden Isles of Georgia, it’s part of an area that’s been called the “Best islands in the Continental U.S. and Canada.”
The mix of the modern and the historic, of urban pleasures combined with marshland grasses, makes St. Simons Island a place worth discovering – and a place you’re going to come back to, over and over again.
Your morning could begin watching the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean, then spending the rest of the morning relaxing on the beach, playing on the golf course, or watching sea turtles hatch.
What’s not to like here? It’s a place that has something for everyone.
Located in South Georgia, St. Simons Island is the largest of Georgia’s Golden Isles, accessible by the F.J. Torras Causeway bridge from the city of Brunswick.
The island’s history is diverse. Originally inhabited by tribes of the Creek nation, the island was contested by the Spanish until the English secured the Georgia Colony and cultivated the land for rice and cotton plantations.
Today, the southern half of the island makes up most of the island’s commercial and residential development, while the northern end features beautifully preserved marsh and woodlands, with a large section of it now a nature preserve with trails and historic locations.
Even the balmy and enjoyable weather is highly inviting.
- Summer offers a strong breeze off the ocean, which can help cool you down.
- Winter has temperatures that stay moderate, with highs still in the 60s.
- Fall can be quiet here as students head back to school.
As a vacation spot, the island is charming. Alluring. And one of the friendliest places you’ll find.
Guide to St. Simons Island Delights
A good way to start your vacation would be to take a St. Simons Colonial Island Trolley Tour, which offers the complete island experience, visiting its historic sites.
It’s a great introduction to the island and a good way to learn more about the island’s history, culture and geology.
Because you’ll definitely want to visit some of the historically significant locations here.
History at St. Simons Island
- Fort Frederica dates back to 1736 and was designed to protect Georgia’s southern coast from the Spanish. The Battle of Bloody Marsh was fought and won close by. It also preserves archeological remnants of that historic British colony.
- The historic St. Simons Island Lighthouse dates back to 1810, although it was destroyed by Confederate soldiers in 1862 to prevent Union troops from using it, while the present lighthouse and lightkeeper’s house was built in 1872.
- Christ Church was built in 1884, and is one of the oldest churches in Georgia, with worship services here or in the area continuously since 1736. Presidents Calvin Coolidge, Jimmy Carter and George Bush have worshipped there.
Shopping and Fine Dining at St. Simons Island
- The Pier Village has an appealing selection of shops that range from antiques to clothing stores, art galleries, and bookshops. Many of them are locally-owned and unique to the island. It’s also where you’ll find the lengthy pier that offers spectacular views of the ocean.
- There are more than 60 restaurants on St. Simons Island, so there’s something here for everyone, with dining options that include buffets to moderately-priced menus to open-air dining to upscale dinners. You can enjoy fresh oysters, barbeques, handmade pizza, crab cakes and so much more.
But one of the best options is to check out the restaurants that offer southern recipes at their finest, or fresh-caught seafood with locally-sourced ingredients.
Enjoying these pleasures will make you feel good to be on St. Simons Island. You’ll find there’s a laid-back lifestyle here. It’s a place where no one seems to be in a hurry. The pace of life here reflects the island’s tranquility.
Exploring Nature on St. Simons Island
The waters of the Atlantic Ocean come right up to some gorgeous beaches here, offering miles of pristine coastline and sandy seashores. Whether you’re into sand sculpting, kayaking or windsurfing, you’ll love visiting the island’s beaches.
St. Simons Island’s Beaches
- East Beach is one of St. Simons Island’s most popular beaches with one of the widest beach areas, plus lots of parking available.
- St. Simons Island has the largest ecosystem east of the Mississippi River, home to shorebirds like sandpipers, pelicans and gulls, and a place where sea turtles can be spotted along the beaches. You can also spot dolphins and manatees in the water on occasion, and shrimp boats are a common sight as well. One thing you’ll want to consider during your stay is a boat tour to explore this marine life.
- Take the time to explore the marshes, which truly offer a genuine sense of wonder. Salt marshes expand the 100-mile stretch of Georgia coastline, and it may become one of your favorite places on the island. This is a great spot for fly fishing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, bird watching, and hiking.
And there are plenty of rental boats available for your pleasure.
Things to do on St. Simons Island Beaches
If you take the time to explore all the wonderful options available to you during your first trip to St. Simons Island, chances are you’ll discover a holiday vacation spot like no other, just right for families, golfers, history buffs, and nature lovers alike.
You’re likely to become a town crier for the St. Simons Island’s Chamber of Commerce, heading back home to tell your friends and family members what a great time you had there.
St. Simons Island has a year-round population of 13,000, so businesses stay open, and it’s a great place to visit any time of year.
And 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.
Whatever it is that draws you to life on St. Simon’s Island, we have a home to match your concept of the ideal setting.
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.