Tybee Island Pier at sunrise

Pier on Tybee Island, Georgia. Photo by afordphotography

Plan a Perfect Bae Getaway on Georgia's Coast

You and Bae need a beach vacay. No, FRFR, it’s overdue. And in your defense, there’s been a lot going on for the past couple years that might’ve jumped ahead of an intimate beach getaway on the coast of Georgia, which you might not know is not only extraordinarily beautiful but endlessly romantic and highly welcoming to Black couples.

Let’s say you and your significant other are the type that like to get out into nature and play in the wild together. There’s an island in Georgia just for y’all. Or maybe you and Boo are simply trying to stay tucked away for a few days, relaxing to the sounds and sights of golden shoreline just steps away from your resort room. Again, that’s not just your choice, but Georgia’s pleasure to offer. And to those of you who say nothing’s too good for the love of your life, you’ve certainly got a chance to give the one you love the most lavish spoils imaginable. Choose your move and make your way to one of the Georgia islands below, which are waiting to accommodate your specific style of Black love on the beach.

Luxury: Sea Island

The Cloister on Sea Island, Georgia
The Cloister on Sea Island, Georgia

There are high-class coastal hotels, and then there is The Cloister at Sea Island. Sitting on 50 secluded acres, this Mediterranean-inspired resort is for those whose love language leans into the luxurious. A salted, misty breeze blankets the area’s marshland and lingers over from the property’s five-mile private beach with an allure that draws lovebirds like tide to the moonlight. But there are plenty more sensory experiences among this rarified air.

Take to The Spa, where you can book the couple’s suite and enjoy any of the therapeutic massages, including deep tissue, hot stone, reflexology and more, all available as a side-by-side Duet Massage for 45, 60, 90, or 120 minutes. Then, get the adrenaline pumping with sports activities like boating and tennis, and unwind yet again at the Sea Island Yacht Club or The Cloister Beach Club.

There are several places to dine on the property, including rustic Italian restaurant Tavola and casual al fresco seafood at Southern Tide, but for the top-tier experience go with Georgian Room, where classic dishes are prepared using French techniques, and the surroundings are nothing short of opulent. And for an even more intimate experience, have dinner in the private wine cellars by candlelight. It’s all part of a meticulously maintained, impeccably upscale escape to coastal Southern elegance you and your partner will never forget.

Adventure: Jekyll Island

Sunrise on Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island, Georgia
Sunrise on Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island, Georgia. Photo by @gcalebjones

Nature-lovers need look no further than the 5,000 acres of sand dunes, lush trees and outdoor escapades that await on Jekyll Island. The seven-mile-long stretch of state-owned land is full of natural wonders but also plenty of Black history. You’ll learn about the hyper-exclusive island’s ecosystem through cottage and trolley tours at Mosaic, Jekyll Island Museum, but also hear stories of those who survived the transatlantic journey of The Wanderer, the last slave ship to arrive in Georgia.

Check in first at the historic Jekyll Island Club Resort, which offers 160 guest rooms, many of which are located in lavish cottages, all sitting on more than 5,000 acres of protected wilderness that is Jekyll Island, with long stretches of beach and access to more than 20 miles of bike trails. Then, head out and have a picnic on St. Andrews Beach, which in 1950 became the first public beach in Georgia to openly welcome Black beachgoers. Be sure to stop by the historical marker for the Dolphin Club and Motor Lounge, a Black-owned resort where superstars of the day like Otis Redding and B.B. King played for adoring crowds.

You’ve also got lots of options for fishing, including at Jekyll Island Fishing Center or by chartering boats from a variety of vendors. And of course, you could just rent a pair of bikes and go cycling together along the islet’s interior trails, where you’ve got two dozen miles of picture-perfect paths and routes, sometimes paved, sometimes raw, and sometimes on wooden bridges standing just above beautiful marsh. Be sure to check out Jekyll Island’s National Historic Landmark District and the Georgia Sea Turtle Center before taking to the sandy, driftwood-adorned shores of Driftwood Beach — a great space for a romantic walk for two (and maybe a talk about… the future? Ahem…)

Hang Loose: Tybee Island

Seafood platter at The Crab Shack on Tybee Island, Georgia
Seafood platter at The Crab Shack on Tybee Island, Georgia. Photo by @basicxfoodie

If “I ain’t got no worries” was a Georgia beach town, it would be Tybee Island. The funky little island, just over 3 square miles long and just a short half-hour drive from Savannah, has an easygoing culture of acceptance and lots of art galleries, shops and restaurants for those looking to shake off the rest of the world’s dust for a few days of peace, love and happiness.

Head out to see friendly flippers on Captain Derek's Dolphin Adventure, then satisfy your seafood hunger at North Beach Bar and Grill near Fort Screven, where you’ll find fish tacos, veggie plates, jerk chicken and a variety of Caribbean cuisine. Other options for dining include The Original Crab Shack, where you can get bibbed up, order the sharable Captain Crab’s Sampler Platter and start breaking crab legs off a little somethin’.

You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to enjoy kayaking, canoeing, jet skiing and more with equipment and gear from North Island Surf and Kayak or Tybee Jet Ski & Watersports. Round out the day at Tybee Island Pier and Pavilion, where you and Bae can stare out at the sunset as it descends below the ocean line, and maybe wave at other like- (or love-)minded couples doing what they do.

For a relaxing place to lay it down, book nights at Mermaid Cottages, where you can reserve a beachside condo or charming, adorably named private cottages like “A Little Salty,” just steps from the shore.

Hideaway: St. Simons Island

ECHO patio at the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons Island, Georgia
ECHO patio at the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons Island, Georgia

This island was once 86 percent owned by African Americans, and though the population has decreased, there remains a proud heritage of Black community, strength and togetherness. Take in the seaside scenery of Fort Frederica National Monument, and be sure to stop by the memorial dedicated to successful Black entrepreneur Robert Abbott, founder of The Chicago Defender, the nation's first African-American newspaper.

Have lunch at Neptune Park — specifically a picnic near the lighthouse and pier. The oceanfront public park was named for Neptune Small, an enslaved man whose heroism earned him this very plot of land.

A few nights at The King and Prince Golf & Beach Resort will put you within a leg’s stretch of the shore and provide oceanfront opportunities to swim, dine, and play tennis or golf near breathtaking views. For a bed-and-breakfast stay, opt for The Village Inn and Pub, which is nestled under centuries-old live oak trees and has 1930s-style decor, continental daily breakfast served on the sun porch, and its own solid mahogany English pub inside for those couples who like to enjoy a pint or two together.

You’ll also want to take your time walking and staring at your surroundings, particularly at Avenue of the Oaks, which is a popular place for photography (particularly wedding photos). And if you’re both lovers of barbecue, you can’t leave town without a visit to the nationally acclaimed Southern Soul Barbeque for ribs so unbelievably good you’ll wonder if slow-cooked and smoked meats are natural aphrodisiacs.

Written by: Mike Jordan
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