Curious about which things to do in St. Simons Island, GA? This travel guide explores Georgia's largest Golden Isles - Saint Simons Island- sharing what to do on your trip including the best beaches, which historical landmarks to explore, the lighthouse, and which attractions to see. You'll love the unspoiled beauty of this charming and historical beach town on the Georgia coast.
Top Things to Do in St. Simons Island
I'm so excited to share with you my top things to do in St. Simons Island!
St Simons Island is not your typical beach town. This small island which is part of Georgia's Golden Isles is only 18 square miles and is surprisingly underdeveloped. It's quiet and quaint yet still has a full and interesting history dating back centuries. It oozes southern charm with a delightful combination of palm trees and Spanish Moss draped Live Oaks that are reminiscent of nearby Savannah. Expect your tea to have sugar and your seafood to be cooked in butter.
The beaches, like most in this section of the country, are spectacular. This area of the Georgia Coast has a bit of magic and the perfect place to vacation.
St. Simons Island is also a nature lovers paradise. Since there is not as much development, the wide beaches are striking with only a few low-rise condos dotting the scenery. There are also saltwater marshes brimming with wildlife and spectacular views.
Even with its small size and lack of huge development, there is still a surprising number of ways to fill your day. It's one of those rare places that has a lot of natural charm and a feeling of being a bit off the beaten path BUT still has enough attractions and things to do to entertain just about anyone.
Before we dive into my guide, let's get some facts about this gorgeous Georgia island.
Where is St. Simons Island?
St. Simons Island is in between Savannah and Jacksonville in Georgia north of the Florida state line. It's part of the Sea Islands which are a chain of tidal and barrier islands along the Atlantic Coast from South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The chain also includes Kiawah Island, Hilton Head Island, and Amelia Island.
It's also part of Georgia's Golden Isles including Jekyll Island and Sea Island. The closest town along the coast is Brunswick, Georgia.
St. Simons Island is easy to get to because it's only 15 minutes off of I-95 making it a great destination for regional travelers. It's a little over an hour from both Savannah and Jacksonville. It's a 3-hour drive from Charleston and about 5 hours from Atlanta or Charlotte.
St. Simons Island Weather
St. Simons Island has a gorgeous semitropical climate with hot summers and a warm fall and spring. Winter is short and can often have days in the '60s and '70s. It's a great year-round destination.
Now that you know a little more about the island, here are some of my favorite things to do in St. Simons Island.
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The Best Things to Do in St. Simons Island
St. Simons Island Beach
The golden-hued beaches are one of the biggest draws to St. Simons Island and for good reason. They are spectacular.
The tide washes in and out hundreds of feet each day.
The beaches will get tidepools and have lots of space for kids and adults to explore.
St. Simons Island beaches are the perfect place to relax and play. They are definitely the TOP thing to do in St. Simons Island.
Public beaches are available at Massengale Park and the old Coast Guard Station.
If your family loves to fly kites as mine does, St. Simons Island is the perfect place to do it. The wide beaches give you plenty of space to get them up and moving.
There is often just enough breeze to get the kites moving and it's a great family activity for kids of all ages. If you are looking for some kid-friendly kites to take, try these!
Another great thing to do in St. Simons Island is cool off in the pools. Most condo complexes have them and it's a great way to spend a hot day. Summers can be quite warm, so this is where you'll find many folks from June to August. Bonus points if you can find an oceanfront one!
Explore the Marsh
St. Simons Island is lined with salt marshes full of animals including lots of birds. If you love the view of a marsh-like I do, this is the perfect place to explore. If you are looking for unexpected things to do on St. Simons Island... this is it!
Bike, Run or Walk
St. Simons Island is a great place to take your exercise outside. Since the beaches are more of hard-packed sand they are perfect for walking, biking, or even running. You can basically run the entire distance of the beach on the island.
The island is also full of lovely shaded trails and miles of bike paths covered by stately oaks and often with views of the marsh. It's a great place to explore without a car and just spend time just moving.
The island is also pretty small so you can easily get from one place to another on a bike. From where we were staying you all kinds of restaurants and shops were within walking distance.
St. Simons Lighthouse
There is a St. Simons Lighthouse! It's not only a cool historical landmark, but you can also climb to the top. It's at the southern end of the island and part of Pier Village and home to the A.W. Jones Heritage Center and Coastal Georgia Historical Society archives. The lighthouse museum and climbing to the top of the lighthouse is a must-stop too.
The lighthouse is iconic to the area and a gem of a place to visit. It's also a great way to explore more of the island's history.
Also at the Southern tip of the island is Pier Village including a fishing pier, the lighthouse, shopping, dining, and kids attractions. It's a super charming section of the island and one of the best things to do in Saint Simons Island.
The area features so many super charming things including the lighthouse and a pier you can walk along. There are also some unexpected things like this oak tree-lined amphitheater and picnic table area. For a small place, there is a LOT of fun packed into this small corner of the island.
This area also extends into the old "downtown" area with more urban-style shopping and restaurants. It's just a few blocks but so many cute and charming stores and restaurants are packed in here. It's a lovely place to spend part of a day. No trip to St. Simons Island is complete without a visit here.
The area is also packed with history, making it very interesting to explore.
Neptune Park Fun Zone
One of the biggest parts of Pier Village is Neptune Park Fun Zone which is a super fun water play area for kids of all ages. There is also a miniature golf course as part of the area. It's actually run by the city and is such a cool thing to do St. Simons Island.
There is also a charming playground area for kids. The water park and mini-golf have a small fee, but the playground is free.
It's open in the summer months and is the perfect place to spend a day. I found it to be such a cool attraction on the island that it deserved its own headline. There are also picnic tables for eating.
Eat Well at St. Simons Island Restaurants
One of my favorite things to do in St. Simons Island is to eat good food. For me to love a beach town it HAS to have good seafood. St. Simons checks all the boxes and you'll love the Southern twist on many of the dishes. Expect lots of locally caught shrimp, crab, and fish.
This small island packs a big culinary punch with dozens of delicious local restaurants. There are so many delicious St. Simons Island Restaurants that I decided to write a whole post just about the food, but I thought I'd share here a few of my favorite dishes from the island.
These are the Cajun Oysters from The Half Shell. They were one of the tastiest things I've eaten in a while.
Another favorite dish there is the Oven-Fried Red Snapper with Roasted Red Pepper and Jalapeno Cream Sauce from Crabdaddy's, which is a St. Simons institution.
Eating good seafood is definitely one of the best things to do in St. Simons Island! Check back next week for that post.
More St. Simons Restaurants: Top Places to Eat on St. Simons Island
More Fun Things to Do in St. Simons Island GA
There are so many things to do in St. Simons Island! Here are some others that top the list for visitors to the island.
- Trolley Tour: Since St. Simons Island is so full of history it's a great place to take a trolley tour. The trolley with Cap Fendig visits all the historic sights and is a great way to get a quick overview of the city. Book it here.
- Day Trip to Jekyll Island: Nearby Jekyll Island is known for being even more natural and peaceful than St. Simons. It also is home to a gorgeous driftwood beach. The island is also home to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. It's the perfect day trip from St. Simons.
- Christ Church: The charming and photogenic church is a landmark on St. Simons. It has a rich history, gorgeous stain glass windows, and the cemetery and grounds are open to explore
- Cannon Point Preserve: A large section of land in the Northeast section of the island that has been set aside as a nature preserve with trails, historical ruins, and an undisturbed maritime forest.
- Fort Frederica National Monument: The archeological remains of Fort Frederica which was once a thriving British town and fort that was founded in 1736 by General James Edward Oglethorpe. It's a beautiful place to explore and learn more about the island's history.
- Boating & Fishing: St. Simons Island is the perfect place to get out on the water to explore nearby islands or fish. You can even take a dolphin tour and see some incredible sights from the water.
- Golf: St. Simons Island is famous for its world-class golf with some spectacular courses that golf lovers can't miss. If you are a golfer, you have to take the time the time to explore at least one of their famous courses including the Prince Golf Course and Golf Resort.
St. Simons Island Island, Georgia
St. Simons Island is a really cool and unique location with so much natural beauty. It's special because it feels a bit off the beaten path, but is still easily accessible car. I love that the gorgeous beaches you'd expect at a popular beach town PLUS some of the history (including the civil war, the world war, and from when it was a British colony) like you'd see in nearby Savannah or Charleston. It's the perfect place to escape and enjoy a bit slower way of life!
If I left out any of your favorite Things to Do in St. Simons Island, be sure to leave a link or comment below.
More on St. Simons Island:
- Top 10 Favorite Moments from St. Simons Island
- Top Restaurant on St. Simons Island <--- Publishing next week.
More Beach Travel Guides:
- Hilton Head Island Travel Guide
- Amelia Island Travel Guide
- Sanibel Island Travel Guide
- Destin Travel Guide
- Things to Do & Eat Kiawah Island
- Top Things to Do & Eat Fenwick Island
- What to Do & Eat South Carolina's Hammock Coast
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