10 Beautiful Georgia Beaches You Should Visit (2023)

Best beaches in Georgia Graphic

When planning your next beach vacation, don’t miss out by overlooking Georgia! True, the beaches to the south in Florida (and north in South Carolina) may be more well known. But the Peach State has 110 miles of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean with some amazing beachfront areas. Having lived in the state of 20+ years, here are my favorite Georgia beaches!

Georgia Beaches in The Golden Isles and Brunswick Area

Travel 70 miles south of Savannah and you’re in Brunswick, Georgia. Known as “the Gateway to the Golden Isles” because you’ll be able to access four of Georgia’s largest and most beautiful barrier islands known for their golden beaches and sunny vacations. T

The Golden Isles include St. Simons, Jekyll Island, Little St. Simons Island, and Sea Island. The city of Brunswick itself is known for its tourism and Brunswick Port. This coastal city has a rich history and many buildings from the 1700 -1800s can be found and toured in the Brunswick Old Town Historic District.

Some other things to do in Brunswick include visiting the:

  • Historic Ritz Theatre
  • Mary Ross Waterfront Park and Brunswick Landing Marina
  • Golden Isles Arts and Humanities Association

Now that you’ve gotten an overview of the Golden Isles, let’s talk a little more about their beautiful marshland, pristine golden beaches, luxury resorts, and fun vacation activities! Here are the four most popular Georgia beaches in the Golden Isles.

1. St. Simons Island, GA

St. Simons Island is perhaps Georgia’s most family-friendly beach town and is one of my favorite places to vacation! This largest Golden Isle is situated midway between Jacksonville, FL and Savannah, GA,

About. In addition to the miles of beaches and the coastal beauty, St. Simons has a charming downtown on the south side of the island. Known as the Pier Village District, St. Simons’ downtown hub is known for its ice cream shops and amazing restaurants.

Beaches at St. Simons. The four main beaches to enjoy at St. Simons are located at:

  1. Massengale Park
  2. East Beach
  3. Gould’s Inlet
  4. Coast Guard Station Beach

Check out this related post if you want to learn more about St. Simons and each of these four beach location.

Details on St. Simons Island Beaches Graph

2. Jekyll Island, GA

Jekyll Island has ten miles of beautiful beaches and is 5,500-acres. As one of the smaller Golden Isles, Jekyll Island is the perfect Georgia beach for a return to nature through quiet, coastal getaway.

About. Jekyll Island was named after one of Governor William Oglethorpe’s friends, Joseph Jekyll, in the early 1700s. Eventually, the island became known as a resort island for the world’s wealthiest families like the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, Goulds, Goodyears, and Morgans. You can visit  Jekyll Island National Historic Landmark District to learn more.

Beaches. Jekyll has some breathtaking beaches. One of the most popular beaches on Jekyll is Driftwood Beach. Named after the driftwood that washes on the shores, this is an excellent location for photographs of local wildlife and broad stretches of the Atlantic coast.

For other outdoor fun in the sun, check out:

  • tennis, biking, and golf
  • the Georgia Sea Turtle Center
  • Summer Waves Water Park
  • kayaking and boating

If you’re interested in camping, there’s also an 18-acre campground on Jekyll Island!

3. Little St. Simons Island, GA

Birds flying at jekyll island

Little St. Simons Island is a privately owned beach resort that is only accessible by boat from the north end St. Simons Island.

Private Resort. As the smallest of the Golden Isles, you’ll find The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island that has some charming cottages. As such, Little St. Simons is a great location for special events and large gatherings.

Also, because of its seclusion, it’s a great place for nature lovers. The wildlife is abundant due to the recent conservation efforts to have an uninhabited nature preserve on the island.

Some other ways to spend the day include:

  • Guided nature walk tours
  • Fishing or birding
  • Bicycling

4. Sea Island, GA

woman getting a head massage at spa

Like Little St. Simons, Sea Island is a privately owned beach resort. Here, you’ll find a luxury, five-star resort town with two main places to stay: Cloister on Sea Island and The Lodge at Sea Island.

Beaches. With five-miles of private beaches and 50 acres of marshes, rivers and seaside views, Sea Island allows you and the family to enjoy the beauty of the Georgia coast and have all the extravagant amenities provided by the resort

A stay at this resort will give you access to amenities like:

  • A championship golf course
  • Five-star eats
  • Sailing, kayaking, and fishing
  • Boutique shopping

Georgia Beaches Around the Savannah Area

Savannah is one of Georgia’s largest cities and also the most historic! There are so many fun places to explore and activities to experience here. Below are just a few of the many things to check out in Savannah when you’re not visiting Tybee Island!

5. Tybee Island, GA

Tybee Island is about a 20-minute drive from Savannah’s historic downtown and is known as “Savannah’s Beach.” Tybee is the main public beach in the greater Savannah area and is famous for the iconic Tybee Island lighthouse and the Tybee Pier & Pavilion!

Take a break from soaking up the sun by visiting the historic lighthouse before visiting the pier for fishing, relaxing, or just people watching.

Some of the top hotels are Hotel Tybee, Georgianne Inn, Beachview Inn & Spa, and the DeSoto Beach Hotel.

Beaches at Georgia State Parks and Nature Centers

In addition to the bustling beach towns and resorts listed above, Georgia also has some beautiful beaches at our state parks and nature centers. Here are five of the best ones to check out!

6. Little Tybee Island

Little Tybee Island is directly south of Tybee Island and is actually twice its size! This uninhabited nature preserve is the perfect spot for anyone wanting a quiet retreat. Remember that this spot is only accessible by boat.

To get there, visitors can hire a charter boat like Tybee Island Charters or go kayaking. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, maybe go camping under the stars and then explore the island’s lush forests, untouched beaches, and sparkling blue waters.

7. Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge

Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge is on barrier island just south of Little Tybee Island, separated by the ocean bay known as Wassaw Sound. Wassaw Island is a hidden gem in Georgia for outdoor recreational activities, wildlife viewing, and general education. (Map of the refuge here.)

  1. Beachcombing: With about 10 miles of undeveloped beach, explore the beaches for driftwood, shells, and other treasures.
  2. Hiking: Choose from several trails that wind through a variety of ecosystems like the salt marshes, beaches, and maritime forests.
  3. Wildlife viewing: Observe alligators, white-tailed deer, loggerhead sea turtles, and many species of birds. Bird watching is especially good during Spring and Fall migrations.
  4. Fishing at select locations (fishing license required. Contact park for details)

8. Ossabaw Island State Heritage Preserve (*application to visit required)

Travel south from Wasaw Island, across the Little Ogechee River estuary, and you’ll arrive at Ossabaw Island. At 26,000 acres, Ossabaw is Georgia’s third largest barrier island.

Since it is a designated heritage preserved manged by the Department of Natural Resources, you’ll need to get approval to visit the island. To visit, you’ll need to send a request application to the Ossabaw Island Foundation on their website and have a TOIF or DNR representative accompany you.

While at the island, you can explore and view:

  • the diverse ecosystem: freshwater & brackish wetlands, salt marshes, live oak forests, meadows, and beaches and dunes
  • the historic buildings from the 1800s
  • the wildlife: free range donkeys, Ossabaw wild pigs, and sea turtles

9. Sapelo Island

Sapelo Island is a barrier also managed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Accessible only by ferry ride, there is a lot to learn about here, given the island’s rich history. There are still roughly 70 full-time residents on Sapelo, who are members of the Gullah Geechee community.

Some sites to see include:

  • R.J. Reynolds Mansion – provides overnight accommodations and provides a public beach campground
  • Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary

10. Cumberland Island

Only accessible via boat, Cumberland Island is also the largest barrier island off Georgia’s coastline with 9,800 acres of wilderness.

At Cumberland, you’ll find miles of salt marshes, unspoiled coastline, and sand dunes. You can learn about the island’s history by visiting sites like the Dungeness ruins pictured above. Plus, you can observe the wild horses that roam on the island!

Table of Georgia Beaches

HighlightsGroupingVisitor’s Website Link
St. Simons Island
*Personal favorite
– Very family-friendly
– Four great beaches to visit
– Cute little downtown
– Great selection of places to stay
Golden IslesSt. Simons
Jekyll Island– Driftwood Beach (beautiful and scenic)
– Jekyll Island National Historic Landmark District 
– Georgia Sea Turtle Center
– Summer Waves Water Park
Golden IslesJekyll Island
Little St. Simons Island– Private island resort
– The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island
Golden IslesLittle St. Simons Island
Sea Island– Private resort island
– Two luxurious hotel resorts
– 5 miles of private beaches
– Championship golf course and fine dining
Golden Isles
Sea Island
Tybee Island– Amazing beach areas
– 20 minutes from downtown Savannah
– Tybee Island Lighthouse & Fishing Pier
Savannah RegionTybee Island
Little Tybee Island– Uninhabited nature preserve
– Can be explored via boat from Tybee Island
Savannah RegionLittle Tybee Island
Wassaw Island– Wildlife refeuge
– Excellent beachcombing
– Great for bird watching, especially during Fall or Spring migrations
Savannah RegionWassaw National Wildlife Refuge
Ossabaw Island– Application required to visit
– Ossabaw Island’s historic buildings
– Wildlife include free range donkeys, hogs, and sea turtles
South-CentralOssabaw Island
Sapelo Island– Most of Sapelo Island managed by DNR, but also home to Gullah Geechee community
– R.J. Reynolds Mansion
South-CentralSapelo Island
Cumberland Island– Largest Georgia barrier island
– Ruins of a 1700s mansion
– Wild horses
South-CentralCumberland Island

Conclusion to Best Georgia Beaches

As you can see, Georgia has some incredible beaches for your next day trip or extended vacation! My favorites are the ever-popular and family-friendly St. Simons Island and Cumberland, with its rich history and wildlife. However, there’s something for everyone. Happy travels!

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