Situated along Georgia’s scenic coast, the Golden Isles consist of the mainland city of Brunswick, and four picturesque barrier islands: Saint Simons Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island, and Jekyll Island. The area is home to pristine beaches and marshlands, world-class golf, elevated cuisine, Atlantic coast wildlife, original boutiques, locally-flavored art galleries, and a storied history spanning more than 400 years.
The Golden Isles also mark the halfway point between the nation’s largest city – Jacksonville, FL, and Georgia’s oldest city – Savannah, GA, making it a fantastic starting point for a one-of-a-kind day trip getaway! Savannah, GA is just over 80 miles north of St. Simons Island, and a worthwhile road trip, with plenty to see and do along the way.
Finding Your Path
The direct route from St. Simons Island to Savannah originates at I-95 northbound, accessed from the barrier islands via US-17 N/Glynn Ave and GA-25 in Brunswick. Once on I-95, the path is a straight shot ahead for approximately 69 miles directly into Downtown Savannah and Historic River Street. If you’re feeling adventurous, there are a few worthy stops to consider along your journey.
As You Depart
If your plans don’t involve a return trip, make sure you’ve crossed some of the Golden Isles “must do” locations off your list before you depart. Beachgoers – have you spent some time basking on East Beach at the Coast Guard Station? Did your adventurous craving find pacification with kayak tours of Sea Island? Before carrying on to Savannah’s historic district, did you explore the island’s many cultural and historic sites like Fort Frederica National Monument, Bloody Marsh, St. Simons Island Lighthouse, Cannon’s Point Preserve, and Brunswick’s Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation Historic Site? Did your foodie side get a taste of Southern Soul BBQ and the Village Inn & Pub? Have you gotten your steps, sips, and shopping in at Pier Village?
Just under thirty minutes into your trek, stop off in Darien, Georgia from US-17. Here, you can visit Fort King George historic site, gift shop, and museum – the southernmost fortification defending the British empire in North America, and the oldest English fort remaining on the Georgia coast. Darien is also home to the “Smallest Church in America”, built in 1949 by local grocer, Agnes Harper, and recently rebuilt following a fire. Fuel up with a tasty pit stop at Skipper’s Fish Camp on the banks of the Darien River before continuing on to I-95.
Making Your Arrival
About forty minutes into the I-95 leg of your trip, you’ll reach the US-17 exit to Richmond Hill – the southern home of Henry Ford. Richmond Hill is now home to a variety of family-friendly amusements, including Fort McAllister State Historic Park, Richmond Hill Museum, art galleries, shops, restaurants, and an array of special events. Richmond Hill, Georgia, includes two sites along the Colonial Coast Birding Trail, horseback trails, wetlands hikes, SUP tours, fishing charters, sandy beaches, and golf courses for outdoors enthusiasts.
Once your time in Richmond Hill has come to an end, pick up I-95 for the last 20 miles of your trip into Savannah’s Historic District. The largest National Historic Landmark District in the United States, the Historic District of Savannah contains more than twenty city squares of cobblestone streets, manicured gardens, and oak trees draped in Spanish Moss, as well as many remarkable buildings in diverse Georgian, Greek Revival, and Gothic style architecture, and notable sites in the Civil Rights movement and Revolutionary and Civil Wars. From here, you’re open to explore any number of uniquely southern venues and sites depending on your interests and the time you’ve assigned for your excursion, including breweries, spas, shops, museums, galleries, and much more. An ideal way to get to know Savannah is a guided tour, and plenty of options are available. Walking tours, motorized and carriage tours, water tours, and even ghost tours are open to visitors day and night.
Extending Your Journey
From Savannah, you can easily add a quick jaunt into South Carolina for a Hilton Head diversion, just a little over 30 miles across US-278 E! Hilton Head Island is part of the Lowcountry region of the Carolinas, known for expansive Atlantic coast beaches, maritime culture, adventure tours, and world-class golf courses. Notable points of interest include The Harbour Town Lighthouse and Museum, The Coastal Discovery Museum, Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge, Island Winery, and the Hilton Head Distillery.