St. Simons Island, Georgia
Georgia's St. Simons Island, located midway between Savannah, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida, is just 18 square miles. That means many of the top attractions — including beaches and golf courses — can be reached on foot, and the miles and miles of bike paths on flat terrain make cycling another easy way to get around.
What We Love
Outdoor Activities: Tee off at one of several golf clubs, book a charter boat, or fish straight from the pier. You can also canoe or kayak in the swampy waterways (chances of spotting shore birds: high).
St. Simons Island Lighthouse and Museum: Built in 1872 and just over 100 feet high, this tower replaced one that was destroyed by the Confederates during the Civil War. Climb the 129 steps to the top, where you can get 360-degree views of St. Simons. The light keeper’s cottage houses a maritime museum, also open to the public.
Best Known For
Beaches: The stretches here are terrific. Try your hand at surfing during high tide and go for a long, barefoot walk on the hundreds of yards of soft sand revealed at low tide.
Fort Frederica National Monument: In the 18th century, the island was part of a land conflict between the British and the Spanish in Florida; this garrison protected the colony of Georgia, warding off enemy troops until 1742, when the battle of the Bloody Marsh gave the Brits permanent possession of St. Simons.
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Who It's Best For
History Buffs: This island's deep history goes beyond its part in the Civil War (it was once occupied by Confederate and Union troops), and for those who want to learn more, trolley tours hit the big highlights, such as the 1884 Gothic-style Christ Church set in lovely woodlands.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Summers Get Hot: The weather can get uncomfortably hot and humid if you're away from the water. Take refuge in the ocean or at Neptune water park, a popular destination in the late afternoon and early evenings.
Too Many Choices: With everything from beaches to golf, fishing, and history, there is a lot to see here. You'll need to pick and chose what you want to do and plan in advance how to spend the short amount of time that you'll have in port.
Theodore W. Scull is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has written several books on crossings.