Georgia is a state known for outdoor vacation spots, from beaches to mountains, and St. Simons Island is one of Georgia’s true gems. There is no shortage of things to do in St. Simons Island.
The largest of the Golden Isles along Georgia’s southern Atlantic coast, St. Simons Island has long been cherished by locals for its natural beauty and glorious coastal views. St. Simons has attracted Georgia residents who love the opportunity to explore the island, renting bikes so they can take in, up close, the gorgeous landscape. It’s also a place where spending time on the beach, or taking advantage of a multitude of water sports activities, has been a popular pastime for decades.
Now the word is getting out, and far beyond the shores of South Georgia, that St. Simons is a terrific place for a family vacation. The island boasts not just coastline, but also an impressive array of lodging and hospitality choices. Guests choose between hotels and condo rentals to vacation homes and quaint Bed & Breakfast spots.
Then they relax at great restaurants that, appropriately enough, serve fresh local seafood.
“The South’s Best Islands”
There are so many things to do in St. Simons Island that it’s no surprise that when the magazine Southern Living released its list of “The South’s Best,” St. Simons was chosen this year for the No. 2 spot in the category “The South’s Best Islands.”
St. Simons came in second after North Carolina’s barrier islands. Southern Living found much to praise about St. Simons Island, including:
- Stunning historic architecture.
- The lovely moss-draped oaks that surround the homes.
- A casual, laid-back local lifestyle.
- Breathtaking beaches that seem to go on for miles when the tide is low.
For those who have been vacationing at and enjoying St. Simons Island for years, this certainly isn’t news. However, those who have yet to discover just how appealing the island is, there’s definitely a lot to recommend here.
Nature and History
- Any discussion of the best that St. Simons Island has to offer is certain to start with the island’s grand natural beauty. Anyone looking to find things to do in St. Simons Island has a lot to look forward to.Consider starting with the Georgia Beach Walk Nature Tours. This is an opportunity to explore the island’s beaches from the edge of the dunes.
Containing a truly remarkable living ecosystem, the Georgia coast boasts barrier islands, river systems, and acres of marshlands that have become a breeding ground for fish, shellfish, shore birds, sea turtles and marine mammals. The Beach Walk Nature Tour is a fantastic way to see all of that up close.
- There are two public beaches on St. Simons Island. The most popular has been the Massingale Park Beach, which has a picnic area and bathhouse, and is popular with those who love fishing.
The Coast Guard Station Beach is the second one, and it also has a bathhouse with showers.
Both beaches have long made St. Simons Island a well-loved spot for family vacations, offering visitors and residents alike the chance to enjoy fishing, surfing, shelling, swimming and sunbathing.
The coast is also a great place for biking, nature walks, bird watching, picnicking and volleyball games in the sand.
If you’re looking to enjoy nature on St. Simons Island, the list of options is a long one. It includes:
- The Georgia Sea Turtle Center. Open to the general public, it offers an interactive Exhibit Gallery and Rehabilitation Pavilion where you can watch sea turtle patients as they rehabilitate. The Center is a hospital for ill and injured sea turtles, the only one of its kind in Georgia.
- St. Simons Island Lighthouse, Keeper’s Dwelling Museum and Maritime Museum at the Historic Coast Guard Station. For those who love history, this is a great way to explore how this island came to be what it is today, and the rich history that’s been lovingly persevered.
A Great Fishing Experience
- Fishing is the most popular natural attractions on the island. St Simons offers a wide variety of ways for those who love the lure, the chase, and the sea!
The area offers Fishing Charters, Deep-Sea Fishing, Fishing Tours and Saltwater Fishing in Coastal Georgia and the Golden Isles. The locals love to walk up to the pier and cast a line while relaxing the day away.
- Companies such as Georgia Sport Fishing gives its customers the chance at catching some of the largest saltwater fish that inhabit the coastal waters and boasts of a family atmosphere. Other companies offer day fishing trips, fishing reports, and deep sea fishing. St Simons is a fisherman’s paradise.
When it comes to listing amazing things to do in St. Simons Island, the locals know there’s great fishing to be done there. The waters along the coast provide some real delicacies from the sea, which is why St. Simons Island is so well known for its amazing seafood restaurants. That includes:
- ECHO. The island’s only oceanfront restaurant and bar, it serves classic coastal menu items in a relaxed and casual atmosphere. The décor also gives a nod to St. Simons’ naval history during World War II. This is also a great place for a fine, handcrafted cocktail.
- Crabdaddy’s Restaurant. A favorite among the St. Simons locals, this is the place to visit to get real seafood delights, including House specialties like local fresh grilled, blackened, steamed and fried seafood; hand selected steaks with local farmer chosen vegetables; and plenty of dessert options.
- St. Simons’ Southern Soul Barbeque. Chosen by Southern Living as the No. 1 spot for The South’s Best Barbecue Joints, this is the place to relish in a big plate of pulled pork, a slab of ribs, pig sandwiches, beef briskets and the classic knuckle sammich. How about a side of hush puppies to go with it?
Enjoying the Open Waters
St. Simons Island is 18 square miles in size, accessible by car from the F.J. Torras Causeway. If you’re planning a vacation there, keep in mind that on St. Simons Island, the beautiful coastline is all around you. Some of the seafaring things to do in St. Simons Island include:
- Golden Isles Marina. Morningstar Marinas – Golden Isles is a full-service marina that can help boaters fully enjoy their time on the water. It provides everything boaters need for a relaxing day sailing the ocean.
- The St. Simons Island Pier. Located at the Island’s north end in the Clam l Creek picnic area, this has become a very popular spot with local and visiting anglers. The pier is available for both float-fishing and bottom fishing, and the locals will tell you that the piers are good spots for crabbing, too.
Special Events & Things To Do In St. Simons Island
St. Simons may be an island, but there’s still plenty to do and a lot of fun activities going on here. Among the things to do in St. Simons Island are:
- Second Sunday at Gascoigne Bluff. This is a popular, family-friendly music event, held at the beautiful Gascoigne Bluff. Hundreds of music fans converge on the park with their lawn chairs, blankets and coolers, and the proceeds from this live music event benefit a variety of local charitable organizations.
- Charter Fish Georgia. Operated by Captain TJ Cheek, a full-time fishing guide serving St. Simons Island, Sea Island, and Jekyll Island, this is an excellent way to explore the coast on a fishing charter in the Golden Isles.
- Wheel Fun Rentals. Home of the nation’s premier recreational rental outlets, this is your chance to explore the island and its tourist destinations, parks, and beaches by bicycle.
St. Simons is one of the largest barrier islands in Georgia, a place that captivates visitors with its combination of stunning natural beauty and a rich and fascinating history.
Whether you’re outdoors on the beach, playing at the golf and tennis courts available here, exploring the island’s historic lighthouse (which has been in operation since 1872), Bloody Marsh (site of a 1742 battle), or numerous antebellum buildings that offer remnants of bygone eras, there are no shortages of great things to do in St. Simons Island.
There is literally a long list of remarkable treasures to be found on every corner of this island, which is why it’s been so popular with locals, longtime visitors, and international tourists alike. In fact, isn’t it time to book your St. Simons Island vacation this year?
Find out what you’ve been missing.