Guests often ask what they should do on their way to or from Little St. Simons Island. Please contact for any changes to their schedules due to COVID-19. Here is a list of some of the sites we would recommend.
Brunswick & the Golden Isles
Cannon's Point Preserve - On the boat ride to Little St. Simons Island, one passes Cannon’s Point, a 600+ acre peninsula of land on the northeast corner of St. Simons Island that was purchased by the St. Simons Land Trust in 2012. The property, which was at risk of becoming the site of over 200 homes and an 18-hole golf course, has instead been preserved in perpetuity. The natural attributes of Cannon’s Point include one of the largest remaining tracts of live oak dominated maritime forests (over 400 acres) left on St. Simons, 6 ½miles of important marsh buffer habitat and shell midden woodlands containing threatened plant species. The property also protects important Native American archeological sites and several antebellum plantation-era ruins. The Nature Conservancy holds a conservation easement on the property, giving it an added layer of protection.
Cannon’s Point is open for the public to enjoy. Currently the preserve is open on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays offering visitors the opportunity to hike or bike through the peninsula’s maritime forest and along the edge of the marshes. Interpretive signage is being installed and viewing platforms will soon be erected. In 2015, the St. Simons Land Trust has plans to construct a living shoreline and a kayak launch so visitors can explore the beautiful saltmarshes and tidal creeks around the peninsula. www.sslt.org
Christ Church - Christ Church, Frederica, one of the oldest churches in Georgia was founded on St. Simons Island nearly 70 years after the island was first settled by English colonist. Worship has been continuous since 1736 in Christ Church Parish. On the site of Christ Church, nestled among huge oak trees on the scenic north end of St. Simons Island, John and Charles Wesley preached before returning to England to help found the Methodist Church. The first church structure was built in 1820 but was partially destroyed by Union troops during the Civil War. In 1884, the Reverend Anson Phelps Dodge, Jr., built the present structure in memory of his wife, Ellen. Christ Church is constructed of wood in the cruciform design with a trussed Gothic roof and steeple. The grounds contain a cemetery with graves of early settlers and many famous Georgians. www.christchurchfrederica.org
Fort Frederica National Monument - In 1736, three years after the founding of Savannah, James Oglethorpe established Fort Frederica to protect his southern boundary. 44 men and 72 women and children arrived to build the fort and town, and by the 1740s Frederica was a thriving village of about 500 citizens. Colonists from England, Scotland, and the Germanic states came to Frederica to support the endeavor. Georgia's fate was decided in 1742 when Spanish and British forces clashed on St. Simons Island. Fort Frederica's troops defeated the Spanish in the Battle of Bloody Marsh, ensuring Georgia's future as a British colony. However, the declining military threat to the Georgia coast saw the Fort's regiment disbanded in 1749.
Today, the archeological remnants of Frederica are protected by the National Park Service, open daily 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (closed most holidays). The park fee is $3 per person, children 15 and under are free. Ranger-led tours and soldier/colonial life programs throughout the year recall life in Georgia’s second town. The park visitor center features exhibits and an orientation film, which is shown every 30 minutes. www.nps.gov/fofr/index.htm
St. Simons Lighthouse Museum - Located near the village and pier, the St. Simons Lighthouse is one of only five surviving light towers in Georgia. An operational navigation aid for traffic entering St. Simons Sound, it casts its light as far as 23 miles out to sea. Unlike many other operational lighthouses, the St. Simons Lighthouse invites visitors to climb the 129 steps to experience views of neighboring Jekyll Island, the mainland (Brunswick), and the south end of St. Simons Island.
The first lighthouse (1810) was built by James Gould of Massachusetts who became the first lighthouse keeper. That structure was destroyed by Confederate forces in 1862 to prevent the beacon’s use by Federal troops. The current lighthouse and the lighthouse keeper’s dwelling were built in 1872. The red-brick dwelling, a unique Victorian design which draws the eye upward to the tower, houses a museum and gift shop. www.coastalgeorgiahistory.org/visit/st-simons-lighthouse-museum
Maritime Center – The Maritime Center makes its home in the Historic Coast Guard Station. Filled with interactive exhibits and galleries, this interesting museum offers an exciting look at coastal Georgia’s natural assets, maritime and military history. Explore seven galleries featuring a variety of hands-on exhibits and activities.
The historic U.S. Coast Guard Station at East Beach on St. Simons Island was one of 45 U.S. Coast Guard Stations built around the country by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Work on the East Beach Station began in Fall 1935. It is believed to be one of only three surviving stations from that era. The station and boathouse had its “First Watch” on April 1, 1937. When the station first opened, the original beachfront was just a few feet from the front door. Today the station is separated from the beach by a large parking lot. On April 8, 1942, a German submarine, U-123, sank two merchant ships, the SS Oklahoma and the Esso Baton Rouge, off the coast of St. Simons Island. Joined by local residents, the coast guardsmen mounted the rescue.
In 1995, the East Beach Station was decommissioned and all local Coast Guard operations were moved to mainland Brunswick. A brand new Coast Guard Station was completed in 2005, just to the east of the Sidney Lanier Bridge. www.coastalgeorgiahistory.org/visit/historic-coast-guard-station-2
Jekyll Island Historic District - This National Historic Landmark administered by the state of Georgia is situated on the southeast side of Jekyll Island. Occupied by the Guale Indians who called the area Ospo, the island was a popular hunting and fishing site. Gen. James Edward Oglethorpe, founder of Georgia, maintained an outpost on the island, and a plantation was established by one of his officers, Maj. William Horton. In 1794 a French family, the du Bignons, bought the island. They retained possession until 1886 when the island was sold to the newly formed "Jekyll Island Club." Considered to be the most exclusive social club in the United States, the Jekyll Island Club had a limit of 100 members, among them the Astors, Vanderbilts, Pulitzers, Morgans and McCormicks and was laid out by prominent landscape architect H.W.S. Cleveland. A club house was built on the island and members constructed private "cottages"– enormous residences designed to house entire families with staff. The club was open for the post-Christmas season when many families came down from Newport and New York to relax and enjoy the "country life." In 1942 the U.S. government ordered the area evacuated. The state of Georgia purchased the island from the club in 1947 and turned it into a state park. Most of the cottages have been preserved and are open to the public. Among them are San Souci, owned in part by J.P, Morgan and one of the first condominiums in the U.S.; Indian Mound, the twenty-five room home of the Rockefeller family; the Goodyear Cottage completed in 1906 from designs by the firm of Carrére and Hastings; Crane Cottage, circa 1917, the largest and most lavish of the cottages; the original Club House, a wood and brick Victorian structure with towers and manicured lawns; and Faith Chapel, built in 1904 in the Gothic style with copies of the Notre Dame de Paris gargoyles. The chapel also has a large signed Tiffany stained glass window.
Jekyll Island Historic District is between Riverview Drive and Old Village Boulevard on Jekyll Island. The Club House is now a fully restored hotel open to the public. The island can be reached off of US 17 and Jekyll Island Road, southeast of Brunswick. www.nps.gov/nr/travel/geo-flor/15.htm
Georgia Sea Turtle Center - The Georgia Sea Turtle Center—Georgia's first sea turtle rehabilitation, research, and education facility—provides state-of-the-art emergency care to sick and injured sea turtles. Explore the lives of sea turtles and other native animals through daily education programs and gallery exhibits. Glimpse into the hospital where sea turtles are treated, see turtle patients in the rehabilitation pavilion, and learn how our research is helping sea turtles in Georgia and throughout the world.
Located on Jekyll Island, Georgia Sea Turtle Center is open Tuesday – Saturday from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and $5 for children 4 -12yrs. www.georgiaseaturtlecenter.org
Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation - This beautiful plantation represents the history and culture of Georgia’s rice coast. In the early 1800s, William Brailsford of Charleston carved a rice plantation from marshes along the Altamaha River. The plantation and its inhabitants were part of the genteel low country society that developed during the antebellum period. While many factors made rice cultivation increasingly difficult in the years after the Civil War, the family continued to grow rice until 1913.
The enterprising siblings of the fifth generation at Hofwyl-Broadfield resolved to start a dairy rather than sell their family home. The efforts of Gratz, Miriam and Ophelia Dent led to the preservation of their family legacy. Ophelia was the last heir to the rich traditions of her ancestors, and she left the plantation to the State of Georgia in 1973.
Located between Brunswick and Darien on U.S. Hwy. 17, 1 mile east of I-95 exit #42. The plantation is open Wednesday-Saturday / 9:00am – 5:00pm and the last main house tour is at 4:00pm. Admission fees are $7.50 for adults, $7.00 for seniors and $4.50 for youth. http://gastateparks.org/HofwylBroadfield
Other Coastal Georgia Sites
Cumberland Island National Seashore - Cumberland Island is Georgia's largest and southernmost barrier island. Just off the Georgia coast, Cumberland Island National Seashore provides a glimpse of resort living during the gilded age. Its unspoiled beaches and lush marshes are accessible only by ferry. The Spanish-moss laden forests and historic ruins are teeming with animal life, including loggerhead turtles and wild horses. The island also serves as an important stopover point for migratory birds.
In addition to a rich wildlife habitat, Cumberland Island has 87 structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places that reflect four centuries of North American history. Settlement by Spanish explorers began in the 16th century and plantations flourished after the Revolutionary War. At the end of the Civil War, freed slaves formed a settlement here, but the island was largely abandoned until the 1880s, when the Carnegie family established a lavish estate on land from two defunct plantations.
Contributions from the Carnegie family and Mellon Foundation, in conjunction with the work of dedicated environmentalists and the National Park Service, saved Cumberland Island from development in the 1970s. In 1972, Congress designated Cumberland Island a National Seashore to preserve this secluded treasure.
Today visitors can take day trips to the National Park or stay overnight in one of the parks campsites. For more luxurious accommodations, visitors can stay at the Greyfield Inn which was formerly the Carnegie family residence on the island. www.nps.gov/cuis
Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve - The Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve occupies just over one-third of Sapelo Island, the fourth largest Georgia barrier island and one of the most pristine. The reserve’s 6,110 acres contain the Duplin River and its estuary, and several upland tracts. The Reserve comprises 2,110 acres of upland maritime forest and hammock land and 4,000 acres of tidal salt marsh. The upland maritime forest of the reserve is composed of a mix of native hardwoods and about 90% of the reserve's marshland is covered by smooth cordgrass. The most conspicuous animals of the salt marsh are the graceful egrets and herons, fiddler crabs, and raccoons; however, many other less visible creatures live within the reserve, including mollusks. Endangered and threatened species of Sapelo Island include the Southern bald eagle, peregrine falcons, ospreys, brown pelicans, woodstorks, Wilson's plovers, American Alligators, loggerhead sea turtles, the northern right whale and manatees. Not only is the island rich in natural history, but also in human history dating back 4,000 years.
Ferries run daily taking visitors to the island for daytrips or camping overnight. www.sapelonerr.org
Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge - Harris Neck NWR was established in 1962 by transfer of federal lands formerly managed by the Federal Aviation Administration as a WWII Army airfield. Located in McIntosh County, Georgia, the refuge serves as an important link in the chain of refuges along the Atlantic seaboard, and is the inland base for two neighboring barrier island refuges, Blackbeard Island and Wolf Island refuges, both located southeast of Harris Neck.
Harris Neck's 2,762 acres consists of saltwater marsh, grassland, mixed deciduous woods, and cropland. Because of this great variety in habitat, many different species of birds are attracted to the refuge throughout the year. In the summer, thousands of egrets and herons nest in the swamps, while in the winter, large concentrations of ducks (especially mallards, gadwall and teal) gather in the marshland and freshwater pools.
Over 15 miles of paved roads and trails provide the visitor easy access to the many different habitats. Chosen for it's accessibility and bird diversity, Harris Neck is one of 18 sites forming the Colonial Coast Birding Trail, inaugurated in 2000.
Harris Neck NWR is located in McIntosh County, Georgia, 5 miles north of Eulonia and 50 air miles south of the port city of Savannah. To reach Harris Neck, take Exit 67 off I-95 and travel south on U.S. 17 for approximately one mile, then east on Harris Neck Road for seven miles to the main entrance gate. www.fws.gov/refuge/harris_neck
Wormsloe State Historic Site - A breathtaking avenue sheltered by live oaks and Spanish moss leads to the tabby ruins of Wormsloe, the colonial estate of Noble Jones (1702-1775). Jones was a humble carpenter who arrived in Georgia in 1733 with James Oglethorpe and the first group of settlers from England. Wormsloe's tabby ruin is the oldest standing structure in Savannah.
Surviving hunger, plague and warfare in the rugged environment of Georgia, Jones went on to serve the colony as a doctor, constable, Indian agent, Royal Councilor and surveyor, laying out the towns of Augusta and New Ebenezer. He also commanded a company of marines charged with defending the Georgia coast from the Spanish. Jones died at the beginning of the American Revolution, but his descendants sustained Wormsloe until the state of Georgia acquired most of the plantation in 1973.
Today, visitors can interact with costumed interpreters during programs and events, and view a museum with artifacts unearthed at Wormsloe, as well as a short film about the site and the founding of Georgia. The interpretive nature trail leads past the tabby ruins along the marsh to the Colonial Life Area where, during programs and special events, demonstrators in period dress exhibit the tools and skills of colonial Georgia. The site hosts several events throughout the year, including the “Colonial Faire and Muster” in February, which highlights aspects of 18th-century life, such as music, dancing, crafts and military drills and the “Tools and Skills that Built a Colony” event over Labor Day weekend. www.gastateparks.org/wormsloe
Altamaha Waterfowl Management Area - https://georgiawildlife.com/altamaha-wma
Altama Wildlife Management Area - https://georgiawildlife.com/altama-plantation-wma