Did you know that the state contains more than a dozen barrier islands in Georgia, all of which include untouched beaches, breathtaking sunrises, luxurious lodgings, and exciting outdoor activities? Believe us when we say that this is only the tip of the island iceberg when it comes to this state’s hidden gems out at sea. The Golden Isles are home to four of the islands which are considered to be the best Georgia islands vacation, including St. Simons Island, Little St. Simons Island, Sea Island, and Jekyll Island. But trust us when we say that this is only the tip of the iceberg.
After the end of the most recent ice age, geologic activity and changes in sea level contributed to the formation of the barrier islands that lie off the coast of the state of Georgia. These changes occurred roughly five thousand years ago. It doesn’t matter if you want to learn about the history of the Gilded Age at one of the many historic sites on Georgia islands, keep the kids entertained at a summer resort, or take part in a variety of outdoor recreational activities in unspoiled nature preserves; the islands in Georgia are the ideal location for day trips as well as overnight excursions.
1. The island of Tybee
Tybee Island is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the state, and it has been since the 1800s, despite the fact that it is only 20 minutes away from the center of Savannah. This stunning island is famous for its peaceful beaches with white sand, its excellent outdoor dining options, and its abundance of activities that are suitable for families, such as picturesque parks and playgrounds, tennis and basketball facilities, and fishing places. Another location that should not be missed is the Fort Pulaski National Monument, which is a harbor defensive building from the time of the Civil War. You may easily have an action-packed day here, bouncing from the beach to a nature walk to supper on the waterfront in the evening, but if you really want to get the most out of this quaint coastal refuge, you should consider staying for the weekend.
2. Jekyll Island
Jekyll Island is well-known for its ability to entice some of the wealthiest families in the United States, such as the Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts. In addition to its stunning natural scenery, the island is home to a variety of historic mansions and contemporary cottages, as well as incredible wildlife and luxurious accommodations. It is at this location that you will be able to enjoy activities such as waking up to the chirping of endangered birds at sunrise, going to the incredibly picturesque Driftwood Beach, gorging on fried oysters at a seaside eatery, sipping a nightcap while looking out over the waves, and sleeping on sumptuous sheets with a thread count of 1,000. The distance between here and the border between Florida and Georgia is less than an hour and a half.
3. The island of Hutchinson
In order to avoid any confusion with Hutchinson Island in Georgia, the version of Hutchinson Island that may be found in Georgia can be found in the historic Savannah River District. For many years, the island was used as a support facility for cargo ships entering the Port of Savannah. These days, however, a free passenger ferry delivers tourists directly to Hutchinson, where they may enjoy a variety of activities, including golfing and getting spa treatments. As a result of the island’s proximity to Savannah, it is another popular destination for a fast weekend escape. Accommodations on the island include the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center as well as the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa. A word of advice: if you find yourself in town on the first Friday of the month between the months of March and November, don’t miss the legendary oyster roast that is hosted at the Westin.
4. The island of Cumberland
This undeveloped jewel located off the southeastern coast of Georgia is a delight for people who appreciate the environment due to its stunning shoreline, placid waters, and roads that are car-free. Visitors to the state’s largest barrier island can spend the day bird-watching, swimming, fishing, or strolling around the island’s incredible network of trails and green spaces, where they are likely to spot wild horses and loggerhead turtles. There are many other activities including fishing, swimming, and bird watching.
5. Lake Lanier Islands
Lake Lanier is the largest lake in Georgia and is located around 60 miles north of Atlanta. This resort complex has 1,500 acres and was built on a small collection of islands located on Lake Lanier. Lake Lanier is Georgia’s largest lake. This location features a golf course with 18 holes, a Margaritaville family water park, an RV park, hotel and cabin rentals, and other activities that are appropriate for children and families.
6. The Island of Saint Simons
Saint Simons Island, which has seven miles and seven miles of sparkling shoreline, remained undeveloped for generations before it became what it is recognized as today: a coastal vacation paradise. Moss-draped oaks and golden marshes surround the exquisite cottage accommodations at The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island, which can accommodate no more than 32 fortunate guests at a time. It is one of the largest and most protected conservation zones in Georgia, and around the boundary of the property lies 11,000 acres of untamed wilderness just waiting to be explored. Also, if you have a big enough group, you may book the entire island for a private holiday if you want to have it all to yourself.
7. Ossabaw Island
Ossabaw Island is the third biggest barrier island in Georgia, and it encompasses a total area of 26,000 acres. It is home to a diverse array of flora and species, including endangered wood storks and loggerhead sea turtles. The state of Georgia has declared the area as a heritage preserve for the study of natural phenomena, scientific phenomena, and cultural phenomena; the only way to enter the area is via boat. The good news is that you are able to continue to enjoy the island’s 13 miles of beaches that are accessible to the public.
8. Sapelo Island
Sapelo Island, more specifically Nanny Goat Beach, is known for having the most extensive undisturbed natural beach dunes along the coast of Georgia. If you’re looking for some of the calmest, most pristine, and undeveloped beaches in Georgia, Sapelo Island is where you’ll find them. Nanny Goat Beach is also known for its lack of development. The only way to get there is by boat or plane, so hop on the ferry and spend the day exploring the beach, the marine sanctuary, and the 200-year-old Reynolds Mansion, which was built at the height of the tycoon era.
9. Sea Island
Sea Island is located in Georgia’s Golden Islands and has three championship golf courses, three tennis courts, a yacht club, and five miles of private beach. It is also the host location for the RSM Classic, which is played on the PGA Tour. In addition, there are four Forbes Five-Star experiences available, including two hotels (the Cloister at Sea Island and the Lodge at Sea Island), a spa retreat (the Spa at Sea Island), and the restaurant known as the Georgian Room. Interesting fact: It’s the only resort in the United States that’s ever played host to a G-8 summit of world leaders.
10. Skidaway Island
On Skidaway Island, which is located close to Savannah, there is an abundance of winding nature trails that pass through the Spanish moss, maritime forest, and salt marsh. You can spend the night on the island’s gorgeous campground or travel to the observation tower to see animals such as egrets, fiddler crabs, and deer, or you can spend the day exploring the island.
11. Little Raccoon Key
Little Raccoon Key in Georgia’s Golden Isles is the place to go if you want to get away from it all while yet enjoying the luxuries of the camping lifestyle. When you schedule a stay at this private island campground, you and your guests will be the only people on the island. This is the nicest part of the experience since it elevates the level of luxury throughout the whole event. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t be concerned because Little Raccoon Key is only about 10 minutes away from the adjacent island of Jekyll, which means that you’ll have mobile service and will be able to contact the staff whenever you need to. In the event that you are peckish but do not feel like preparing food on the grill, you may request one of the chef-prepared meals that are offered. You can also choose to forego the glamping experience and instead book a full-day excursion to the reef.