St. Simons Island is perfect for your next family vacation! It’s a top-rated small town on the coast where you’ll find some of the best Georgia beaches!
St. Simons Island beaches offer something the whole family can enjoy with the natural coastal beauty, cute boutique shops, and immersive history.
In this article, I’ll talk more about the can’t-miss parts of St. Simons Island. This includes four popular beaches, historical attractions, shopping areas, and some of the best places to stay at this perfect vacation spot.
- About St Simons Island
- St. Simon Island Beaches: The Natural Coastal Beauty
- Rules of the Beaches
- Other Things To Do on St. Simons Island
- History at St. Simons Island Beaches
- Shopping at St. Simons Island Beaches
- Restaurants on St. Simons Island
- Places To Stay on St. Simons Island
About St Simons Island
St. Simons Island is located off the Georgia coast near Brunswick. It is the largest of the barrier islands known as the Golden Isles. These isles are made up of St. Simons, Little St. Simons Island, Sea Island, and Jekyll Island.
St. Simons is known for stretches of marshy land and offers some of the most breathtaking and peaceful beaches on the east coast.
You can enjoy grilling, fishing, biking, and more on these Georgia sands. Some of the most popular spots are East Beach, Gould’s Inlet, Massengale Park, and Coast Guard Station Beach.
Let’s explore a little more about these four spots!
St. Simon Island Beaches: The Natural Coastal Beauty
1. Gould’s Inlet
Gould’s Inlet is known as the best place to bird-watch on the whole island. You can find resident species here every day of the year. Some of the most well-known are:
- brown pelicans (as seen above)
- black skimmers
- royal terns
- laughing gulls
- American oystercatchers
- herring gulls
Gould’s Inlet is between St. Simons East Beach and the south tip of Sea Island, just at the end of Bruce Drive.
In addition to bird watchers, you’ll also find fishermen hanging out on the pier and paddleboarders and kayakers enjoying the waters. Parking is free but limited.
Location: Fifteenth Street, St. Simons Island, GA 31522
2. East Beach
This is one of the most popular spots on Georgia’s beaches. Depending on the month, you might even be able to see some baby turtles hatching on the beach!
Loggerhead turtles have been laying their eggs in the Golden Isles for centuries. Turtle season is between late May and early August.
East Beach is also perfect for a variety of activities like biking, shelling, and making sandcastles.
Because of the tides, the sand is compacted tight, making it great for biking and running. This public beach is also dog-friendly, making it an ideal spot for a run with your furry companion.
Location: 4202 1st St, St. Simons Island, GA 31522
3. Massengale Park
Massengale Park offers a great picnic spot with perfectly-shaded picnic tables, four grills, a children’s playground, and public restrooms. Massengale Park is located along Ocean Blvd on St. Simons Island.
Make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and a sturdy beach umbrella like this one that’s wind-resistant up to 34 miles per hour.
It serves as a beach access point to East Beach. Free parking is available.
Location: 1350 Ocean Blvd., St. Simons Island, GA 31522
4. Coast Guard Station Beach
The name â€œCoast Guard Stationâ€ comes from the historic coast guard station which stands at the entrance. Also, this beach is commonly referred to as “First Street Beach Access.”
There is plenty of parking and a boathouse that offers:
- public restrooms
- picnic tables
- bike racks
- water hoses
- a concession stand that offers treats during the summer
Location: First Street, St. Simons Island, GA 31522
This list contains just a few of our favorite spots. But you can find plenty of other public beach access points along St. Simons Island.
For a full list and map of places to access the shore, click here.
Rules of the Beaches
Before going to the beaches, it is important to be aware of the rules in place by Glynn County. This ensures everyone can have a fun day relaxing.
Pets and Dog-Friendly St. Simons Island Beaches
Most St. Simons Island beaches are pet and dog friendly. However, pets and dogs must be under the immediate control of their owners. Also, owners must clean up after their pets as well.
The one exception is Memorial Day through Labor Day. During these months, pets are not allowed on the beaches from East Beach South to Pier from 9 AM to 6 PM.
It is important to note that you will probably encounter some wildlife during your visit. To ensure the safety of you and the wildlife, it is best to know how to handle these situations.
Possible encounters include jellyfish, sea turtles, and a wide variety of birds. Check out the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to learn more about interacting with local wildlife.
Vehicles, bonfires, and glass containers are strictly prohibited on the beach.
Other Things To Do on St. Simons Island
If you get tired of salty air and sand between your toes, you can take in the rest of this picturesque town on land.
St. Simons Island offers some pretty great attractions such as golfing, shopping and museums, and landmarks with a rich history. Take a look at the list below:
History at St. Simons Island Beaches
St. Simons has a rich history and here are some of the most popular places to learn more about during your trip!
St. Simons Lighthouse Museum
This fully-functional lighthouse is one of the only five surviving lighthouses in the entire state of Georgia. Its light shines over 23 miles to aid incoming traffic to St. Simons Island.
Visitors of the museum are welcome to climb the 129 steps to the top. A 360 view of the gorgeous Golden Isles awaits once you reach the top.
The museum includes exhibits featuring the history of the Lighthouses as well as the Golden Isles. There is also a museum gift shop to take home memorabilia from your adventures.
The St. Simons Island Lighthouse Museum is family and group friendly, with fun for all ages. The facility offers self-guided tours and free parking.
Cannon’s Point Preserve
If you want to take in all the natural beauty that St. Simons Island has to offer, look no further. Cannon’s Point Preserve provides 600 acres of green space that is open for exploration.
You can find Cannon’s Point on the north end of St. Simons Island, just east of Little St. Simons Island. Cannon’s Point Preserve is home to native wildlife species and a mature forest. Pictures don’t do justice to this nature-filled wonderland.
Fun Fact: Cannon’s Point Preserve is linked to the lower Altamaha River delta, which is one of the most biologically-rich systems considered by The Nature Conservancy.
Parking and limited restrooms are available on-site. It is recommended you bring bug repellant, snacks, and water. Cannon’s Point Preserve asks that you leave only your footprints in order to let nature flourish for years to come.
World War II Home Front Museum
The history buff in the family will enjoy viewing the artifacts, and galleries and participating in the interactive lessons at the World War II Home Front Museum. The Museum is housed in the Historic St. Simons Coast Guard Station.
The World War II Home Front Museum is part of the Georgia World War II Heritage Trail. The Trail consists of ten sites across the state, which aim to tell the story of the critical involvement of the south during wartime.
Fort Frederica National Monument
Fort Frederica National Monument is located on the north side of the island. The battle that happened at this location decided the fate of the future of the entire state of Georgia. In 1742, the troops defeated the Spanish, which confirmed Georgia as a British colony.
The remnants of this battle are protected and available to the public for Park Ranger guided tours, self-guided tours, and groups.
Amenities in the area include a kayak launch, nature trails, picnic tables, and fishing at the dock.
Shopping at St. Simons Island Beaches
Pier Village District
Pier Village District is located on the south side of the island. This area serves as the downtown hub for St. Simons Island. Here, you can find shops, restaurants, and bakeries.
You’ll commonly find people strolling through this area while enjoying an ice cream cone from Moo Cow Ice Cream or Fuse Fresh Frozen Yogurt.
Some of the most popular boutiques are:
- Savannah Bee Company
- Meo’s Suite
- Golden Isles Bracelet Co.
Restaurants on St. Simons Island
St. Simons has plenty of dining options, including some amazing Southern food! Exploring one of the most exciting and charming islands in the south is sure to work up an appetite.
When your stomach starts to rumble, we’ve got you covered with this list of the top 5 best restaurants on St. Simons Island.
If you are searching for southern comfort, look no further. Barbara Jeans has mastered this with its plentiful helpings and quaint atmosphere. The most popular things to order here are the crab cakes (which can be shipped all over the nation) and the dessert called the “Chocolate Stuff” with homemade whipped cream.
Barbara Jeans is located in Pier Village, only adding to its small-town charm. Check out their menu here!
Location: 214 Mallery Street, St. Simons Island, GA 31522
Iguanas is known for their abundance of shrimp and other seafood dishes. Take advantage of being close to the waters and enjoy the local grub.
Coconut Shrimp, Shrimp Po-boys, and Surf-n-Turf are just a few of the shrimp-centered options you can find on the menu. As if this place wasn’t great enough, they also offer free ice cream after each meal! You can also find this restaurant in Pier Village.
See the full menu here.
Location: 303 Mallery Street, St. Simons Island, GA 31522
Del Sur Artisan Eats
At Del Sur Artisan Eats, they bring the love and care of food made by your abuela to the table. Their motto is about making honest food.
They are best known for Argentinian and Italian flavors and dishes. They frequently use herbs and vegetables from their own garden to prepare homemade-style meals.
Be sure to try one of their empanadas from their menu!
Location: 321 Mallery Street, Saint Simons Island, GA 31522
You might think southerners don’t know how to do Italian food, but you’d be wrong. Tramici is a bustling spot filled with locals and visitors alike.
A few of the best items on the menu are the Braised Short Rib Goat Cheese Ravioli and the Chicken Piccata. If you are staying for dessert, be sure to order the Tiramisu. Explore the full menu here.
Location: 75 Cinema Lane, St. Simons Island, GA 31522
Places To Stay on St. Simons Island
One of the most important elements of planning a trip is where you’ll be laying your end at the end of a fun-filled day.
I’ve collected some of the top-rated places to stay on St. Simons Island.
King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort
King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort is a go-to destination. Originally opened as a social dance club in the 1930s, this location has been a staple on St. Simons Island for decades.
You can choose to stay in a room, suite, beach villa, or resort residence for groups. Don’t forget to play a few holes on one of the best golf courses on the island!
If you want more golf options in the area, you can take a short drive to Tybee Island and check out these other golf courses!
- Three Outdoor Swimming Pools
- Oceanfront Dining
- The King & Prince Golf Course
- Fitness Center
- Tennis Courts
Hotel Website: The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort
Ocean Lodge Resort
The Ocean Lodge Resort offers stunning views of the nearby beaches and city. This getaway is located in the heart of St. Simons Island.
These romantic villas will make you think you have been swept to Spain or the Mediterranean!
- Rooftop Bar and Lounge
- Each room features a fully equipped kitchen, breakfast bar, living room area, and private terrace
- Central Location to all the excitement
Hotel Website: Ocean Lodge Resort
This adult-only hotel provides a luxury feel you won’t forget. This premier boutique stay offers just 24 suites, so make sure you plan accordingly.
- Fitness center
- Complimentary Beach Bicycles
- Access to the amenities at The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort
Hotel Website: Hotel SimoneÂ
St. Simons Island is one of the most charming small-town cities in the nation. It has plenty to offer for the whole family.
If you are looking for historic sites with rich history, nature preserves, or some of the most beautiful beaches the Atlantic ocean touches, you can find them on St. Simons Island.
Some of my favorite beaches are East Beach, Gould’s Inlet, and Massengale Park. Each of these seaside areas provides the perfect spot for recreational activities such as grilling, birding, biking, fishing, or shelling.
Looking for other beaches in Georgia and South Carolina? Take a peek at our list here!