St. Simons is a beautiful barrier island in Glynn County, Georgia. Famous for its sandy beaches and wild salt marshland, this area is a nature lover’s dream and makes the perfect escape from surrounding big cities like Atlanta, Savannah, and Jacksonville. However, there’s so much more to do that every member of your group will enjoy spending time here.
Once you check into your vacation rental home, it’s time to explore our slice of paradise. While there most obvious of all of the things to do on St. Simons is to spend time on the beach, there’s plenty more to see and do while here. As part of the famous Golden Isles, the hype is well warranted here.
Here’s our guide to the best things to do in St. Simons Island.
Eat The Freshest Seafood
St. Simons Island is home to a flavorful array of global cuisines to entice even the most discerning foodie. Our coastal Georgia locale means that seafood reigns supreme, with the freshest catches making their way to your table in every conceivable form. Local favorites like Halyards are Frederica House your best bet for a meal to remember, or head to The Market at Sea Island if you want to cook up a feast yourself.
If you aren’t into seafood, no problem! With almost 100 delicious restaurants on the island, you’ll find a world of culinary delights for the whole family, from the traditional comforts of Southern Soul BBQ and Sal’s Neighborhood Pizzeria to fine dining at Delaney’s. Check out the “Best Fried Chicken in the Golden Isles” at Porch on Ocean Boulevard or the “Best Bloody Marys” at Mallery Street’s Sandcastle Cafe. Take your taste buds on a journey of their own with authentic Mexican, Thai, Argentinian, Chinese, French, and Japanese eateries — and top it all off with a visit to the Smallcakes Cupcakery.
Shop ’til You Drop
You can shop till you drop in the Golden Isles. From shopping sprees at the likes of Pier Village and Golden Isles Olive Co., St. Simons Island is a mecca for retail therapy. Pick up antique treasures from the Low Country Walk and Southern Picker, home décor from Dutchman’s Casual Living, or explore countless clothing and jewelry boutiques.
Looking good on your Georgia coast getaway is easy, thanks to convenient beachwear shops and outfitters like Ocean Motion Surf Co., Barry’s Beach Services, and Island Dive Center, as well as plenty of gift shops to pick up treats for folks back home. Hopefully, you brought along an extra suitcase for all the coastal treasures you’ll gather, but don’t worry if you failed to come prepared… you can buy luggage here, too!
Unwind in St. Simon’s Fabulous Spas
What’s an island getaway without a little pampering? Relax — we’ve got you covered from head to toe! Get the royal treatment at The King and Prince Resort in the south of the island, embark on the ultimate escape at Island Day Spa, or stumble upon peaceful tranquility at Serendipity Spa-lon. If you thought that St. Simons Island was your happy place before, just wait until you discover the next-level serenity you’ll tap into after a full spa treatment!
Romantic getaways are always a fine time for a couples massage, and no ‘girls trip’ excursion is complete without a little fresh-faced beauty to greet the beach or hit the town. Regardless of your vacation motivation, it only gets better with a little spa time, so pull on a fluffy robe and explore the most relaxing spots on the barrier islands.
Catch Some Rays on the Beaches
When you visit St. Simons Island you’re bound to have the beach in your sights. We have three miles of beautiful beaches on the island, stretching from St. Simons Island Pier to East Beach, Driftwood Beach, and the Coast Guard Station.
Watersports like windsurfing, kite-surfing, paddleboarding, and kayaking are popular beach pastimes for adventure seekers, while beach-combing, biking, and sunbathing occupy the landlubbers on the shorelines! The Atlantic horizon is speckled with passing boats and dolphins, greeting migratory shorebirds and sea turtles making their way to the St. Simons Island beaches. Learn more about beach regulations, facilities, and safety in our beach guide!
If birding is your thing, head to Gould’s Inlet along East Beach to catch sight of painted buntings, black skimmers, and more.
Hit the Links
St. Simons Island and the surrounding areas of Brunswick and Jekyll Island are home to a variety of scenic and challenging golf courses. Course settings range from maritime forests and salt marshes to oceanside dunes, with expansive greens in between. There are more than 200 scenic holes to be played on some of the region’s most illustrious public and private courses, making golf one of the area’s most popular outdoor activities.
From the seaside breezes of Sea Island Golf Club to the forested links of the Jekyll Island Golf Club, you’re sure to find the view to suit your mood. Explore the tradition of the Brunswick Country Club or marvel at one of Golf Digest’s “Top 100 New Courses” — Sapelo Hammock Golf Club. And you don’t have to be a seasoned pro to appreciate our courses. Lessons are available at many locations, so feel free to take a swing at something new!
Let St. Simons Serve Up Some Tennis
Tennis is one of the area’s most popular sports. From beginner to competitive pro, there’s a court with your name on it. Sea Palms features professional events and collegiate championships, while public play is available on hard courts near Pier Village at Mallery Park. Visitors can also enjoy ball fields, a playground, concessions, and picnic facilities here. Jekyll Island’s award-winning Tennis Center is a public facility offering 13 Har-tru clay courts, a pro shop, and lessons.
Speaking of lessons, the St. Simons Island Tennis Academy provides instruction for beginners, intermediates, and advanced players from USTA and USPTA-certified teaching professionals with more than 45 years of combined experience. We’re happy to serve up this guide exploring the region’s tennis facilities, so you can start working toward finding your inner ace!
Take a Ride to Remember
One of the best ways to see St. Simons and the Golden Isles is by bicycle. There are more than 30 miles of island pathways to explore on St. Simons alone, and you can also discover many stunning beaches and catch a glimpse of coastal wildlife. A self-led bicycle tour is also one of the best ways to take advantage of the tree spirits scavenger hunt — one of the top family-friendly activities that takes you on a mystical journey through oak trees draped in Spanish moss.
Nearby, Jekyll Island features about 25 miles of paved trails allowing visitors to explore the scenery, beaches, forests, and Jekyll’s Historic Landmark District. Free bike path maps are available at the Jekyll Island Welcome Center. There’s no need to bring your own bicycle when visiting St. Simons — there are a host of bike rental companies equipped to get you geared up and on the road during your stay.
Explore by Boat or Try Your Hand at Fishing
The Atlantic Ocean is calling, and we’ve got the recommendations to get you out on the water in style for family-friendly tours and excursions around the barrier islands. Explore the Golden Isles as you drive your own personal Catamaran with your knowledgeable guide from Coastal Backwater Adventures. Or, maybe you’d prefer to watch for dolphins while you leave the driving to Cap Fendig on his large passenger tour boats.
Fishing fans can lure in trout, redfish, flounder, sharks, tripletail, and more on any number of fishing charters serving Saint Simons Island, Jekyll Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island, and Cumberland Island. If a charter isn’t quite your speed, plenty of anglers swear by the pier as well. Located in Pier Village at the end of Mallery Street, the St. Simons Island Pier overlooks St. Simons Sound.
Soar Through the Skies on a Biplane Ride
If you think you’ve seen it all on St. Simons Island, why not get the lay of the land from a whole new perspective — above? Soar above the Golden Isles from the beaches to the villages on a private biplane tour, taking in panoramic views that make for inspiring photo ops. Find out more about reaching new heights in Jekyll Island, St. Simons Island, Little Cumberland Island, Sea Island, Little St Simon’s Island, and Sapelo Island in our handy guide!
Make a Splash at St. Simons Parks & Water Parks
Island residents and visitors alike love to cool off and soak up natural recreation at our community parks and water parks. The whole family will find plenty of fun things to do at Demere Park — home to the first Glynn County skate park, a multi-purpose ball field, playground, community building, and butterfly garden. Be sure to also check out the 153-acre North Glynn Recreation Complex with ballfields, a dog park, a lakeside walking trail, a kayak launch, and a fishing pier.
If you’re looking to make a splash during your stay, check out Summer Waves Water Park in Jekyll Island, or the St. Simons favorite — Neptune Park. No matter how you wish to play, our parks are the key to outdoor recreation and activity of a natural variety!
Discover Historic Sites
Since British soldier James Oglethorpe founded the Province of Georgia, the region has been making history. In fact, Coastal Georgia is where several major events took place that shaped the United States, and the island’s history is what convinces multiple tourists to buy a house in the area.
Learn about World War II at the Home Front Museum or the turning point in the Spanish conquest of Georgia at the Bloody Marsh Battle Site. Discover how the Fort Frederica National Monument served as a border against approaching Spanish invaders from Florida or marvel at the architecture of Christ Church, which was rebuilt after being partially destroyed by Union troops during the Civil War.
If American maritime history is your thing, you’re sure to appreciate the St. Simons Lighthouse Museum. The St. Simons Lighthouse is the oldest brick structure in the area, offering spectacular views as the reward for your 129-step climb.
For natural history, head to Cannon’s Point Preserve. Here you’ll discover middens on-site that date back to 2,500 BCE and plantation ruins from the 19th century.
Head Out on a Guided Tour
There’s no wrong way to see the island, but there are guided tours that make the journey even better! Dolphin tours allow you to set sail on the open waters in search of coastal Georgia’s most playful residents. This is an experience everyone can appreciate in a natural setting that encourages unpredictable encounters and lifelong memories. Learn about the spooky history of St. Simons on a ghost walk by lantern light.
Multiple trolley tours provide group trips to prominent historic sites and various points of interest while knowledgeable local guides share insight and Southern hospitality. If you have trouble deciding between a trolley or a boat, might we suggest land and sea tours offered by Lighthouse Trolleys? Choose your sights… or sites… and then check our guide to find the people to take you there!
Travel in Style with Golf Cart Rentals
Around here, golf carts aren’t just meant for the course. Cruise the island in a fuel-efficient style with the help of several local first-rate golf cart rental agencies. When you rent from Island Carts, you even have the added advantage of local insight in the form of a free, self-led scavenger hunt of sorts.
ISPY SSI provides a booklet of venues to check out around the island, and rewards along the way, or this website has an interactive map you can use to guide your tour. Be sure to cruise by the spectacular live oaks for a selfie to remember your trip.
Get Your Groove on to Weekly Live Music
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On the Golden Isles, culture runs even deeper than our cuisine, history, and recreation. On any given day, you can find a venue that’s just your style to boogie the night away, belt out a tune, or simply tap your toes in time to a live performance from regional and national artists. Local pubs, restaurants, coffeehouses, and more regularly host karaoke and open mic nights, for the bolder guests who want to take part in the show.
Every summer, enjoy open-air concerts like Rhythm on the River in downtown Brunswick, Jazz in the Park at Neptune Park, and A Little Light Music on the oceanfront lawns of the St. Simons Island Lighthouse. Did we mention that we also have piano bars? Our live music guide will point you in the direction of the perfect vacation soundtrack!
Enjoy Annual Local Events
If you think that beach destinations are just for summer vacations, you don’t know St. Simons Island! We’re a worthy locale year-round, and original local events only add to our unique flavor and appeal.
Salute maritime history at May’s Blessing of the Fleet and October’s CoastFest, or feed your inner southerner at the Jekyll Island Shrimp & Grits Festival in September. From Brunswick Rockin’ Stewbilee in January to annual island holiday celebrations, SSI traditions are sure to become your family’s traditions as well, making our island destination and community a welcome respite year after year.
Kids Activities Keep the Whole Family Entertained
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The Golden Isles communities offer a variety of educational and recreational activities for kids of all ages. During the summer season, numerous day camps and overnight camps offer unique opportunities for children to participate in specialized activities including sports, performing and visual arts, nature exploration, and more!
Learn more about the Glynn County Parks & Recreation summer camps programs, and find new skills and fun to pursue at some of the area’s top parks and venues.
There’s So Much to Do on St. Simons Island
There’s so much to do in St. Simons that our travel guide barely scratches the surface. To discover all the must-see events and activities, book your vacation to Georgia’s Golden Isles today.
Tip: Be sure to visit Golden Isles Welcome Center once you arrive to get even more hot travel tips.