Georgia’s Golden Isles: St. Simons Island

 

St. Simons Island, GA is one of the cutest little beach towns.  One of Georgia’s Golden Isles, St. Simons Island is a beautiful little community on the coast of Georgia. With some classy shops, a large park and cute restaurants, this is probably one of my favorite off-the radar beach destinations. Located 15 minutes from Brunswick, GA and just north of Jekyll Island, St. Simons makes a great day trip or a vacation destination all its own. You can explore it by car, bike or on foot.  Our favorite approach to a place like this? Grab an awesome coffee at Wake Up Coffee , drive to the beach and take a relaxing walk while waiting for the shops to open. Wake Up is not within walking distance of the beach, but its only about a 10 minute drive and is well worth it. This place has some great coffee choices as well as non-coffee beverages  and snack for the little ones, perfect for a hot day at the beach. And the service is definitely what I would equate to Southern hospitality.

 

Check your tide levels before you head out, at high tide some of the beaches, namely Neptune Park, pictured above, will completely vanish.   While you can’t enjoy the sand between your toes the entire time, there is a pier that can sometimes get quite lively at night. The park sits right next to the beach so take advantage of the shade from the beautiful trees during the afternoon when the sun is out.  If you need to escape the heat, meander through the quaint little shops and grab a  Fro Yo from Yobe on the way out. Yobe is on the street where all the shops are, so we didn’t have to go far for either the dock, shopping or food. Perfect.

Watching the storm roll in at St. Simons

What to do

Relax! My favorite part about this trip was the amount of time we were able to unwind. This place is so beautiful that its easy to take it all in and enjoy nature. There are several beaches here, Coast Guard Station Beach which is also referred to as East Beach, Massengale Park and Neptune Park, which is set within a small village and has a pier available as well. We never had to pay for parking the entire time we were here and there was always plenty available. There are also public beach access points along the road, however pay attention to signs, as some of these are privately owned.
If you’re not into the whole beach bum routine, there are water sports available such as kayaking, canoeing and wildlife tours. Rent a bike and explore the island while getting some exercise. If you need a little history, visit St. Simons Lighthouse Museum or Fort Frederica National Monument.

While we were there, the pier in the village also got quite lively at night. Which was really beautiful.

 

 

Oak at Neptune Park
Where to Eat
 
As I mentioned before, we highly recommend Wake Up Coffee Company, which is located at Red Fern Village in St. Simons. While its not directly on the beach, it is a short drive and has other shops and restaurants if you want to spend more time there. Palmer’s Village Cafe, located on Mallery St., is ranked #1 on trip advisor and its easy to see why. Great location, service and food, they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner here, though breakfast seems to be the most popular choice. Craving pizza? Basically my favorite food group, I’m always looking for a great pizza. You can find that here at Sal’s Neighborhood Pizza. Serving oven-fired thin crust pizza, pasta and sandwiches, they have great food and service. Looking for some good southern style food? Also located on Mallery St., close to Neptune Park is Barbara Jean’s. Offering seafood, an excellent veggie menu, comfort foods and some delicious dessert choices, they also have a kids menu if your little one is a picky eater like most are.

Tips

As mentioned earlier, check the tide levels  before you go out. The tide can, at times, completely swallow the beach, foiling any sunbathing efforts you may have had. We noticed this mostly at Neptune Park and the access points along the road.

Don’t get stuck on the sandbars. While this may seem like commom sense, we saw many people set up their lounging chairs on the sandbars and then had to drag their stuff back to shore through several feet of water because they did realize the tide was coming in so fast.

The sand gets HOT. The sand at these beaches is very soft, fine and light which we made the mistake of equating that to the same beautiful fine white sand of the gulf coast that seems to never get hot. That is not the case here. Keep your sandals close by because once you leave the vicinity of the ocean drenched sand, it could potentially burn your feet which is obviously, well, not fun.

Talk to the locals. Some of the best tips we got about where to eat, which beaches to go to and what to see came from the recommendations of the people that live there.

 

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