St. Simons Island is often thought of as being a beach destination that is perfect for an island getaway. While the Golden Isles and their white sand beaches are truly something to boast about, the island is also rich in history and culture. With so much to see and do while you’re on the island, it can be hard to choose just a few. However, if you are a nature lover, you are in luck. Not only are the beaches in pristine conditions, but there are plenty of nature trails and hiking trails to get lost within. Here are a few of our favorite hiking and nature trails on and near the island.
CANNON’S POINT PRESERVE
Nestled on the north end of St. Simons Island is Cannon’s Point Preserve. The 600-acre tract of land has a complete trail system of primitive hiking trails. You can park at Taylor’s Fish Camp, where you can also find a picnic table and public restrooms. You can bike, hike or even just leisurely walk this trail. For those looking for an adventure, check out Couper’s Field Loop, the longest trail but also one of the most rewarding trails. At the end of the trail, you will find old historical ruins from centuries ago, a new observation tower, and of course breathtaking views.
JOHN GILBERT NATURE TRAIL
Located in St. Simons Island, the John Gilbert Nature Trail is a 40-acre marsh-front property. It features a trail with boardwalks and scenic overlooks as visitors make their way through the maritime forest into the salt marsh. You can spot “John’s Oak”, which is a 200-year-old live oak that is perfect for those nature photos. The trail is located alongside Frederica Road near Fort Frederica and Frederica park. Stroll through the trail and enjoy the Georgia sunshine or even go biking or birding through the trail.
EARTH DAY NATURE TRAIL
Located in Brunswick, this trail is right at the base of the Sidney Lanier Bridge. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources “Earth Day Nature Trail” is equipped with five different trails, three wildlife viewing platforms, four picnic areas, and of course the most breathtaking views in Saint Simons Island. Enjoy a morning or afternoon stroll for some fresh air as you pass by the marshlands, maritime forest, and even spot some wildlife like egrets, fiddler crabs, sea oxeye, and many other native plants and wildlife.
WANDERER MEMORY TRAIL
If you wander to the other side of the Sidney Lanier Bridge and onto the Jekyll Island Causeway, you will run into two great trails on Jekyll Island. Located near St. Andrews Beach is the new Wanderer Memory Trail. It isn’t a traditional hiking trail, it is a great option for families and history buffs. The trails will lead you through the last known slave ship illegally brought to America. not only will you see Coastal Georgia first hand, but it is also a learning experience. Ride your bikes through the bike paths and bike trails or make it a day trip and observe all of the natural beauty. You can pack a picnic lunch to take, and set up under the shaded picnic areas.
SOUTH LOOP TRAIL
South Loop Trail is located right around the corner from St. Andrews Beach. Much like the Wanderer Memory Trail, it is on Jekyll Island. The best way to get on nature and wildlife trails is by parking at Camp Jekyll. The entrance to the self-guided South loop trail is just across the street. You can see a ton of wildlife while walking this trail so make sure to bring binoculars to use at the viewing platform. You can also take part in a ranger walk, or a guided tour.
Whether you choose to hike, bike, or walk Little St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island, Sea Island, or even just a state park, you will love every second of it. With so much to see and observe you will have a great day sightseeing. We hope to see you soon on St. Simons Island.