Dungeness Ruins on Cumberland Island, Georgia. Photo by Justin Hardigree, @justin.hardigree
Justin Hardigree, @justin.hardigree

Dungeness Ruins on Cumberland Island, Georgia. Photo by Justin Hardigree, @justin.hardigree

Must-See Stops on Georgia's Coast

Leave behind the hustle and bustle of the highway in favor of sandy beaches and the sounds of the Atlantic Ocean on the Georgia coast.

From the untamed maritime forest on Cumberland Island to the historic squares of Savannah, the Georgia coast enchants visitors with awe-inspiring scenery, history and wondrous experiences. Make time to explore Georgia's coast, starting with these seven destinations.

Cumberland Island trail. Photo by Henry Sharp

Cumberland Island

On Georgia's southernmost barrier island, visitors will find maritime forests, undeveloped beaches and wide marshes among the 9,800 acres of congressionally designated wilderness. You can tour the island on a day trip, plan a camping trip or stay at the luxurious Greyfield Inn. Make your ferry reservation ahead of time to ensure you have the fullest experience on Cumberland Island.

Find more things to do on the mainland in St. Marys.

Photo by Henry Sharp

Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island

Voted one of America's "Ten Most Romantic Beaches," Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island is an escape to another world. The landscape changes constantly as the surf works away at the shoreline, toppling trees and creating endlessly fascinating scenes for photographers.

During your stay on Jekyll Island, don't miss a visit to the Jekyll Island Historic District, featuring the Jekyll Island Club Resort and homes that once were the winter retreats for such notable figures as J.P. Morgan, Joseph Pulitzer, William K. Vanderbilt and Marshall Field. Also in the district is the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, where injured turtles are nursed back to health. You can watch turtle feedings and take behind-the-scenes tours to get a closer look at the patients and their rehabilitation care.

Find more things to do on Jekyll Island.

Avenue of the Oaks on St. Simons Island, Georgia

St. Simons Island

One of the Golden Isles of Georgia, St. Simons Island is full of history to explore and family-friendly activities to enjoy. Stroll the beaches at sunrise, walk in awe along the Avenue of Oaks, and search for tree spirits that appear delightfully throughout the island. Stay overnight at the historic King and Prince Golf & Beach Resort, within steps of the ocean.

Find more things to do on St. Simons Island.

Tybee Island Lighthouse

Tybee Island

Located just 20 miles from Savannah, Tybee Island is a popular destination for families because it offers all of the fun of the surf and sand, as well as easy access to the activities and sites in historic Savannah just a short drive away. Climb the 178 stairs to the top of the Tybee Island Lighthouse, the tallest and oldest lighthouse in Georgia. Tour Fort Pulaski National Monument, which protected the sea approach to Savannah and fell to Union forces in the Civil War. And dine on fresh seafood by the waterfront at The Crab Shack.

Find more things to do on Tybee Island.

Forsyth Park fountain in Savannah, Georgia

Savannah

One of the oldest cities in the United States, Savannah's historic squares enchant visitors with their scenic beauty and tales at every turn. Take pictures at the iconic Forsyth Park fountain, tour Bonaventure Cemetery, stroll the cobblestones on River Street, cruise the river on the Georgia Queen Riverboat, and dine at some of the best restaurants in the South.

Find places to stay and things to do in Savannah.

Lighthouse on Sapelo Island, Georgia

Sapelo Island

Reservations are required to visit this island on the Georgia coast that is only accessible by ferry. During the day, Sapelo Island visitors are encouraged to explore the cultural history, coastal wildlife and complex beach and dunes system on the 11-mile island. Key on-island destinations include the African American community of Hog Hammock, Reynolds Mansion, Nanny Goat Beach, University of Georgia Marine Institute and a restored 1820 lighthouse. Guests are welcome overnight and can choose to camp or stay at the historic Reynolds Mansion.

Darien shrimp boats. Photo by Tammy Miller, @tammygmiller

Darien

Whether you stop off on the coast during the springtime Blessing of the Fleet or make Darien your destination to see the shrimp boats and let the kids get out some energy during your trip, there is a lot to see and photograph. Downtown Darien also features a growing restaurant and boutique scene.

Photo by Tammy Miller, @tammygmiller

Published: April 2019