The Golden Isles, GA
Some of the Southeast's most beautiful beaches are located on the barrier islands off the coast of Georgia, and to many they are a best-kept secret. One of the islands is full of historic settings, while others are home to privately-owned island lodges and world-class resorts. All are family friendly, and a vacation here will be remembered for a lifetime.
The Golden Isles include St. Simon's Island, Little St. Simon's Island, Sea Island and Jekyll Island. Some of our favorite places for family vacations in this area are listed below:
The Lodge on Little St. Simon's Island, Little St. Simon's Island, GA: Nature lovers should plan a trip to the Lodge at Little St. Simon's, where you can walk on the beaches for miles collecting shells without seeing a soul, spot tiny deer in the pine forests, and ride on horseback along meandering trails. A summer vacation on Little St. Simon's Island is like taking the basic beach trip and adding a pinch of Robinson Caruso, a dash of "Fantasy Island" and a big slice of National Geographic. Ten thousand acres and seven miles of deserted beaches await just 30 lucky guests. From the Loggerhead Sea Turtle Monitoring & Protection program to a Salt Marsh Adventure in search of fiddler crabs, periwinkle snails and other inhabitants of the sea, families will enjoy experiencing and learning about this barrier island's secluded ecosystem. The Lodge on Little St. Simon's Island is open year-round, welcoming all children in the summer, and kids eight and up year-round. Accessible only by boat, rates are all-inclusive including three meals, all activities, and all recreational equipment and gear. For more information, call 888-733-5774 or visit their website at: The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island.
The Cloister, Sea Island: The Cloister has been welcoming families to Sea Island's shores for over seventy-five years. To many, a family vacation or reunion here has become a tradition. While expensive, this resort is a wonderful spot to relax, be pampered, and enjoy some of the traditions of days gone by. Guests have access to world-class golf courses, tennis, mouth-watering meals, a long beach with a variety of watersports, and great kids and teens programs. These family programs owe much of their success to the resort's resident counselors and enthusiastic junior staff, many of whom have been coming to Sea Island for their own family vacations for years. Southern hospitality is in evidence at The Cloister, and the service here is sensational. Three meal plan options are offered. Men must wear jackets at dinner in the Main Dining Room, and dancing is very popular. For more information on the Cloister, call 800-Sealsland (800-732-4752) or 912-638-3611. Ask about their family packages, which are offered at selected times during the summer. You can visit their website at: www.seaisland.com.
Jekyll Island Club Hotel, Jekyll Island: Escape to the world of the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers at this historic landmark hotel. On arrival, it's likely that you'll feel that you are vacationing in a movie set -- in fact, several were filmed here. The Jekyll Island Historic District in which the hotel is located is the largest restoration project in the Southeast. The public rooms feature period furnishings, and some of the rooms even have claw-footed bathtubs. One of my children's fondest memories is of swimming in the huge old-fashioned bathtub in our room here. Although not located on the beach, the sandy shores are a short shuttle or bike ride away. Sunsets over the waterways are sensational here, and should not be missed. Tennis, golf, bike rentals, croquet, and summer children's programs are offered, and a waterpark located nearby is available during the warm weather months. For more information, visit the hotel's website Jekyll Island Club Hotel or contact them by calling 800-535-9547 or 912-635-2600.
King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, St. Simon's Island: This grand old resort was named as "Georgia's Favorite Beach Resort" by the readers of Southern Living. It features 140 hotel rooms and two- and three-bedroom beach villas, four outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, and beautiful grounds and public places. A heated indoor pool and hot tub are great options for cool or rainy days. Golfing families should check out the golf packages offered in conjunction with The Hampton Club. For more information, call 800-342-0212 or visit their website at: www.kingandprince.com.
Epworth by the Sea: This is an inexpensive facility operated by the United Methodist Church, which offers motel or cabin accommodations to the general public. This is perhaps one of the best values in the area. For more information, call 912-638-8688 or visit their website at: www.epworthbythesea.org.
Sea Island Cottage Rentals: This rental agency specializes in house rentals on Sea Island, call 912-638-0791 or check out their website with cottages and house pictures and prices: www.seaisland.com.
Nearby Brunswick and the Golden Isles of Georgia offer a wide variety of vacation and lodging options for families. For more information on additional places to stay and local attractions on Georgia's Golden Isles, visit the website at: The Brunswick-Golden Isles Convention and Visitors Bureau.