A Visitor’s Guide to East Beach, St. Simons

There are over 110 miles of pristine beaches along coastal Georgia from Jekyll Island all the way up to Tybee Island. The Golden Isles are known for preserving the natural landscape of their coastline, giving visitors a unique beach experience.

Saint Simons Island is no exception. Nestled along the island’s Eastern shore, East Beach is the island’s most popular beach destination. The coast is lined with tall dunes, hard-packed sand, and breathtaking ocean views. On any given day, you will find locals and tourists relaxing, fishing, boating, and swimming along the coast.

Many of our vacation homes are right along East Beach, making walking or cycling to your beach day easy. With endless activities to enjoy, you’ll have your pick of oceanfront adventures.

We’ve done the hard work and created a visitor’s guide so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy all this St. Simons Island beach has to offer!

Getting to East Beach

Photo Credit: Evangelio Gonzalez via Flickr CC2.0
  • Historic Coast Guard Station: 4100 First St. Simons Island, GA 
  • Massengale Park: 1350 Ocean Blvd.St. Simons Island, GA 
  • Gould’s Inlet: Fifteenth Street, Bruce Drive, St. Simons Island, GA

There are multiple beach access points along East Beach, making it easy for visitors to head to their fun day in the sun.

Historic U.S. Coast Guard Station Access Point

The most popular access point is the Historic U.S. Coast Guard Station. This access point has free parking, public restrooms, and a concession stand in the summer. It offers visitors a populated, family-friendly destination to enjoy their beach experience.

Massengale Park Access Point

South of the Coast Guard Station is Massengale Park, another beachfront access. The park offers a playground, shaded picnic areas, public restrooms, and two public access points to East Beach.

Gould’s Inlet Access Point

Gould’s Inlet is another popular beach access point. Gould’s Inlet is a Wildlife Beach Area located at the northern tip of East Beach. Here, you will find people bird-watching, fishing off of the fishing pier, and enjoying a peaceful oceanside stroll. There is more limited parking here.

All in all, there are over 30 public beach access points along the St. Simons Island beach stretch. Visitors can walk, bike, or drive to these access points. No matter how you choose to get to the beach, we guarantee it will be a worthwhile visit.

East Beach Activities

Relax On the Beach

Photo Credit: True Touch Lifestyle

Chances are you are visiting St. Simons Island to enjoy an easy-going beach vacation. There is no better way to do that than lounging oceanside with no responsibilities, including packing all of your beach gear! Guests can rent an umbrella and chairs from Barry’s Beach Service by the day. They are located in front of the King and Prince Beach Resort and the Beach Club.

If you prefer a more tranquil setting, head to Gould’s Inlet, where there are fewer crowds and more natural surroundings. Gould’s Inlet is also home to the best beach bird-watching on the island. The best time for bird sightings is high tide in the afternoon.

Enjoy Water Activities

Photo Credit: EpicStockMedia

For the more adventurous travelers, there are plenty of water activities to enjoy at East Beach. Guests can rent kayaks, paddle boards, or boogie boards from Barry’s Beach Service.

If you prefer to get in the water, Island Dive Center offers scuba and snorkeling lessons right off of East Beach’s shore. You’ll also find plenty of visitors wading into the water to nearby sand bars. Be sure to exercise caution, as the tide can change quickly.

Go Shelling During Low Tide

Photo Credit: Viktoria Gavrilina

If you’re a seashell collector, you will love strolling the East Beach coast hunting for treasures. From sand dollars to moon snails, there is a large variety of seashells to collect along coastal Georgia.

We recommend checking the tide chart before your shelling activity, as low tide offers the best time to go hunting. It is illegal to collect live shells in Georgia, so make sure to read the local shelling guide before you start collecting!

Grab a Midday Bite and Stroll the Shops

Photo Credit: Matthew Ennis

There are plenty of local shops and restaurants along East Beach. Visitors can enjoy an upscale lunch with a beach view at Echo St. Simons, located inside the King and Prince Beach Resort.

Head south along East Beach, and you’ll find Pier Village, a downtown hub of eateries and shops perfect for a midday stroll. Enjoy popular spots like Barbara Jean’s and Mallery Street Cafe for lunch. Visit St. Simons Crepes for dessert. Pick up a souvenir at one of the many local gift shops before returning to the beach.

Visit the Fun Zone at Neptune Park

If you’re looking for a family-friendly activity right along East Beach, Neptune Park is the place to be. Neptune Park Fun Zone is home to a year-round 18-hole miniature golf course right along the beach. The Fun Zone pool is also open for the whole family to enjoy during the summer.

The park also has an on-site concession stand that visitors can enjoy while lounging by the pool.

Get a History Lesson

Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks

For the history-buffs, East Beach offers the opportunity to visit two popular museums that pay homage to the coast’s significant history.

The World War II Homefront Museum is right next to the historic U.S. Coastguard Station along the beach. The museum is housed in what was originally known as the St. Simons Coast Guard station at East Beach. Built in 1936, the building originally acted as a watch station to rescue swimmers and boats in distress off the Atlantic coast and now has interactive exhibits.

Guests can also visit St. Simons Lighthouse Museum, located near Pier Village, where you’ll get a deep dive into the history of coastal Georgia.

Go Biking Along East Beach

Photo Credit: Elena Simona Craciun

What makes East Beach special is its hard-packed sand, which is perfect for biking along the beach. The biking beach path runs along the Southern to Northern tip of the beach, allowing bikers to explore the beautiful scenery along the whole shore.

Visitors can start their ride at St. Simons Island Pier Village and make their way up to Gould’s Inlet for the beach path or veer off to one of the many local biking trails along their ride.

East Beach Rules and Safety

Lifeguards are present at East Beach during the summer, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. They are stationed at the U.S. Coast Guard Station and Massengale Park daily from 11 am-4 pm. We advise swimming at your own risk and exercising caution in the water.

During the summer, a Warning Flag system alerts beach goers of hazardous conditions. You can also access the NOAA Tide Charts for up-to-date information on tide predictions. We recommend staying up to date on the tide so that you can come prepared for your beach activities.

East Beach is pet-friendly during the off season. However, pets are prohibited from East Beach South to the Pier during the summer between Memorial Day and Labor Day. 

Glass and rigid plastic containers are also prohibited year-round. Visitors can access a complete list of beach rules here.

Enjoy Your East Beach Vacation

East Beach is a coastal paradise that attracts thousands of locals and tourists to its pristine beaches and calm waters every year. With its diverse wildlife, natural beauty, and endless family-friendly activities, it’s the ideal vacation spot, no matter what your perfect beach day looks like.You can spend the entire day lounging on the beach, whether you prefer the tranquil, peaceful Northern tip or the more crowded, bustling Southern tip. For the adventurists, there are plenty of water activities, fishing, biking, and shell collecting to explore. And when you are ready for a midday break, you’ll find shopping, museums, and restaurants only a short walk away, all waiting for you on a getaway with Lighthouse Vacations.