Boy on Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island, Georgia. Photo by @qued3point14

Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island, Georgia. Photo by @qued3point14

A Guide to Georgia's Coast

Plan a getaway to experience Georgia's unique beach communities.

The "best beach" title may depend on individual taste, but whether you seek history, nature, nightlife or just to be left alone, Georgia has a beach for you.

The coast of Georgia is roughly 110 miles and includes 15 barrier islands, four of which (Jekyll, St. Simons, Sea and Tybee) are accessible by car and have become popular resort destinations. The rest of Georgia's islands require transportation by boat and are virtually unspoiled natural escapes.

Georgia's Major Islands

Tybee Island

Surfers on Tybee Island, Georgia
Tybee Island, Georgia

On Georgia’s northern coast, Tybee Island is a laid-back beach destination just 20 minutes outside Savannah.

Where to Stay

Tybee has many standard hotel rooms, but the best place to stay is one of the bed and breakfast inns like the Beachview Bed & Breakfast.

What to Do

In addition to the beach, visitors can explore the Tybee Island Lighthouse Museum, or get a close look at local sea life with marine biologist Dr. Joe during a Beach Ecology Tour.

Where to Eat

Tybee is a great place for eating. Residents and visitors love The Sundae Café for its seafood, not ice cream. And coffee lovers rave about the funky Tybean Art & Coffee Bar.

Find more trip ideas in the Guide to Tybee Island

St. Simons Island

View of pool and beach at King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons Island, Georgia
King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons Island, Georgia

St. Simons Island charms visitors into staying. The island is home to more permanent residents than any other barrier island in Georgia. The combination of guests and residents means there's a wide variety of shopping, dining and activities available.

Where to Stay

The historic The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort has hotel rooms and condos right on the beach, as well as access to golf and tennis. Locals and visitors can be found in the pub at the boutique Village Inn and Pub near the Pier Village area downtown.

What to Do

For history buffs, Fort Frederica National Monument is a must-see and has one of the best Junior Ranger programs in the state, and the World War II Home Front Museum tells the story of coastal Georgia's extraordinary contributions to winning WWII. Nature lovers should take a kayak tour through the marshes with Southeast Adventure Outfitters.

Where to Eat

Southern Soul BBQ is a must during any visit to St. Simons Island, while Crabdaddy’s has unbeatable fried shrimp. For a more upscale meal, try Halyards seafood restaurant.

Find more trip ideas in the Guide to St. Simons Island

Sea Island

Entrance to The Cloister on Sea Island, Georgia
The Cloister on Sea Island, Georgia

For many families, Sea Island has been a multigenerational destination for decades. This resort caters to families, couples and groups, making each think the resort was made specifically for them.

Where to Stay

The Cloister at Sea Island is a Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond Resort with rooms, suites and private cottages. Rooms are large, with a minimum of 700 square feet vs. 400–450 square feet for a typical Five-Star hotel.

What to Do

Activities abound, but the best part of a stay at the Cloister is the Beach Club with its three pools, soda fountain, playground and private beach, all within a few hundred feet.

Where to Eat

Sea Island has seven unique dining venues, ranging from upscale cuisine to beachfront snacks (be sure to ask about the pickles). Even adults love the Gold Brick Sundae from Wonderland, the Sea Island sweet shop. For unique dining, visit the kitchen at the Georgian Room for the Chef’s Table Experience.

Jekyll Island

St. Andrews Beach on Jekyll Island, Georgia
St. Andrews Beach on Jekyll Island, Georgia. Photo by @gcalebjones

Jekyll Island was once a winter retreat for America's richest families, including the Rockefellers, Pulitzers and Vanderbilts. Now a playground for seaside lovers everywhere, Jekyll Island offers a variety of activities ranging from environmental education to plain old-fashioned beach fun.

Where to Stay

Soak up island history and maybe a game of croquet with a stay at the Jekyll Island Club Resort. For oceanside lodging, try the Hampton Inn & Suites.

What to Do

The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is a hospital for ill and injured sea turtles and a perfect place to see these endangered creatures up close. Tidelands Nature Center is low-key with fantastic kids programs, as well as affordable kayak or canoe rentals. Driftwood Beach is a must-see with its weathered trees preserved in grey by the salt air. For theme park fun, hit Summer Waves Water Park.

Where to Eat

The Wharf, a part of the Jekyll Island Club Resort, is located at the marina and offers great marshland views, as well as live music. Driftwood Bistro offers family-friendly service at affordable prices.

Find more trip ideas in the Guide to Jekyll Island

More Island Adventures

Little St. Simons Island

Birds flying over water and marsh on Little St. Simons Island, Georgia
Little St. Simons Island, Georgia. Photo by @benjamingalland

The eco-friendly Lodge on Little St. Simons Island is the perfect getaway for nature lovers. Only accessible by boat, the all-inclusive stay includes 32 comfortable rooms in cabins and chef-prepared meals inside the main lodge. During the day, guests can visit the private beach or ride along with the naturalists to spot birds and other wildlife. There’s also a seasonal swimming pool and rentals of bicycles and kayaks.

Cumberland Island

Horses grazing near Dungeness Ruins on Cumberland Island, Georgia
Dungeness Ruins on Cumberland Island, Georgia. Photo by @wandernorthga

Once the island retreat for the Carnegies, the largely undeveloped Cumberland Island is only accessible by ferry from St. Marys. Plan a luxurious stay at the Greyfield Inn, a day trip to explore the Dungeness Ruins or a Cumberland Island National Seashore camping trip for the ultimate Georgia beach adventure.

Little Raccoon Key

Glamping tent on Little Raccoon Key off Jekyll Island, Georgia
Little Raccoon Key off Jekyll Island, Georgia

Part of the Golden Isles of Georgia, this unspoiled reef island off the coast of Jekyll Island is perfect for those looking for a remote getaway. Rent your own private island and stay overnight in a solar-powered luxury canvas tent, or book a guided tour to spend a day exploring the ancient oyster reef.

St. Catherines Island, Midway

Driftwood on the beach on St. Catherines Island in Midway, Georgia
St. Catherines Island in Midway, Georgia

Relax among the driftwood on the beach of this untouched island in Midway, Liberty County. The private hideaway in the middle of Georgia's pristine salt marshes can be reached only by boat.

See What Others are Doing on the Georgia Coast

Published: March 2023
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