St. Simons Island is part of the infamous Golden Isles along the Southern Georgia coast. Located just one hour south of Savannah and one hour north of Jacksonville, Florida, it is the perfect way to arrive via road trip.
The road trip from Jacksonville holds epic coastal scenery and ample opportunities to eat, shop, and play on the way to your St. Simons vacation home. A straight line along the Florida/Georgia coast makes for a leisurely and easy drive. We’ve compiled the ultimate road trip guide from Jacksonville to St. Simons to get the most out of your coastal getaway.
Jacksonville to St. Simons Island: Road Trip Logistics
- Distance: Approximately 70 miles
- Direct Drive Time: 1 to 1.5 hours
If you use Google Maps starting from the Jacksonville International Airport, the driving directions will take you up Interstate 95 (I-95) North through the town of Kingsland until you reach Exit 29. The remaining route takes you through the city of Brunswick, which is the closest town to St. Simons Island.
While this route is straightforward, there are plenty of scenic views and coastal towns to explore along the way to your final destination!
Where to Stop
Jacksonville Beach, Florida
St. Simons has some of the most beautiful sandy stretches awaiting your arrival, but why wait until St. Simons Island to hit the beach when you can dip your toes in the sand as soon as you land in Jacksonville?
The Jacksonville Beach Pier is the perfect destination for breathtaking views of the Florida coast. Visitors can fish off the pier or simply enjoy the first view of the water after their trip. The pier is adjacent to the infamous boardwalk, a lively stretch along the shore home to shops, restaurants, and countless entertainment. This iconic spot offers a glimpse into the vacation as you head north on your road trip to St. Simons Island.
Amelia Island, Florida
Just 25 miles north of Jacksonville, you’ll find a collection of beach towns known as Amelia Island. This barrier island off the coast of Northern Florida boasts 13 miles of beautiful beaches, delicious Seafood eateries, world-renowned golf courses, and historic sites.
Amelia Island makes for the perfect day trip on your way to St. Simons Island due to its endless entertainment options. Visitors can head to the Golf Club of Amelia Island for a round of golf at this popular golf resort destination. A little further north, you’ll find Main Beach Park in Fernandina Beach, a beachfront park offering public access to the beach, volleyball courts, a playground, and picnic areas for the family.
While in Fernandina Beach, be sure to explore Downtown Square, packed with local boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries. And finally, make your way up to Fort Clinch State Park, a 1,400-acre park home to a historic fort that dates back to the Civil War.
St. Marys, Georgia
After crossing over the Florida-Georgia Line, you’ll find yourself in the historic town of St. Marys. This riverfront town offers visitors the chance to explore historic sites on a walking tour, bike along the river, and even visit a submarine aquarium!
As one of the largest museums of its kind, St. Marys Submarine Aquarium is a must-visit for history buffs looking for a unique experience. If you prefer a walking tour, the town of St. Marys offers daily tours through its various historic sites. Visit the Welcome Center for more information on tours.
St. Marys also provides easy access to Cumberland Island National Seashore, which is only accessible by boat. Visitors can take a 45-minute ferry ride from St. Marys to explore the island’s secluded beaches, historic sites, and endless trails.
Jekyll Island, Georgia
As you go further into Georgia, you’ll come across the first barrier island in the Golden Isles, Jekyll Island.
Jekyll Island is known for its picturesque driftwood beaches. The island boasts 10 miles of uninhabited shoreline, perfect for bird-watching, walking along the beach, and admiring endless stretches of driftwood.
The barrier island is also home to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, where the whole family can get a front-row seat to sea turtle rehabilitation while learning about these lovable animals.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, be sure to visit one of Jekyll Island’s many local restaurants, including tasty treats at Island Sweets Shoppe.
Just before you reach your final destination of St. Simons, you’ll pass through the city of Brunswick. Once known as the “Shrimp Capital of the World,” Brunswick has a long-standing history as a major port city in the South.
These days, Brunswick is known for its thriving Downtown Historic District, home to countless antique shops, local boutiques, community events, and even the Historic Ritz Theatre.
If you’re looking for the perfect outdoor activity before your final stretch, head to Mary Ross Waterfront Park. This oceanfront park boasts plenty of green space to run around, enjoy a picnic, or watch the boats go by.
Be sure to check out Silver Bluff Brewing before you head out to try their delicious craft beer while relaxing in the beer garden.
Tips for Your Coastal Road Trip
Check the Weather
Coastal weather can be somewhat unpredictable, so check the radar before heading out on your road trip. If rain is in the forecast, plan ahead to come prepared with umbrellas and rain jackets. There are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities at every road trip stop, so you’ll have more than enough adventure no matter what the weather holds!
Plan for Traffic
Since Highway 95 is used by locals and tourists alike, traffic can get pretty heavy at certain times of the day. If you’re traveling on a weekday, we recommend making one of your stops during rush hours to avoid commuters traveling to and from work. Be sure to also plan for any festival weekends that might bring an influx of visitors to the area.
Don’t Rush The Process
The drive from Jacksonville to St. Simons Island makes for the perfect day trip, whether you enjoy it at the beginning or end of your stay.
Each stop along the way offers a unique take on Coastal Florida and Georgia. And no two places are the same. Be sure to take in each coastal town, including the local cuisine and shops that tell the story of the people who call it home.
An Epic Road Trip Along the Florida/Georgia Coast
The drive to your St. Simons vacation home from Jacksonville is packed with new places to discover. Whether you take it slow and enjoy a day at one of the spectacular Georgia islands along the way or make a quick stop at one of the infamous coastal historic sites, a road trip is the ultimate way to start your St. Simons getaway!