St. Simon’s Island is the most populous of Georgia’s Golden Isles, 90 miles of coastline and barrier islands. This seaside town is ideal for families, but you can find amusements for all ages.
Natives settled in the area in 2000 BCE, but it wasn’t long before the British left their mark on the new colony of Georgia. The island is now home to over 13,000 full-time residents, with that number inflating during tourist season.
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What to Do
St. Simon’s Island Lighthouse– This historic lighthouse is one of five in the state with its restored Fresnel lens. It still operates in guiding ships and visitors can climb over 100 steps to the top. There’s also a museum on the island’s history. 610 Beachview Drive
Christ Church Frederica– Built on the grounds of a congregation formed by John Wesley, the current church was built in 1884. It’s now open for tours and the cemetery features the graves of well-known Georgians. 6329 Frederica Road
World War II Home Front Museum– Learn about the Golden Isles’ role in protecting America from attacks during World War II at this museum in the former Coast Guard station. 4201 1st Street
Fort Frederica National Monument– Built starting in 1736, the fort was the original site of the settlement by James Oglethorpe. Over 600 British troops were stationed here to protect against Spanish Florida. Today it has trails and information panels. 6515 Frederica Road
Tours- For a more unusual way to see St. Simon’s by water, book a spot on the Lady Jane Shrimpin tours, which leave from Brunswick. You will sail with a marine biologist who will tell you all about the creatures found along the coast while helping you to understand Georgia’s seafood industry. There are also trolley tours, which point out the few sights in town, as well as offering a ghost tour.
Where to Eat
Barrier Island Brewing– St. Simon’s first craft brewery also has a restaurant, serving salads, sandwiches, and shareable bites. Don’t miss the house-made brews, either. 1226 Ocean Boulevard, Suite #1,(912) 268-2774
Brogen’s– The burgers are the main attraction at this pierside dining spot. The Georgia Bulldogs are the team to root for, so don’t mention any other team here. Sit on the deck on a nice day. 200 Pier Alley, (912) 638-1660
Bubba Garcia’s– Also located in Redfern Village is this Mexican restaurant with everything you’re looking for: margaritas, queso dip, burritos, and tacos. 200 Redfern Village, (912) 634-0073
Crabdaddy’s Seafood Grill– Chow down on sweet Georgia shrimp at this seafood restaurant that has been an island staple since opening in 1988. 1217 Ocean Boulevard, (912) 634-1120
Frosty’s Griddle and Shake– Opened in a former Dairy Queen by the Southern Soul team, this throwback eatery has childhood favorites like burgers and milkshakes with vintage sodas. 501 Mallery Street, (912) 434-9509
Gnat’s Landing– The menu of this restaurant playfully reminds us of the annoying gnats that plague the coastal region, but offers tasty bar food but with an island twist. They host live music and are a great spot to watch a football game. 310 Redfern Village, (912) 638-PEST
Sammies– Grab a quick sandwich before heading to the beach from this cute cafe. They have meat and cheese on fresh bread with soft drinks and chips. 256 Redfern Village, (912) 268-4920
Sandcastle Cafe– Husband and wife team Tim and Melissa Welford opened in 1989 and haven’t changed much since then, so you may have to fight to get a table. 117 Mallery Street, (912) 638-8883
Sandy Bottom Bagels– Enjoy New York-style bagels at this restaurant. They use kosher and local ingredients, including serving Wake Up coffee. 242 Retreat Village, (912) 434-9310
Southern Soul Barbeque– When you mention this place to practically anyone on the island, they sigh and say, “I love that place!” In fact, they love the slow-cooked barbecue so much that when the restaurant burned down a few years ago, the community chipped in to rebuild. 2020 Demere Road, (912) 638-SOUL
Sweet Mama’s– This brunch spot is one of the first places I visited over five years ago and has moved locations a few times since then. They offer homemade baked goods like biscuits, cookies, and the surprisingly good pork pops. 1627 Frederica Road, (912) 634-6022
The Crab Trap– This island favorite opened in 1975 and is one of my usual stops during trips to St. Simon’s for their fried shrimp and battered fries. But it’s not all about the crab, so oyster fans will enjoy shucking their steamed bivalves. 1209 Ocean Boulevard, (912) 638-3552
Tramici Restaurant– Not only is this Italian spot ideal for date night as it’s right next to the movie theater, they have a great selection for lunch as well. The Italian hoagie is piled high with sliced meats and the lasagna is enough for lunch and dinner. 75 Cinema Lane, (912) 634-2202
Wake Up Coffee Company– The local roaster has two cafes in town to fuel you up for the day. They serve cold brew and other coffee drinks along with light bites. 50 Aviator Plaza, Suite 106
Where to Stay
Epworth by the Sea– Located at the Methodist conference center, guests can stay at one of the multiple accommodation options, including condos, motel rooms, and cabins. 100 Arthur J Moore Drive
Hotel Simone– The stunning adults-only hotel is the first to be built on the island in decades. Guests enjoy free WiFi, breakfast, and parking. 1200 Ocean Boulevard
Inn at Sea Island– While it’s a part of the Sea Island complex, this property is actually on St. Simon’s. Rooms contain modern coastal furnishings with access to daily breakfast, an outdoor pool, rental bikes, and shuttle service to Sea Island. 100 Salt Marsh Drive
The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort– Between the oceanfront rooms and delicious food, it’s hard to ever leave. The resort has its own pool, multiple dining options, cottages, and parking. Read our review here. 201 Arnold Road
Village Inn & Pub– This 1930s building is surrounded by the iconic live oak trees in the village. There are cottages and individual rooms that include daily continental breakfast. Rooms have flat-screen televisions and WiFi. 500 Mallery Street
Rentals- Choose from one of many rental properties on the island, whether you’re looking for a condo or a full house. Airbnb has many options like The Fig House, a midcentury home with a pool, or Captain’s Loft, a maritime home on the marsh.