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 on the Atlantic Ocean, 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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.