4 Day Trips Near St. Simons Island that can’t be missed!
Jekyll Island, only about 20 miles away from St. Simons Island but seems like worlds away because you have to cross over the Sidney Lanier Bridge which separates St. Simons and Jekyll Island. Jekyll Island is well known for their rich aristocratic history as well as for the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, and many other neat places.
Brunswick, if you are looking to browse through a quaint downtown area or maybe you like more commercialized shopping, Brunswick is the place to go. The quiet downtown area is small but packed with antique stores, city markets, and festivals as well as great theaters. Also in Brunswick there is big box stores like Target and Old Navy as well as many chain restaurants to choose from. Also about 20 minutes away from the island makes Brunswick the perfect afternoon trip.
Cumberland Island is a little ways from St. Simons at about an hour away, but it is totally worth it! Once you get to Cumber Island National Seashore you will board the ferry that well take you across the bay to the secluded Cumberland Island. Known for its wildlife it boasts many different species like wild horses, turkeys, alligators, armadillos, and many coastal birds. There are also palmetto forests and beautiful live oak.
Sapelo Island which is a stone’s throw away from St. Simons, however it is only accessible by ferry that departs from Darien, Ga. This barrier island is rich with history and with beauty. Once you make it to the island you are free to meander through the various historic points or you can take in the miles of pristine coastline!
St. Simons Island has so much to offer that we know it may be hard to find the time and desire to slip away for the afternoon. If you do find time to explore outside of the island these options, we be sure not to disappoint!
Martin Luther King Weekend On St. Simons Island
From Oyster Roasts to Art Galleries, long weekends on St Simons Island do not disappoint! Don’t miss out on all of the great events happening over the holiday weekend.
January 1st to February 28th, 2017
If you are up for a challenge the Island Treasure glass float hunt is perfect for you! As history has it these glass floats were once used to mark the nets of fisherman and occasionally they would get away and wash ashore. Now Jekyll Island selects artist from all over the country to create these one of a kind glass floats for lucky beach goers to find and keep!
January 3rd to 31st, 2017
In Jim Jones, new exhibit you will get to observe his latest Three Dimensional art piece which is intended to get us to think and ask questions about the art work, the size, the color, the shape, etc. If you enjoy and appreciate fine art then you have to check this exhibit out!
January 6th, 2017
Visit the shops, galleries, and restaurants of Historic Downtown Brunswick. Enjoy live music from local musicians, art openings, and food and beverage samples from 5:00pm – 8:00pm.
January 10th to February 19th, 2017
Bob Meredith, who is originally from Georgia and now resides in the golden isles has been oil painting for over 40 years, he enjoys painting anything from custom portraits to landscapes to still life’s. He is known world wide for his most recent work in which he recreated store fronts that can be found in different places through out the country and world.
January 13th, 2017
Come visit Cannons Point and get a glimpse into what life was like at cannons point during the plantation period. Tour groups will meet at the A.W. Jones Heritage Center at 9:30 a.m. and will return at 12:30 p.m. The tour is $65 per person. Visit saintsimonslighthouse.org to register, or call 912-634-7090 for assistance
January 14th, 2017
Come out and support the Pull for a Kid organization when sends almost 40 kids to summer camp each year. All the money is raised at this family friendly. Bring a team of 5 friends, family or coworkers and come PULL! Divisions: Women, Men, High School, Coed. $100 entry donation per team.
January 14th, 2017
Join the St. Simons Land Trust for its 17th annual Oyster Roast which will be held Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Gascoigne Bluff. Local chefs will be preparing and donating Southern favorites like Low Country Boil, BBQ, and Oysters. There will be live music by the folk singer and acoustic guitarist Owen Plant. Tickets are $75 each.
The 11th annual Shrimp & Grits Festival, hosted by Southern Living is taking place this weekend on Jekyll Island.
This festival has gained quite the audience over the years attracting visitors from near and far. The Shrimp & Grits festival holds contests for both professional and individual cooks of the dish each year to decide who is the best in the state. Chefs were chosen to participate in the contest by an online voting system among each region. The defending champion, Blackwater Grill of St. Simons Island, will compete this year against some new challengers including American Catch Seafood Exchange, Deano’s Italian, Goin’ Coastal, The National and West Egg Café among others. This year’s competition is at 11 a.m. Sunday, the final day of the festival that starts Friday afternoon.
One new feature this year is the Jekyll Island Experience Pavilion which features education displays and interaction with wildlife from the Georgia Sea Turtle center as well as some of centers in Georgia. There will also be a Craft Brew Fest for all of the beer fanatics which will feature over 50 beverages to sample. Regional musicians will perform live on three stages, and there will be more than 100 art and craft vendors along the walking paths of the historic district where the festival is held.
All events will be held in the island’s National Landmark Historic District on the western side of the state-owned island.
The festival hours are:
Friday September 16th, 4-9 p.m.
Saturday September 17th, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Sunday September 18th, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
General admission to the festival is free, but tickets for admission to the VIP Lounge, DuBignon and Riverfront Lawn lounge options and Craft Brew Fest are available at
There are so many great activities for children happening this year in St. Simons and the surrounding area. We’ve picked out our top 5 choices for summer camps if it were us going this summer!
Here on St. Simons this summer we have
This camp is May through August and is for children ages 6-14
As you would imagine this camp has a plethora of outdoor activities with themes for each week including SharkFest, Camp Village Creek, and Junior Biologist. Some of the activities for camp include fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, crabbing, cast netting, and basically all other ocean related activities you can imagine! Not to mention you will learn about Marine Science while you are there as well!
This camp is happening on 6/24-6/27 and is for elementary ages children AND their grandparents! How cool is that, you can bring your favorite grandparent with you to camp..or all of them!
You will learn about plankton, observe beach life, swim, arts and crafts and much more. This would be the perfect time to challenge Grandpa to a swimming competition.
- Kids Camps at The Brick
This camp runs from June to August and is for ages 5-14
If you aren’t into all things outdoors and prefer at least some time in the nice cool air conditioned spaces, then this might be the camp for you! Campers will get to participate in activities including arts and crafts, treasure hunts, movies, bowling, games and much more. There are very cool themes this year for each week of camp. The first week is all about animals with an Animal House theme, seconds is Hogwarts, then Star Wars, and the list goes on and on! You have to check it out for yourself, it’s going to be great!
- Hampton Club Junior Golf Summer Program
This camp runs June and July and is for children ages 6-15
If your child loves golf or maybe wants to learn the basics of golf, then they should definitely try out this camp! Even if you don’t have your own golf clubs you are still welcome, clubs can be provided if needed! You will learn the basics of golf as well as skill drills and participate in competitions with a chance to win prizes and trophies!
Last but not least just a few minutes away on Jekyll Island we have #5
- Sea Turtle Camp at The Georgia Sea Turtle Center
This camp is for children 6-9 years old and runs June and July
Each day you will learn all about sea turtles from what they like to eat and how long they live to how we make a better environment for them here on the coast and what we can do to help keep them safe. You will also get to explore the marshlands, maritime forest as well as the beach in search for signs of sea turtle life.
In January of each year, St. Simons Island’s neighbor, Jekyll Island, starts a two-month-long treasure hunt called “Island Treasures.” The tradition began in 2002 and residents and visitors alike enjoy the search.
The treasures being sought are handcrafted glass floats. Jekyll Island commissions talented glass artisans from all over the country to hand craft the pieces. Each glass float is unique and has the year imprinted on the bottom.
The symbolic glass floats of today do have historical significance in Coastal Georgia and other beachfront communities. In the early 1900s, fisherman used glass floats on their nets. The floats would break loose and wash ashore and beachcombers loved finding the glass floats. With the use of plastic and Styrofoam floats today, the glass treasures are an echo of the past.
If you find an Island Treasure, you can register it at the Jekyll Island Guest Information Center to receive a certificate of authenticity along with a biography of the artist. The Center is open 9am-6pm Monday through Saturday and 10am-5pm on Sundays. The treasure hunt continues now through February, 2014.
Jekyll Island Historic District, a National Historic Landmark administered by the state of Georgia, is situated on the southeast side of Jekyll Island. Occupied by the Guale Indians who called the area Ospo, the island was a popular hunting and fishing site. Gen. James Edward Oglethorpe, founder of Georgia, maintained an outpost on the island, and a plantation was established by one of his officers, Maj. William Horton. In 1794 a French family, the du Bignons, bought the island. They retained possession until 1886 when the island was sold to the newly formed “Jekyll Island Club.” Considered to be the most exclusive social club in the United States, the Jekyll Island Club had a limit of 100 members, among them the Astors, Vanderbilts, Pulitzers, Morgans and McCormicks and was laid out by prominent landscape architect H.W.S. Cleveland. A club house was built on the island and members constructed private “cottages”– enormous residences designed to house entire families with staff. The club was open for the post-Christmas season when many families came down from Newport and New York to relax and enjoy the “country life.” In 1942 the U.S. government ordered the area evacuated. The state of Georgia purchased the island from the club in 1947 and turned it into a state park. Most of the cottages have been preserved and are open to the public. Among them are San Souci, owned in part by J.P, Morgan and one of the first condominiums in the U.S.; Indian Mound, the twenty-five room home of the Rockefeller family; the Goodyear Cottage completed in 1906 from designs by the firm of Carrére and Hastings; Crane Cottage, circa 1917, the largest and most lavish of the cottages; the original Club House, a wood and brick Victorian structure with towers and manicured lawns; and Faith Chapel, built in 1904 in the Gothic style with copies of the Notre Dame de Paris gargoyles. The chapel also has a large signed Tiffany stained glass window.
One-half mile south of Clam Creek Road on the eastern side of North Riverview Drive are the remains of the Horton House. The two-story tabby structure, one of the oldest in the state, was built in 1742 after Horton’s original structure was destroyed by retreating Spanish, who had just been defeated by Oglethorpe in the Battle of Bloody Marsh. An exceptionally large red bay occupies the northwest corner of the house. Across the street in a peaceful setting of cedars, oaks and pines is the du Bignon family cemetery. The du Bignons owned the island for nearly a century before selling it to the Jekyll Island Club millionaires. Major Horton Road, on the north side of the property, connects with Beachview Drive on the eastern side of the island. This road becomes a trail that passes freshwater sloughs and a pond open to freshwater fishing.
Maj. William Horton served as forward lookout on Jekyll Island for Gen. James Oglethorpe during the British colonial period. Horton, who commanded English forces after Oglethorpe returned to England, is best known for having the first brewery in Georgia, the ruins of which are seen south of this site on the western side of Riverview Drive.
- Trail: 1-mile.
- Directions: From Brunswick, travel south on US 17, cross Sidney Lanier Bridge. At causeway, turn left toward Jekyll Island. Continue across Ben Fortson Parkway to dead end. Go left. Horton House Ruins and trailhead are on left past Clam Creek Picnic Area.
By Andrea Marroquin, Jekyll Island Programming Coordinator
A night-time excursion of Jekyll Island ventures inside Dubignon Cottage for spine-tingling tales!
Sheila Zynda, of Darien, GA, took Jekyll Island’s Folklore, Rumor & Myth tour last October and was enthusiastic. “I think Jekyll Island is a fantastic place to come for ghost hunting,” she said. “Besides the history, you might get to see something that you’re not expecting. “
Island visitors and staff alike have reported seeing unexplained orbs of light, smelling perfumes and cigars, hearing voices and laughter and Victrola music, experiencing cold spots, and sometimes even seeing spirits wearing period dress inside the shuttered buildings of the historic district.
In Zynda’s tour group, one woman captured an orb on her cell phone, while Zynda herself reported feeling a cold spot following her through a portion of the tour of Dubignon Cottage. Others saw flickering lights in the empty buildings as the tour moved through the twilight under the moss-draped live oaks.
“It’s an experience that you might only get once in your lifetime,” Akins said with an enjoyable shiver.
These phenomena are by no means new. Apparitions have been reported for many years throughout Jekyll Island’s 240-acre National Historic Landmark District. Nearly every cottage has some deep mystery or restless soul associated with a grand love story, an untimely death, a great misadventure, or a little mischief.
Tour guides lean on their professional knowledge of the island’s past to interpret the supernatural happenings. The Folklore, Rumor & Myth tour is peppered with stories of Jekyll Island’s historic characters in attempts to explain the reported sightings.
Guides note that different individuals have identified several spirits that have been encountered through comparisons with historical photographs. Those that have been identified include William and Savannah Struthers, Eddie Gould, Jr., and Walter Jennings, as well as Peggy and Marian Maurice. Others appear but remain nameless.
As the haunting mysteries multiplied over the years, Jekyll Island Museum staff began to collect the tales. Annually, during the month of October, they share the unusual stories they have heard. On the Folklore, Rumor and Myth Tour, guides usher guests to spots where apparitions have been sighted and unexplained events have occurred. Guests are then led inside one of the historic district cottages for more spine-tingling stories as darkness falls.
Wes Gruenke, a museum guide, often brings his groups inside Dubignon Cottage, calling it “the most paranormally active house we’ve got.” He notes that the Southern plantation home is the oldest house on the island, after Horton House.
To view a YouTube video preview of the tour, visit http://www.youtube.com/user/JekyllIslandMuseum .
The Folklore, Rumor & Myth Tour departs from the Jekyll Island Museum at 100 Stable Road on Friday nights, from October 2-31, 2009 at 7:00 pm. Admission is $16.00 for Adults and $7.00 for Children 6-12. The tour is recommended for ages 10 and above. Reservations are requested. For more information or for reservations, call 912-635-4036.