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



A little Light Music

A Little Light Music

Friday August 14th from 7:00-9:00 PM Island Garage Band is back and will take you “back in time” with some of your favorite classic rock hits from Steely Dan, Chicago, Allman Brothers, Doobie Brothers, Eric Clapton and many more. Tickets are $12 for adults; children under 12 and Keepers of the Light are admitted free of charge.


ocean Sounds by the Sea

August 28th at 7pm Gwen Hughes & The Kats will play at Neptune Park on St. Simons. The concert is $10 at the gate, feel free to bring chairs and blankets.



downtown brunswick

First Friday in Downtown Brunswick

Friday August 5th from 5:00 to 8:00pm visit the shops, galleries, and restaurants in downtown Brunswick. Live music from local musicians will be there as well as art opening, and food and beverage samples



Sapelo Island Natural Estuarian Research Reserve Art ExhibitSapelo Island Painting

As part of its yearlong celebration of 40 years of research, education, stewardship, and training programs, the SINERR in partnership with McIntosh Art Association presents artwork inspired by the reserve at the Ritz Theatre in Brunswick, Gallery hours at the Ritz are Tuesday-Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, ending August 31st.Visit or call 912.262.6934 for more information.


Southern Grown Saturday, August 13th, 2016 – 9:00am to 1:00pm

Support southern vendors at the Southern Grown Farmers Market. Enjoy live music, fresh produce, samples, and southern products at this family-friendly event. This event is open to the public and held at The Market at Sea Island, 351 Sea Island Road, St. Simons Island, GA.


Fort FredericaSaturday August 6th from 10am- noon you will be able to travel back in time with the help of clues from archaeology on what cooking must have been like at Fort Frederica. Visiting Fort Frederica is free and the National Monument is open daily from 9am to 5pm


The Golden Isles offers some of the most beautiful back drops on the coast with the endless marsh, sunrises over the ocean, and majestic live oak trees. Making this the perfect place for filming movies and television shows. Locals typically hear the buzz around shows being filmed and the list of celebrities that make their way to the area to film but most travelers probably don’t know of all the famous footsteps that have happened here!

Most recently a new film called Live By Night featuring Ben Affleck was filmed in the heart of Brunswick, GA. The film will be released in 2017 and is based on the 2012 novel Live By Night by Dennis Lehane. The south of Brunswick got a huge make over (or make under) to have the appearance of Ybor City, FL in the 1920’s. A lot of money and time was spent painting, recreating buildings and signs, redoing roads, as well as on building and then burning down other set pieces. Big crowds turned out several nights to try to catch a glimpse of Ben Affleck and he was nice enough to acknowledge the crowds and give them a waive.

Prior to Live By Night, another very well-known movie filmed partly in the Golden Isles was Magic Mike XXL, starring Channing Tatum. With the majority of the scenes taking place in Tybee Island and Savannah you might recognize the beach scenes due to our popular and notable drift wood washing ashore on the beaches here. Although not one of the classiest movies ever filmed Magic Mike XXL is surely a favorite among women, leaving them blushing and giggling for sure!

One of the most famous movies to be filmed in the Golden Isles is definitely X-Men First Class. Although most of the film took place in the UK, there was a beach scene filmed in our back yard, Jekyll Island at the Jekyll Island Club.  Also filmed at the Jekyll Island Club was Glory starring Denzel Washington and Matthew Broderick.

It’s safe to say celebrities from far and wide have walked the Golden Isles, which gives a small but beautiful area large bragging rights for sure!

Ever wondered why we pop fireworks on the 4th of July? Wonder no more because after doing some research I found out when and where this tradition was started.

John Adams wrote in a letter to his wife on July 3, 1776 that signing the Declaration of Independence should be a “great anniversary Festival” and “solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

The next year Congress ordained the tradition in Philadelphia with an amazing fireworks display as well as firing 13 rockets to symbolize the 13 colonies. In the next few years the tradition started to spread through Boston, New York, and other cities.

By the early 1800’s Pyrotechnicians emerged as a profession, cities would often try to outdo one another with their firework displays and would hire them to create firework masterpieces. Up until this point fireworks were only allowed to certain people, however now becoming available to anyone which created quite havoc. Children would abuse the privileges to have these explosives and would light them and throw them at merchants on the streets.

Soon cities started to ban use of fireworks in city limits for safety reasons but also because of the noise. These cities would offer official displays in hopes to gather a crowd for one firework show instead of having many individuals doing their own.

Today there are much stricter laws in place that restrain who can buy fireworks, when and how many as well. Many cities have downsized their firework displays or cut them completely due to budget requirements.

Lucky for us on St. Simons Island we have and will continue to celebrate the 4th of July with the iconic and traditional fireworks display that Americans associate with patriotism and our Independence. Fireworks can be seen over the waters of the East River and Oglethorpe Bay starting at 9:00 pm of July 4th, compliments of The City of Brunswick, Golden Isles Arts and Humanities Association, and the Downtown Development Authority.

For more information regarding this year’s firework display and 4th of July celebration visit



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

  1. Coastal Outdoor Adventures

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!

  1. Epworth By The Sea

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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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

  1. 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.


shrimp and grits

Maybe you have attended the Shrimp and Grits Festival every year since it first began in 2005, or maybe you have never attended. Regardless, THIS is the year you do not want to miss! Come explore the festival as locals and visitors celebrate one of Georgia’s most famous “crops” and the lowcountry’s signature dish, shrimp & grits.

The 2015 Jekyll Island Shrimp & Grits Festival will be the best yet. The 10th anniversary celebration will feature a new Jekyll Island Experience Pavilion, an expanded Southern Living Pavilion, dedicated sponsor area, and double the craft brew vendors. Family-friendly entertainment, professional and amateur cooking competitions, live music across two stages, and more than 100 hand-selected art and craft vendors will be on-hand for this three day event.

This is a FREE event under the oaks in the National Historic Landmark District on Jekyll Island.

  • Friday, September 18: 5 p.m.-9 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 19: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Sunday, September 20: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Hodnett Cooper Vacation Rentals is offering 10% off of your stay in September so book NOW! You can book online at using the promo code: SWEET10 or call us at 844-877-0057

For a schedule and list of all the festival activities click here.


Take advantage of our Sweet Summer Savings!

It’s that magical time of year when the summer crowds have thinned, it’s still beach and swimsuit weather and there are several unique activities and festivals throughout the Golden Isles. A September visit to St. Simons Island could include the following…let’s start planning!

Farmer’s Market – The Market

Saturday, September 12, 9am – 1pm

Artisan foods and products from local farms and vendors. Enjoy samples along with live music.


Jekyll Island Shrimp & Grits Festival

September 18-20

A celebration of two Georgia favorites: shrimp and grits! On neighboring Jekyll Island, this weekend celebration includes tastings, arts & crafts, a craft brew tasting, cooking competitions, live music and great activities for kids. Food, fun and family…what could be better? Visit the website for a full schedule of events and pricing.


St. Simons Food & Spirits Festival

September 30- October 4 

This celebration of local food features five days of special events, including a kick off party, tastings, entertainment and a Spiritual Brunch to close out the festival. Visit the website for a complete schedule of events and pricing.


Looking Ahead

Did you know that Hodnett Cooper Vacation Rentals has teamed up with the Under the Oaks 1/2 Marathon challenge and is offering 15% OFF your stay October 7-11. This gives you and your running party plenty of time to enjoy all of the weekends race activities. Book your room now by calling 844-856-4903 or book online using the promo code: OAKS15.

“Under the Oaks” Half Marathon, Jekyll Island  October 10, 7am

Including a half marathon, 10K and 5K runs, the courses are USATF certified and all three races are USATF sanctioned. Both competitive and causal runners will enjoy the flat terrain and picturesque views of Jekyll Island. Visit RaceRoster to register.


Now is the perfect time to visit St.Simons Island. The Weather is beautiful, the summer crowds have thinned and there are numerous unique activities and festivals taking place throughout the Golden Isles. Break out your calendar and start planning your next visit.


fish tournament

6th Annual St. Simons Island Tarpon Fishing Tournament will be held on August 20-22, 2015 at the Morningstar Marina with an awards banquet taking place on

August 22nd in the Harbour Room at 6:30pm. For additional information on this event click here




Amphibians of the Maritime Forest Wetlands: Hidden Treasures at Cannon’s Point Preserve 

Thursday, August 20th, 2015 – 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Secreted in the maritime forest are wetland creatures adapted to cycles of wet and dry seasons, layers of leaf litter and moisture loving plants insects. Walk through their realm in the late summer light with Dirk Stevenson. Gather in the pavilion for more information and catered hors-d’oeuvres.


Jazz and Poetry Den

Friday, August 21st, 2015 – 8:00pm

It’s live! Spectacular artists, great music, standing ovations, spoken word, artwork, joy, laughter, and fun! Come join us at the Jazz and Poetry Den, Unitarian Universalists of Coastal Georgia on Friday, August 21st at 8:00pm.



End of Summer Arts & Crafts Show

Saturday 22nd to Sunday 23rd, August 2015

Explore unique arts and crafts such as painting, pottery, jewelry, garden art and more at the End of Summer Arts and Crafts Show at Postell Park on St. Simons Island.

Show is from 10:00-5:00pm on all days. For more information about the Arts & Crafts show click here



St.Simons Island Antique Show

Saturday 5th to Sunday 6th, September 2015

Antique dealers from all over the southeast, featuring a vast array of fine and fun merchandise, including furniture, collectibles, primitives, jewelry, silver, glassware, etc.
Located under the oaks, on the grounds of the beautiful revitalized Postell Park, on Beachview Drive off Mallory Street, St. Simons Island, Ga.



JJ Grey and Mofro Perform LIVE  

Thursday, September 10th, 2015 – 7:00pm to 11:00pm

JJ Grey & $RM91KPQMofro are a Southern Rock/soul/funk/blues/jam band from Jacksonville, FL. From the days of playing local juke joints to headlining major festivals, JJ Grey remains an unfettered, blissful performer. Experiencing this band live is a must! Event will be at Rainbow Island on Sea Island.

Ticket cost: $40 General Admission and $90 VIP (receives stage front access, 2 drink tickets and light bites). Chairs and blankets are welcome.

No coolers or outside food and beverage allowed. Doors open at 7pm; concert begins at 8pm-10pm.
For  tickets visit


shrimp and grits

Jekyll Island Shrimp & Grits Festival

Friday 18th to Sunday 20th, September 2015

A weekend celebration of two of Georgia’s most beloved foods – shrimp and grits. The festival features a cook-off, shrimp boat tours, cooking demonstrations, book signings, arts and crafts vendors, live entertainment and a kid‐friendly fun zone. This festival is a must-see for any food lover.

For a full list of all local activities visit


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.


This weekend is the Annual Wild Georgia Shrimp Festival on Jekyll Island. The festival is a celebration of one of Georgia’s most famous “crops” and the lowcountry’s signature dish, shrimp & grits.

Featuring plenty of food, live music, craft brews, tastings, cooking demonstrations and activities for kids, the Wild Georgia Shrimp Festival is fun for all ages.

New to the lineup this year is the “Songwriter in the Round” showcase presented by Southern Living magazine. Songwriter Rob Crosby will entertain at a free show at the Rah Bar beginning at 7pm, Saturday, September 21.

Just a short drive from St. Simons Island, Hodnett Cooper Vacation Rentals is happy to provide accommodations during your stay.

Visit the Wild Georgia Shrimp Festival website to learn about:

Activities & Tickets

Craft Brew Tasting

Guest Chefs & Personalities

We hope to see you this weekend!