10 Things To Do On St. Simons Island

Come along with me and we’ll explore the best 10 things to do on St. Simons Island, GA. 

One of 11 barrier islands hugging the coast of Georgia, St. Simons is around 18 miles long, with live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss and palm trees dotting the island.  It definitely has a tropical feel and is a very appealing spot to visit. I’ve only been a few times, but I’m taking Mark back there in September and can’t wait to enjoy a romantic beach getaway with him. There’s plenty to do and see on the island, so let me take you along on the recent media trip I took down there in May.

If you’ve never been, I hope this will give you the travel bug to visit the coast of Georgia, a scenic and serene place to get away from it all. And for those of us in Atlanta, it can’t come soon enough!

1. Take a Trolley Tour

I met Cap Fendig, whose family has been on the island for generations the first time I visited almost 5 years ago. Cap is very knowledgeable, knows everything about the island, and runs a lot of sight seeing tours on St. Simons, from dolphin tours, trolley tours, sunset cruises, to ghost tours and more. Check out Lighthouse Trolleys for all the information on these excursions. Cap’s company trolleyed us around the whole time we were there. From air conditioned trolleys to open air ones, it’s a fun way to travel around the island.

I’m going to sign us up for the Ghost tour and Sunset cruise when Mark and I go back in September.

2. Visit Christ Church

Our first stop this trip was historic Christ Church on St. Simons Island. It has a notable history as one of the oldest churches in Georgia and was founded nearly 70 years after the island was first settled by English colonists. The first church building, however was not built until 1820. The Wesley brothers preached under the live oaks, so the grounds feel very hallowed and sacred when you walk around here. It’s such a peaceful place to visit, inside and outside.

Note that the church is open for tours Tuesday through Sunday from 2 to 5 pm, so plan your visit accordingly.

It’s hard to capture the magnificent live oaks on the grounds and all around St. Simons. That’s part of the charm of the island!

Presidents Calvin Coolidge, Jimmy Carter, and George Bush have worshipped in Christ Church.

The stain glass windows are stunning and so colorful.

3. Visit Fort Frederica

Another stop on our trolley tour was Ft. Frederica, a first visit for me. I didn’t know much about the history of St. Simons and the wars, but there is much to be learned about our Georgia history on this  island.

From the website:

Three years after founding Georgia in 1733, Gen. James Edward Oglethorpe established Fort Frederica to defend the fledgling colony against Spanish attack from Florida. It was maintained as a military fort and a settlement.

There’s a lot of history to this area, so if you want to know more, check out the link above to Ft. Frederica.

4. Take a Dolphin Cruise

Departing from Morningstar Marina, we headed out on a boat excursion to see St. Simons sound and hopefully see some dolphins.

I don’t recall the names, but the boat crew guys were very informative, St. Simons natives as well and we had a wonderful day on the water.

We enjoyed seeing this bird sanctuary island with more pelicans than I’ve ever seen in one place.

They are protected on the island and have it made with all the sea life around them.

We did indeed see dolphin on our boat tour and it’s always fun to see them swimming and frolicking in the water.

We got a good view of St Simons lighthouse from the boat too and we’ll visit there next.

5. Visit the St. Simons Lighthouse

I got to climb St. Simons Lighthouse last time I was there and it was just as enthralling again this time. St. Simons lighthouse is one of the highlights of the island, so definitely do not miss visiting this historic site.

There’s a brand new WWII museum there too that we didn’t visit this trip, but I’m sure Mark will want to see it when we are there next trip. The current lighthouse and keeper’s dwelling were completed in 1872.

Be sure and climb the 129 stairs to the top of the lighthouse for some amazing views of St. Simons.

Views from the top. I love this community pool below! Looks like a great place to hang out for the day.

6. Dine Out & Eat Great Food

In addition to delicious meals at The King and Prince while we were there, we also enjoyed feasting at other nearby restaurants for lunch and dinner. We certainly had some great food while on St. Simons!

One of our lunch stops was Gnat’s Landing, a casual beach spot with tasty fare. One of their specialties is a slaw salad topped with seafood of your choice. I had the grilled shrimp on top and it was so good! Perfect for a lunch bite!

A dinner treat that I absolutely loved was The Georgia Seagrill, located in Pier Village. I definitely want to go back here again with Mark. Our meal was amazing!

We had several small plates to enjoy, including this Georgia Bison Carpaccio.

I had to try the Low Country Crab soup and it was outstanding!

My entree was a fresh fish catch and out of this world! Now I can’t remember which fish it was, but it was such a fabulous dinner. I can’t wait to go back.

Dessert for me was Creme Brulee, my fave dessert and even though I was so full, I had to try it. I didn’t make it all the way so took the rest back to my room and ate it later.

Another lunch stop was the Golden Isles Olive Oil, another delicious treat. It was really amazing to see all they did with olive oils. I love olive oils and really want to learn how to use them better. The shop has a huge collection of olive oils and vinegars, with so many combinations to taste.

It’s amazing to me how many benefits are found in olive oil.

This Spring inspired hibiscus salad with watermelon was so refreshing and tasty, the perfect summer treat.

Their crustless crab and mushroom quiche was some of the best I’ve ever had.

To top it off we had Blueberry Ricotta ice cream with lemon olive oil which had an amazing taste! Loved it!

Our last dinner on the island took us to Southern Soul BBQ, voted Southern Living Magazine “The South’s Best BBQ 2018”. I had been here last trip and it is a wonderful BBQ joint.

Several BBQ sauces to try out on the table.

We were treated to a sampling of their homemade pimento cheese and chicken salad. Both were delicious! By this time, I was wishing I had more room in my stomach to fill up. We ate so well on this visit!

The fried green beans dipped in ranch dressing were amazing!

As was the sampling of ribs, pulled pork, BBQ beans, and Brunswick stew. It was ALL delicious! I couldn’t eat another bite!  We watched the sun go down sitting outside at Southern Soul.

7. Hit the Beach

St. Simons is one of the only beach towns in Georgia, so here you can enjoy a few miles of sea and sand, watching the tide roll in and out each day.

The tides on the Georgia coast are very high and very low as we witnessed while we were there. You can see the difference in this high tide at sunset and low tide from the previous picture.

We drove down to East Beach and saw how pretty this area was too. It’s the public beach on St. Simons Island.

Late afternoon and hardly anyone was out.

8. See the Charming Beach Houses

No matter where I visit the beach, I love looking at the beach houses dotting the area. St. Simons has its share of charming beach cottages, so drive around or rent a bike and take a leisurely tour of the homes of St. Simons.

9. Visit Avenue of the Oaks at Sea Island Golf Club

Now the entrance to the Sea Island Golf Club on St. Simons, the Avenue of the Oaks is a sight to see. The live oaks are what is left of Retreat Plantation, one of the many cotton and rice plantations in the area. This alley of oaks was planted by Anna Page King who inherited the land in 1826 and planted the oaks, which are now 160 years old.

 

10. Savor Sunset 

There’s nothing like a beautiful sunset going down over the ocean and St. Simons has plenty of gorgeous sunsets to see.

Savor them and enjoy every single one! That’s one of the beautiful things about summer, sunsets at the beach. I hope you enjoyed this recap of St. Simons Island and all the things there are to do on the Golden Isles of Georgia. I am excited to take Mark back in September and we’ll enjoy some of these things again, as well as make memories of our own!

Don’t miss these articles I’ve written previously about The King and Prince and St. Simons Island. And my most recent King and Prince post.

Note: I was invited on a Media trip to St. Simons and The King and Prince Resort and all expenses were paid. 

- Rhoda

Comments

  1. I’m ready to pack my bags after that tour, Rhoda! I would definitely eat my weight in shrimp and creme brûlée if I was there!!

  2. Nice post. I haven’t been there for years, but this makes me want to visit again. What time of year would you say is best (and most comfortable) for visiting St. Simons?

    • HI, Jackie, summer is their busy season, so to avoid the crowds, I’d say May or late August into September and October would be a beautiful time to go. I was there in October last time and it was gorgeous weather.

  3. Judy Clark says

    Rho,

    I love reading about the GA coast. It is refreshing to remember GA history..my history. Around the Atlanta area they tend to forget about it which is sad. Living in TX now we are surrounded by history. They are a proud bunch and know their roots. Don’t Mess with Texas is their motto!
    It is so beautiful on St. Simon’s Island. That food….especially the pimento cheese.
    Thank You For Sharing Friend.
    Judy

    • Hey, Judy, I’m glad you enjoyed! St. Simons is not a place I grew up going to, but I just love it there and enjoy the laid back feel of the island.

  4. Bonnie Brown says

    I used to live on St. Simons years ago but I live close enough now, that my husband and I take day trips there fairly frequently. It is a magical place to me and always had been. I enjoyed your pictures and hearing your impressions. If you’ve never read any of Eugenia Price’s novels about the island, I think you would love them. I highly recommend “The Beloved Invader.” It is a beautiful love story as well as the story of how Christ Church was restored after the civil war. Having visited Christ Church, it will mean more to you now, to read it and when you return in Sept. with Mark, if you’ve read the book, you will feel like you are visiting old friends when you walk through the church cemetery .

    • Hi, Bonnie, I do remember Eugenia Price’s books about St. Simons, but have never read them. I know I would enjoy them. I don’t have as much time to read as I used to, but I’d really like to read them one day.

  5. Lynne Beattie says

    Have never been to St. Simons- looks lovely. We always go to The Cloister on Sea Island. Went on honeymoon and now take family back yearly basis. Love it there. We also go to Ford Plantation, near Savannah on a regular basis. Not on beach, on river. Lovely spot for fishing and relaxing. Will have to check out St. Simons!

  6. Lynne Beattie says

    Have never been to St. Simons. It looks lovely. We go to The Cloister on Sean Island. Went there on our honeymoon and take the family back on a regular basis. Also, go to Ford Plantation south of Savannah. Not on the beach, on the river. Great for fishing , golfing and relaxing. Will have to check out St. Simons when we are down that way later this summer

  7. Rhoda,
    Loved this post on beautiful St. Simons Island. We stopped their briefly for a day on our way back home to VA from a trip to Florida over 8 years ago. We had a great lunch and toured the lighthouse but really didn’t have time to explore the island and spent time there. I have always wanted to go back and you put St. Simons back on my radar!

    Since we are retired and are flexible in our travel, we choose to do beach trips in September when all the kids are back in school and its less crowded. Its also our anniversary month so it works out well all around. I just went out on VRBO and there are literally hundreds of beautiful beachy condos available for that time of year. So I will be booking shortly and looking forward to a trip there in September.

    • HI, Teresa, oh I’m so glad you got the St. Simons bug again. It really is a gem of a place and I can’t wait to take Mark back there in September too!

  8. Kelley Kolpitcke says

    I hope one day to travel the entire United States in an RV, maybe with my sister. I checked out campgrounds in the area and they have a beautiful one called JEKYLL ISLAND CAMPGROUND. Here is the link if any of your readers are interested. https://www.jekyllisland.com/lodging/jekyll-island-campground/

    Can you imagine sitting by a campfire under those OAKS?!

    Kelley from Boise 💚🍀

    • Kelley, that sounds like so much fun. I hope you get to do it and sit under the oaks!

  9. It looks fabulous, and you made it sound so interesting. The church and its info particularly gave me the warm fuzzies, to say nothing about the food photos!

  10. Jason Benton says

    My grandfather grew up on SSI, he would talk about going out with his boat and a rifle when he was a young boy, born 1911. My great great great grandfather, not sure how many greats, is buried at Christ church. Cyrus Dart. We almost always went in early October, probably the perfect time. We stayed at King and Prince in the 80’s and 90’s now we rent a home on Park way near fifth st. Of all the things to do, just going to the shops near the pier is an event in itself. Of all the stops you have to make, disappointed not mentioned, is the Crab Shack. It’s a must. Loved the article, I get a jones for the island in summer time. Well worth the trip from Indianapolis

    • Thank you, Jason, I’m so glad you chimed in on this. What a legacy on the island for your family! I haven’t been to the Crab Shack, but I will certainly try it on my visit in September so I can’t wait to try it. There was only so much time to eat and we ate very well. Can’t wait to go back!

    • Casey Igel says

      Hey! Who was your grandfather because my great great great great grandfather was Cyrus as well.

    • Hi, Casey, I looked at Jason’s comment and he said Cyrus Dart was his great….grandfather.

  11. Bonnie Brown says

    It’s me again! If you have time to read a book at all, I would definitely urge you to read “The Beloved Invader” before you go back in September. Also food wise, try Crab Daddy’s and Barbara Jean’s. You didn’t say if you went to Wesley Gardens. It is right across the road from Christ Church but you can’t see it from the road. There is a path down to it. It is a lovely spot! Can you tell I love SSI ?

    • Hi, Bonnie, thanks for the recommendations. I have heard of Crab Daddy’s and Crab Shack, so now I guess I’ll have to try them both. Haven’t heard about Wesley Gardens, so we will have to check that out too. I have eaten at Barbara Jeans before and it was really good. There is no shortage of good food on the island! Not sure I can fit in that book before we go, but I’ll definitely keep it in mind for reading.

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