Secret Islands: 3 Hidden Treasures In The US You Should Know About

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view of one of 3 best SECRET ISLANDS in the US

I’m exposing 3 secret islands because frankly, they are bucket list-worthy! Were they mentioned in 8th grade Georgia History class and I just missed it? Either way, I’m sharing these vacation destinations to add to your travel bucket list, and… you are welcome!

“The perfect vacation is having secret islands to choose from and then having nothing to do and all day to do it in.”

–The How-to Guru


Some of the most uniquely, beautiful parts of the south are still a mystery to most of the world – especially those who are busy. I used to be that person —too caught up with work and my own little world to notice the beauty around me.

With over 100 miles of coastline that stretches along the coast of Georgia from St. Marys to Savannah, there are many types of islands…

River islands, sea islands, lake islands, barrier islands, wildlife refuges, heritage preserves, and private islands bought by individuals and rented out for secluded adventure destinations.

Over the last few years, we’ve discovered and I’ve shared the scoop with y’all about: Tybee Island, Jekyll Island, Cumberland Island, and St. Simons Island.

Today, I’m sharing “other” hidden treasure secret islands of Georgia that are open to the public and worth the extra effort it takes to reach these unspoiled natural escapes.


view of Blackbeard Island - one of 3 best Secret Islands of the US

I bet you’ve heard of “Blackbeard,” a famed and feared pirate of the 18th century. Did you know that a 5,618-acre island was named after him after it was known that he frequented the area? A legend still abounds that he buried treasure all over this Coastal Georgia island.

Today, it’s managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a national wildlife refuge. Visitors can explore the great outdoors from sunrise to sunset every day to go surfing, wildlife watching, wildlife photographing, fishing, seasonal deer hunting, or exploring the unique beach.

While there is no lodging, you can take a day trip and join up with an exciting educational program tour with a small group of others.

Take a day trip to Blackbeard Island


You can fly into the private airport of Sapelo if you are super fancy, but most folks just take a 30-minute ferry ride from McIntosh, Georgia. Step back in time when you exit the ferry onto this state-protected island.

This 16,500-acre island is quiet and serene where you can search for:

  • an 1810 mansion
  • tabby ruins
  • University of Georgia Research Center
  • Nannygoat Beach
  • Hogg Hammock – last Geechee settlement community in GA

You have the option to take a day trip or spend the night. Depending on whether you choose a public or private tour determines which of the many exciting places that you will see.

If you are fortunate, you may catch a glimpse of alligators, feral cattle, snakes (poisonous and non-poisonous), deer, and other wildlife. Be advised that there are also ticks and other bugs so be prepared with your bug spray.

Take a day trip to Sapelo Island

What to eat: There are no restaurants on Sapelo Island except the dining room if staying at the Reynolds Mansion. Bring your own food for a day trip picnic. If staying at an Airbnb or VRBO rental, there is one small store to shop for food items and other necessities.

Where to stay: Airbnb, VRBO, Reynolds Mansion

Sapelo Island


A couple of years ago, I remember watching an HGTV show about a New York couple that wanted to give their family a vacation to escape from the fast-paced realities of their world. I was shocked to hear about one of these secret islands known as Little St. Simons Island, and I couldn’t believe it was in Georgia!

Imagine this unique vacation that’s only a short boat ride to take you to 11,000 acres of a coastal living escape. Where you can walk along seven miles of deserted beaches on a privately owned island. You probably won’t see another human because the island is shared with only 32 other guests.

There are no stores, restaurants or structures except an exclusive lodge and cabins for guests. There is staff there to cook all your meals and naturalists to share knowledge and adventures about the ecosystem you’ll be immersed in.

Can you imagine a family vacation with plentiful wildlife all around, outdoor adventure on moss-draped trails, fishing for the evening meal, and naturalist-led excursions?


Which secret island of Coastal Georgia is best?

Honestly, it depends on which type of adventure you would prefer. If you have very young children, I would suggest Sapelo Island. If you want the most remote vacation possible for your family, choose Little St. Simons Island. Want to only spend a few hours exploring a deserted island and be done? Choose Blackbeard Island!

What months are best to explore these secret getaways?

The summer months of Georgia are very humid. Since most of these secret island activities are outdoors, I personally would opt for any month EXCEPT July, August, or September. May and June may be very warm but aren’t quite as bad as the following three months.

view of one of the best 3 secret islands in the US

Which of these cool secret islands do you want to visit first? Leave me a comment and let me know which one you vote for!


Published on HuffPost, Okefenokee Living Magazine, and more, Shan is a Family Travel Journalist with a passion for helping women lose the overwhelm of planning family-friendly trips in the south. She shares travel reviews & insider secrets that Women REALLY want to know about Georgia, Florida, & the Carolinas vacations.

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️



  1. Rebecca Strength and Sunshine
    July 22, 2019 / 4:28 pm

    What a fun destination to take the family!

    • Shan
      July 22, 2019 / 6:44 pm

      Yes! Such super cool places!


  2. Patricia - Grab a Plate
    July 22, 2019 / 11:37 pm

    How wonderful! My hubs and I were just talking about one of these spots. We have a friend who goes to Little St. Simons Island and loves it! Thanks for sharing these details!

    • Shan
      July 23, 2019 / 6:17 am

      That is awesome, Patricia. It’s my pleasure to share!


  3. Christa
    July 23, 2019 / 12:31 am

    I live in the desert so often find myself daydreaming about island life. These all look so gorgeous and worth a visit!

    • Shan
      July 23, 2019 / 6:18 am

      I never thought of that, Christa! I bet you do. Maybe you can visit one of these soon. 🙂


  4. Nadalie Bardo
    July 23, 2019 / 10:07 am

    Oh wow, who knew! There are so many hidden gems everywhere to explore. Adding this to my US Travel bucket list.

    • Shan
      July 23, 2019 / 11:35 pm

      You are right. Just when I think there aren’t any left, more beautiful places appear on the radar. 😉


  5. Shan
    July 23, 2019 / 11:35 pm

    Haha! I’m sure you can persuade him, Amanda! 😉


  6. Tiffany Montgomery
    July 24, 2019 / 3:00 pm

    I never think about islands in the US. And those look amazing. bookmarking this for later!

    • Shan
      July 25, 2019 / 7:27 am

      It’s a new thing for me too, Tiffany. Enjoy!!


  7. Kasia
    July 24, 2019 / 4:44 pm

    Oh wow, I’ve never heard of any of these. I haven’t visited this part of the U.S. but I would love to go one day.

    • Shan
      July 25, 2019 / 7:28 am

      They were new to me too. Hope you can visit soon, Kasia.


  8. Paula I'm Busy Being Awesome
    July 24, 2019 / 8:41 pm

    They look so beautiful! I’d love to visit!

    • Shan
      July 25, 2019 / 7:28 am



  9. Bella B (xoxoBella)
    July 24, 2019 / 11:02 pm

    I have so many places like these on my bucket list. Some right close to where I live and others further off. Such a beautiful world we live in.

    • Shan
      July 25, 2019 / 7:29 am

      You are so right, Bella. Now let’s go exploring!!


  10. page
    July 25, 2019 / 3:53 pm

    these look absolutely amazing and now i want to book a trip ASAP! x

  11. Ilana
    August 12, 2019 / 4:25 pm

    These secret beaches look so pristine and gorgeous!!

  12. Kathryn Dickson
    August 12, 2019 / 11:29 pm

    I love the “off the beaten path” and unspoiled natural escapes where you’re pretty much the only people there. I’m going to bookmark this for later reference when planning a trip to Georgia.

  13. Christopher Mitchell
    August 15, 2019 / 6:33 pm

    I mean, who doesn’t like the idea of secret islands? These looks amazing, thanks so much for writing about them!

    • Shan
      August 16, 2019 / 3:05 pm

      Thanks for your kind words, Christopher. Your blog is nice. Good work!


  14. Bekah
    August 19, 2019 / 1:35 am

    I think blackbeard would be my first choice, I usually take short trips everywhere.
    It wasn’t until the last two years I learned that Georgia has islands. Makes me regret paying 0% attention in geography lol.

    • Shan
      August 19, 2019 / 8:02 am

      haha Yeah, Bekah, if we could all go back in time to really love the lessons we were taught in school! 🙂


  15. Ginger
    October 24, 2019 / 1:57 pm

    This hidden gems look amazing! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Shan
      October 24, 2019 / 3:04 pm

      Thank you, Ginger! I’m a little obsessed with secret islands. haha


  16. Gabe Mackelmore
    September 18, 2022 / 2:18 am

    The greatest islands in America may be found in Georgia. I would certainly choose it over any coastal town! When I was seeking for a getaway from the strains of everyday life in 2017, I’m glad I found this location!

  17. Gabe Mackelmore
    October 16, 2022 / 8:47 am

    Those white sand beaches out there are just so stunning! I’ll just have to go to the Georgia Islands every summer for the rest of my life. Simply said, it has everything you need for a fantastic vacation!

  18. Edward Reeves
    January 9, 2023 / 8:31 am

    I don’t know about you guys, but for me, the best beach vacation spot is always Georgia and its islands! There are just so many things to do here!

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