Exciting Things to do in St Simons Island [2021] ULTIMATE GUIDE

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Ready to slow down a bit and escape the stresses of everyday life? A respite from to hustle to a vacation filled with exciting things to do in St. Simons Island is the perfect sojourn! But where is St Simons Island? Located in Glynn County, GA, St. Simons Island sits on the southeast Georgia coast – just between Jacksonville, Florida, and Savannah, Georgia. 

It is the largest of the four barrier islands that make up the Golden Isles. These islands are St. Simons Island, Little St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island, and Sea Islands.

Wouldn’t it be more amazing if you could really fulfill your dream vacation with your family or your sweetheart? 

Whether you are looking for St. Simons Island hotels, pet-friendly Georgia beach resorts, or vacation rentals at the best beach resorts in Georgia islands, we’ve got everything you need right here…..

ST SIMONS ISLAND GA Things To Do MUST-SEE HIDDEN GEMS!

TOP THINGS TO DO IN ST SIMONS ISLAND GEORGIA

Laid-back, refreshing and ultimate relaxation – these are the things that best describe the ambiance once you arrive in St. Simons Island. It seems to hum with fun activities all year-round. 

From art and antique shoes, music at the park, farmer’s market, wine tasting, outdoor adventures, tours, workshops, and the likes! You will never run out of things to do, sights to see, or experiences to discover in the largest island Georgia barrier islands.

Let’s get to know more about this scenic island getaway and pick out the best ones to add up to our itinerary!

RELIVE HISTORY AT FORT FREDERICA

Visiting historical places gives you a glimpse of the major events that shaped the history and culture of the country.

Coastal Georgia teems with stories on the turning point of the Spanish conquest at the Bloody Marsh Battle Site. Exploring Fort Frederica National Monument specifically tells the story of how it served as the border against Spanish invaders.

The park is well preserved and there live oak trees that are around 300 years old! Also, marvel at the unique architecture of Christ Church. It was rebuilt after being partially destroyed during the Civil War.

Insider tip: You can explore the fort on a self-guided tour or join a staff member for a guided walking tour. If you are visiting with kids, let them participate in the junior ranger program to burn off their energy in a fun, and informative way.

REVERE MARITIME HISTORY AT ST. SIMONS ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE

Another spot to tick off on your list is St. Simons Island Lighthouse and the lighthouse museum.

It is the oldest brick structure on the island, offering an amazing Georgian panorama and Jekyll Island marina as a reward for a 129-step climb. As one of the only five surviving light towers in Georgia, its original 3rd order Fresnel lens still shines 23 miles to the sea to aid navigation into the St. Simons Sound. The Keeper’s Quarter houses a museum and a store to serve visitors on site. 

Insider tip: Make sure to watch the short movie first before climbing up the steps. It will help you understand the role and history of the lighthouse. 

EXPLORE THE PIER VILLAGE

St. Simons Island attractions will not be complete without exploring the Pier Village. This vibrant district serves as the downtown social hub and is a popular destination for dining, St. Simons Island shopping, gathering, and entertainment. One can exclaim that there are really many fun things to do in St. Simons Island GA when you explore the Pier Village!

It overlooks the ocean and is only a few minute’s walk from the St Simons Lighthouse and Museum. Kids will love Neptune Park which has an oceanside pool, playground, facilities, fishing pier, theater, and miniature golf course. It is one of the best family things to do in St. Simons Island if you are traveling with tots!

Insider Tip: If you schedule your trip for the 4th of July Celebration, you can feast your eyes and watch the magical fireworks show that emanates from the Pier!

MARVEL AT THE UNIQUE CARVINGS OF ST. SIMONS TREE SPIRITS

Your list of things to do in St Simons Island with your family should include a visit to the Tree Spirits.

Many of the oak trees you find on the island dates back to 1826, some are on private properties while others are available for public access.

The “spirits” are actually sculptures on the oak trees. It is one of the most popular St. Simons Island attractions. You can access the Tree Spirits Map to find those in public places for a whole-day scavenger hunt activity. 

Insider tip: To fully enjoy the experience, start at the St. Simons Island Visitor Center for the largest and most beautiful of the tree spirits. Then get a map to start your journey. 

TRY OUT THE ROMANTIC TROLLEY TOURS OF ST SIMONS ISLAND

Trolley Tours is one of the ways to explore St Simons Island in a truly southern manner.

If you are looking for romantic things to do in St Simons Island GA with your partner, this should be one of them. You will board the original, vintage Green trolley for your tour around this beautiful island.

There are several drive-by destinations for these tours. You can go for the Lighthouse Trolley tour, Colonial Island Trolley Tour, and include an island Ghost Walk in your itinerary.  

Insider Tip: Take this tour if you want to cover as many historical sites as possible during your visit. Some tour operators offer drive-bys to the most popular landmarks around the island.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE WAR AT WWII MUSEUM

One of the newest attractions for your list of St. Simons Island activities is the World War II Home Front Museum.

It is formerly the Coastal Maritime Center and it is housed in the Historic Coast Guard Station, and presents a wonderful interactive experience for people of all ages.

Some people are left stunned after learning everything about the involvement of this tiny, beautiful island during the war. 

Insider Tip: You can get a combo ticket for this attraction along with the St. Simons Lighthouse and Museum – a cool and affordable way to learn all about World War II.

BE A BEACH BUM ON PRISTINE SHORES

A Georgia Island vacation is never complete without strolling on the beach! 

And can you ride bikes in St Simons Island? Yes! Ask your hotel or the Visitor Center for bike rentals and have it delivered to your lodgings.  

St. Simons Island is mostly a residential area and still has several public beaches that you can access, however, it can be a challenge to find a parking space. You may also want to consider various things to do in Jekyll Island of the Little Simons Island to explore more of the Golden Isles. 

Insider Tip: If you are craving solitude, the Little St. Simons Island has a seven-mile stretch of private, undeveloped shore for your pleasure!

TAKE A RELAXING STROLL @ HISTORIC CHRIST CHURCH & WESLEY GARDENS

Christ Church dates back to 18__ and the structure was the start of the Methodism movement in the new world. Brothers John and Charles Wesley were recruited by James Oglethorpe to

How to Get to St. Simons Island GA

Georgia has various airports and interstates, thus it is easy to arrive.

Once you are in Georgia, you will appreciate the state’s well-connected transportation infrastructure that will take you around with ease. 

From Savannah, you can reach St. Simons Island by bus, taxi, rideshare, or your own car. It will only take an hour and a half to drive this 82-mile distance depending on traffic.  A taxi ride and rideshare service from Savannah Hilton Airport to St. Simons Island cost $195 to $225. 

Check your airport transportation options if you need a ride from Savannah Hilton Head International Airport to anywhere in Georgia. 

Where to Stay On St. Simons Island?

One of the toughest decisions to make when planning a vacation is choosing the perfect accommodations for your group. 

As the largest island in the Golden Isles, St. Simons can be packed with tourists during holidays, fortunately, there are various hotels, inns, and B&Bs to suit everyone’s needs.

In the next article and Youtube video, I’ll showcase which family-friendly St. Simons hotels and vacation rentals for different price budgets I would suggest. My honest opinion about some of the best St. Simons Island vacation rentals and accommodation options will hopefully be of a big help to you in your vacation planning!

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Where to Eat on St. Simons Island?

There is no shortage of restaurants when you are looking to dine at St. Simons Island. From local barbeque joints to the freshest seafood, there will always be a seat for you at one of these delicious places to eat!

And if you are looking for the best barbeque to feast on, Southern Soul is an essential stop. It is named one of the best barbeque restaurants in the country with an array of pork, turkey and brisket and homemade sauces and sides. 

Other exciting eats to sample are those from Del Sur Artisan Eats, Palmers, Tramici for Italian foods, and The Half Shell. 

Where to Shop on St. Simons Island?

You can shop just about anywhere when you are on St. Simons Island! Whether you are on the lookout for souvenirs, crafts, antiques, island wear, and so much more.

Stroll down The Village along Mallory Street for a mix of St. Simons Island activities, shopping, and dining. You can also explore Shops At Sea Island close to the Fort Frederica and Sea Island Roads for some upscale shopping experience.  Otherwise, you can head towards the Redfern Village for charming boutiques, art galleries, antiques, and fabulous local treats!

St Simons Gears and Travel Accessories for the Perfect Island Vacation

Don’t forget to protect your skin while you soak up the sun and busy yourself with things to do on Saint Simons Island beaches! My favorite beauty products to carry in my beach bag include Neutrogena Beach Defense Spray SPF 30 and of course, Burt Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes with Tea Tree Extracts

Traveling with your tots? Don’t forget to bring the BBLuv Nido 2 in 1 Travel Bed and Play Tent for your baby or toddler! It is a convenient pop-up tent that you can fold, carry and store in its carry bag. Traveling with a baby goes from being stressful to divine! 

Explore More of Coastal Savannah, Georgia

Before you fly out, you might also want to do a bit of exploring at the historic coastal City of Savannah, Georgia. If you loved Forrest Gump, this is your chance to visit the Chippewa Square.

But more than that, Savannah is tagged as the most haunted city in America. So how about some ghostly tours of Moon River  – the #1 Top Haunted Site in Savannah?! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Things to Do in St. Simons Island When It Rains?

There is a range of indoor activities you can do to pass the time and the rains while you are on an island holiday in St. Simons. There are museums where you can learn more about history, movie theaters, explore shops and galleries. You can also call on your inner muse and create art at the Tinted Tide Pottery and Art Studio or take a cooking class at the Golden Isles Olive Oils.

Free Things to Do In St. Simons Island?

Most of St. Simons Island attractions are open to the public and can be enjoyed for free. You can play all you want on its pristine public beaches, visit Christ Church or find the “Tree Spirits”which are uniquely carved among the live oak trees.

Romantic Things to Do in St. Simons Island GA?

If you are hoping to find heartwarming spots or things to do on St Simons island, you’d find various spots to be extra romantic.  The island is not only a getaway for families, couples will surely love the experience of sunset walks on the beach, oceanfront dining and dolphin watching tours!

Is St. Simons Island Safe?

Yes, this island is safe that people do not even need to lock their doors. It is very clean, natural and well maintained. Establishments are implementing health protocols to ensure safety of guests and tourists.   

Before You Go

I know you are excited, but there are some things you should know about St. Simons Island. 

It is a touristy destination that is easily accessible from the city of Savannah, thus it can get packed during weekends and holidays. Come early if you intend to explore public beaches and find a good parking space at the Coast Guard Station on the First Street.

Plan your trip and if possible, book an all-inclusive accommodation reservation to cover parking fees and pet charges if necessary. 

St. Simons Island has plenty to offer for quick day-trips with the whole family as well as for couples looking for a romantic weekend escape. Many families have generational summer vacation memories here! We love its glorious beaches, the mysterious “Tree Spirits” and the delish offers at Georgia Sea Grill Restaurant located near the pier!

If you have more days to spend in Georgia vacation spots, more fun and excitement awaits you at nearby Jekyll Island, Darien, Tybee, and more!

Planning a trip to Georgia, Florida, or the Carolinas? Check out the southern travel guides and FREE travel resources!

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Shan
Shan

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 ☕️

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