Little Raccoon Key glamping. Photo by @littleraccoonkey

Little Raccoon Key glamping. Photo by @littleraccoonkey

6 Super Secret Getaways on the Georgia Coast

There's more to see along Georgia's coast than gorgeous beaches: Find incredible wildlife viewing experiences, too. Hop aboard a ferry or drive inland to the rivers to experience these under-the-radar coastal communities.

Greyfield Inn on Cumberland Island. Photo by @kberryphoto

1. Greyfield Inn

Photo by @kberryphoto

Cumberland Island is an untamed paradise. The majority of visitors to the national seashore stay at one of the five campgrounds. But for the experience of living like the Carnegie family, whose descendants still call the island home, check into Greyfield Inn. The 1890 mansion-turned-inn features antique furnishings, all-inclusive gourmet meals, ferry transportation, and naturalist-led tours of the island.

Visit Greyfield Inn

Camping on Little Raccoon Key off Jekyll Island, Georgia

2. Little Raccoon Key

Camping doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. Little Raccoon Key is a glamping resort located off the coast of Jekyll Island on a 10,000-year-old reef. The private island formerly inhabited by Timucua and Guale tribes has everything you need for a cozy stay, including the safari-style canvas tent with a real bed and memory foam mattress.

Wash off in the outdoor shower before relaxing in the Adirondack chairs. An onsite chef can prepare your meals, or you can bring groceries from the mainland. Watch for dolphins and birds from your private retreat by day, or you can book a massage or fishing charter.

Visit Little Raccoon Key

Sapelo Island. Photo by @_stephencook

3. Sapelo Island

Photo by @_stephencook

The incredible barrier island was navigated by early Spanish explorers, and in the 1800s became a Sea Island cotton plantation. Upon the owner’s death, the enslaved people that worked there were freed and became a part of the Geechee community that still inhabits the island.

Today, Sapelo Island is only accessible by a state-run ferry. Visitors can go on an organized tour to learn about the area’s history, including stops at Hog Hammock and the 1820s lighthouse. But if a day isn’t enough, the island has unique accommodation options. Groups can stay at the Cabretta campground, a basic site tucked among the live oak trees in the R.J. Reynolds Wildlife Refuge. The Reynolds Mansion also hosts groups. If you want more privacy or are traveling with a few people, there are also privately owned rental homes like these treehouses on stilts.

Visit Sapelo Island

Little St. Simons Island

4. Little St. Simons Island

Set between St. Simons Island and Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island was private hunting land of a wealthy family, passed down over the years before becoming a resort. 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.

Visit Little St. Simons Island

The Hostel in the Forest in Brunswick, Georgia

5. The Hostel in the Forest

Don’t let the name “hostel” fool you. The Hostel in the Forest in Brunswick is a longtime off-the-grid retreat with rustic treehouses, open-air huts, a bunkhouse, and campsites. Guests are asked to purchase memberships and to pitch in with chores. Vegetarian dinners are offered nightly as well as access to the kitchen.

Local coffee is also offered for a donation. Linens are provided. The hostel has outdoor showers, a sweat lodge, gardens, and acres of land to explore. It’s currently closed for summer 2020 but will reopen in the future.

Visit The Hostel in the Forest

Cabin Bluff in Woodbine, Georgia

6. Cabin Bluff and Ceylon Wildlife Management Area

The recently created Ceylon Wildlife Management Area in Woodbine is an under-the-radar place to explore with artesian springs, a historic cemetery, and abundant wildlife like protected gopher tortoises. The land was the site of a rice plantation and was later used for logging.

Nearby Cabin Bluff is a hunting and fishing retreat on the Cumberland River that dates back to 1928, hosting the likes of President Coolidge. The 20 lodge rooms and cabins have plush bedding, and guests enjoy nightly chef-prepared dinners. For those not interested in hunting or fishing, there’s also a golf course, swimming pool, and excursions to nearby Cumberland Island.

Visit Cabin Bluff

Published: July 2020
Written by: Caroline Eubanks
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