The Golden Isles
Nestled on the Georgia coast, midway between Savannah and Jacksonville, lie the mainland city Brunswick and four barrier islands: St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island. Spanish explorers came to the area more than 400 years ago, seeking gold. Instead they found astonishing beauty, mild weather and a natural radiance that inspires the name, The Golden Isles
Mainland Brunswick was named for Brunswick, Germany, the ancestral home of King George II who granted Georgia's original land charter. The city's streets and squares are laid out in a formal grid, similar to Savannah and other colonial cities, and continue to bear their colonial names. Old Town, a National Register District, is filled with majestic homes noted for their turn-of-the-century elegance and eclectic mix of styles. The burgeoning downtown is filled with interesting antique shops and a growing number of specialty shops and art galleries. At Mary Ross Park on the waterfront, you'll see fleets of shrimp boats that work the local waters and contribute to the area's rich seafood industry.
Cross the Marshes of Glynn, immortalized by Georgia poet Sidney Lanier, to St. Simons Island, the largest of the Golden Isles. Moss-draped oaks line the island's streets, creating an image worthy of Faulkner. The Village offers a charming selection of shops and restaurants that range from fine dining establishments to casual outdoor eateries. Young visitors will especially enjoy Neptune Park, with its mini-golf course, playground and the fishing pier. They may even see a shark or some other sea creature, landed by one of the local anglers.
St. Simons Island offers plenty of interesting historical sites and attractions, from the St. Simons Lighthouse (a working lighthouse in operation since 1872) to Bloody Marsh, where British and Scottish soldiers successfully defeated a larger Spanish force and ended Spanish incursions outside Florida. Fort Frederica National Monument and historic Christ Church are on the island's north end. There are great beaches (check out East Beach by the old Coast Guard Station) and a nature center that offers fun day programs for kids.
Little St. Simons Island is a private island, accessible only by twice-daily boats from Hampton Point on St. Simons Island's north end. The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island was built in the early 1900s by the same family that owns and operates it today. Today, the Lodge offers accommodations for up to 30 guests, making it a wonderful destination for family reunions and small group gatherings. Guests enjoy a wonderful array of activities from guided nature walks with a staff naturalist to canoeing and kayaking and horseback rides. During inclement weather, the library in the main lodge is a wonderful spot for reading, cards or quiet chats.
Jekyll Island was purchased by the State of Georgia in 1947 and is today a popular year 'round destination for families and business travelers. The island offers a wealth of amenities and activities including 63 holes of golf, tennis, beaches, 20 miles of bike paths, mini-golf, nature tours and Summer Waves waterpark. Jekyll Island retains much of its natural beauty, which is protected by law. There are places, such as the "driftwood beach" on the island's north end and St. Andrews beach on the south end, where you can feel as though you're Robinson Crusoe on your own desert island.
Source: Brunswick Convention and Visitors Bureau