Discover Where History Was Made on St. Simons Island

The island may stretch a mere 12 miles in length, but St. Simons’ rich history runs longer than the Georgia coast on which it rests.

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“The Marshes of Glynn”

“The Marshes of Glynn”

“Ye marshes, how candid and simple and nothing-withholding and free
Ye publish yourselves to the sky and offer yourselves to the sea!”


These lyrics make up part of an 1878 poem titled “The Marshes of Glynn,” by the renowned poet and former Confederate soldier Sidney Lanier. The poem, which pays tribute to Lanier’s beloved South, reveres the breathtaking expanse of grasslands in Glynn County, Georgia, that extend toward the mainland. The piece was part of an unfinished compilation titled, “Songs of the Marshes,” yet it succeeded in unveiling the beauty of the coastal marshes to the rest of the world.


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GoldenIsles.com  

Cannon's Point Preserve

Cannon's Point Preserve

Though the most heavily populated of the Golden Isles, St. Simons has made strides in protecting its natural history, and none have been more noteworthy than the protection of Cannon’s Point. St. Simons Land Trust acquired the 608 acres of undeveloped land in 2012. In addition to containing the island’s last intact maritime forest—a quickly diminishing habitat along the Atlantic Coast—the site also boasts the ruins of a plantation home and the site of several slave quarters on which many archaeological investigations continue to take place.

An exceptional day trip, Cannon’s Point is open to the public on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays for biking, hiking and picnicking.

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Cassie Wright  

Little St. Simons Island

Little St. Simons Island

The least populated of the Golden Isles is the privately owned Little St. Simons Island. Reachable only by boat—and only then if you have a reservation—the 10,000-acre island is virtually undeveloped, save the 6 cottages that form the Lodge, a modest compound that houses no more than 32 overnight guests. Little St. Simons was a family’s private retreat from 1908 until 1979. Today, the island is revered as a model for conservation. Naturalist-led excursions by foot, bike, boat, kayak or canoe treat visitors to abundant populations of rare and threatened wildlife and the serenity of fully intact natural habitats. Thanks to the island’s owners, Little St. Simons will be preserved for generations to come; in 2015, they donated a conservation easement to The Nature Conservancy on the entire island.

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Cassie Wright  

Birding

Birding

Georgia’s barrier islands host a number of native and migratory birds, but Little St. Simons’ rich, undisturbed ecosystem makes it ideal for birding enthusiasts. More than 330 species have been identified on the island, from spoonbills and warblers to herons and eagles. Mapped locations that include observation towers, ponds and trails, indicate the best locations for visitors to see various species. Because of Little St. Simons’ thriving bird population, it has been named an important birding area by the American Birding Conservancy; consequently, a number of avian research partners study migration patterns and rare species sightings. And you can study right alongside them.


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Cassie Wright  

Sea Turtles

Sea Turtles

Georgia’s beaches are key nesting grounds for loggerhead turtles—some 2,000 nests, in fact. Therefore, it’s very possible to stumble upon nesting females, which can weigh in at more than 300 pounds, or tiny hatched turtles scampering toward the ocean. What’s more difficult is to leave these magnificent creatures alone. But because they’re endangered species, we have to do just that. During the nesting season, which runs May and mid-August, residents of the Golden Isles know to keep their eyes open, noise to a minimum and their lights out to give the Loggerhead population a fighting chance.


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Cassie Wright  

Georgia Sea Turtle Center

Georgia Sea Turtle Center

Six of the seven species of sea turtles worldwide are either threatened or endangered. The source of their dwindling numbers? Us. Pollution, development, poaching and entanglement are constant threats to sea turtle populations. In response, Jekyll Island opened Georgia’s only sea turtle hospital in 2007 as a long-term care and rehabilitation center. The center provides visitors with a viewing area to watch doctors and nurses operate and care for these amazing creatures, in addition to interactive, hands-on exhibits. Whenever healthy sea turtles are ready to be released from care, the center invites the public to cheer these survivors out to sea.

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Johnson Pictures Inc., GoldenIsles.com  

Southeast Adventure Outfitters

Southeast Adventure Outfitters

With year-round warm temperatures, sandy beaches and diverse populations of sea life, St. Simons Island is a dream for aquatic explorers. Launch your adventure directly from the Pier Village, where the locally owned and operated Southeast Adventure Outfitters takes you by boat, kayak or paddleboard to experience first-hand an unspoiled view of coastal living—from the water side.


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Michael Gowen/Southeast Adventure Outfitters   

Captain Gabby

Captain Gabby

Often referred to as the “mothership,” this former shrimp boat was creatively converted into a fully equipped charter vessel that can sleep up to six guests. If this 42-foot wooden trawler could talk, she’d spin countless tales from her hand-built, hardworking beginnings in 1977 in St. Augustine, Florida, to today, where she takes outdoor enthusiasts on relaxed, customized chartered cruises ranging anywhere from 2-hours to 2 weeks.

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Michael Gowen/Southeast Adventure Outfitters   

Kayaking

Kayaking

Exploring the Intracoastal waterway or ocean by kayak is one of the most serene experiences to be had on St. Simons Island. Besides views of scenic marshlands and sandy beaches, a quiet paddle will put you within arm’s length of sociable sea life. From dolphins and sea turtles to right whales and manatees, the winding waterways through the Golden Isles are rich with encounters landlubbers never get. A guided kayak tour will put visitors in the right spot at the right time.

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Cassie Wright  

Stand-up Paddleboarding

Stand-up Paddleboarding

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) requires little more than a board and a healthy sense of adventure. Okay, a good sense of balance doesn’t hurt. Islanders have embraced the relatively new sport with zeal, making the Golden Isles a destination for SUP enthusiasts who ride the gentle currents of the Altamaha River or test the ocean waves. The area’s predictable currents and tides eliminate the element of surprise. What might surprise you? The killer core workout you get without even noticing—thanks, in part, to the breathtaking views.


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Michael Gowen/Southeast Adventure Outfitters  

Fishing

Fishing

St. Simon’s Pier in the heart of Pier Village is a popular fishing and crabbing location for visitors, but locals will tell you that island fishing is a lot like a “choose your own adventure.” From fly-fishing to offshore angling, the size of the catch and the scope of the experience is entirely up to you. And while plenty of folks will fish conventionally—from the shore or boat—you’re just as likely to see locals casting a line from a paddleboard or kayak. Want a (true) fish story? Hook up with any one of the handful of skilled fishing charters for local knowledge.

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Benjamin Galland, GoldenIsles.com  

10 Photos

Enjoy the city lights of Atlanta's skyline at dusk. 960 1280

  

Art aficionados should make a trip to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. 960 1280

  

Explore the Margaret Mitchell House, the home of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author who penned Gone With the Wind. 960 1280

  

Figures of Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis are carved into the bas-relief of Stone Mountain. 960 1280

  

Visit Turner Field to catch an Atlanta Braves baseball game. 960 1280

  

The Wren's Nest is the home of Joel Chandler Harris, author of the Brer Rabbit and Uncle Remus tales. 960 1280

  

World of Coca Cola

World of Coca Cola

One of Atlanta's main attractions, the World of Coca Cola attracts over a million visitors each year. Get a look at Coke bottles from around the world, learn about the soda’s secret formula, watch the bottling process, sample all of Coca-Cola’s products and check out the Pop Culture Gallery full of memorabilia. 960 1280

Allee Sangiolo  

Centennial Olympic Park

Centennial Olympic Park

Centennial Park was built for the 1996 Summer Olympics. It is now host to special events, including Family Fun Days. 960 1280

Allee Sangiolo  

Atlanta Aquarium

Atlanta Aquarium

The Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the world, and it has attracted more than 6 million visitors. 960 1280

Josh Hallett, flickr  

Atlanta Botanical Garden

Atlanta Botanical Garden

Atlanta Botanical Garden, a 30-acre garden in Midtown Atlanta. Get a look at the trees and plants from 40 feet in the air on the 600-foot-log Kendeda Canopy Walk. 960 1280

David Berkowitz, flickr  

Centennial Olympic Park

Centennial Olympic Park

Visit Centennial Olympic Park, which was built for the 1996 Summer Olympics. The 21-acre park hosts fun events such as Music at Noon, where local bands perform midday; Wednesday WindDown, featuring jazz during rush hour; and Fourth Saturday Family Fun Day, a free event with performers and children’s activities. Don’t miss the dancing water show harmonized with pop music, lights and sound effects at the Fountain of Rings. 960 1280

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Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium

Dive inside the Georgia Aquarium and discover more than 10 million gallons of water, where tens of thousands of animals — including 500 species from around the world — call home. Get up-close and personal with whale sharks, beluga whales, penguins, dolphins, sea otters and other marine life. 960 1280

Georgia Aquarium  

College Football Hall of Fame

College Football Hall of Fame

Head to Marietta Street in the heart of downtown Atlanta to explore the College Football Hall of Fame. The new 94,256-square-foot facility features the history of college football, a 45-yard indoor football field, the Game Day Theater, football artifacts and interactive multimedia exhibits. 960 1280

Atlanta Hall Management Inc.  

Atlantic Station

Atlantic Station

Walk the brick-paved streets around Atlantic Station to shop at more than 50 stores and boutiques, eat at hip restaurants or sit at a sidewalk café. This multipurpose area features a central park and hosts festivals, concerts and Cirque de Soleil. 960 1280

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The Wren's Nest

The Wren's Nest

Visit the Wren’s Nest on Saturdays and see the famous Uncle Remus stories come to life through storytelling at author Joel Chandler Harris’ historic home. Take a guided tour and stand on the front porch where Harris gave life to the Brer Rabbit tales. 960 1280

Jonathan Hillyer  

Turner Field

Turner Field

Have plans to visit Atlanta in the spring? Add a trip to Turner Field to see the Atlanta Braves play ball, or just take a tour of the Braves Museum & Hall of Fame, the broadcast booth and the dugout. Lucky fans may be able to go into the clubhouse if the team is out of town. 960 1280

Getty Images Sports  

Zoo Atlanta

Zoo Atlanta

See more than 1,500 animals at Zoo Atlanta, home to the largest collections of gorillas and orangutans in the US. This zoo is also one of only 4 in the country to house pandas. We recommend visiting the Giant Panda Conservation Center to see panda twins Mei Lun and Mei Huan. 960 1280

joerivlin  

Legoland Discovery Center

Legoland Discovery Center

Enjoy family fun at Legoland Discovery Center Atlanta, at Phipps Plaza. Kids ages 3-10 will have fun with interactive, hands-on attractions, the 4-D cinema and classes with LEGO Master Model Builders. Check out Atlanta’s famous landmarks in Legos at the Miniland exhibit. 960 1280

Legoland Discovery Center  

Atlanta Botanical Garden

Atlanta Botanical Garden

Explore more than 30 acres of beauty at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, located next to Piedmont Park in Midtown. Take the Canopy Walk, discover seasonal food in the Edible Garden, take the kids swimming in the Sunflower Fountain, and find out more about honeybees in the observation hive. Stop by the garden during the holidays to see a million lights illuminate one of the city’s popular attractions. 960 1280

Steve Harwood  

Six Flags Over Georgia

Six Flags Over Georgia

Take a 200-foot free fall on the Acrophobia at Six Flags Over Georgia. Batman: The Ride, Dahlonega Mine Train, Carrot Patch and Convoy Grande are just a few rides featured at the largest regional theme park in the Southeast.  It has 11 roller coasters, 3 children’s areas and water rides, including those in Hurricane Harbor, an area full of wave pools and slippery slides. 960 1280

Nicole Mays  

Stone Mountain Park

Stone Mountain Park

Welcome to Georgia’s most-visited attraction, Stone Mountain Park. This 3,200-acre park features live shows, shopping, dining and attractions such as the SkyHike, a scenic railroad, the Summit Skyride and Geyser Towers. Look up and gaze at the faces of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis carved into the mountain. Stick around at night to see the Lasershow Spectacular, where lights are choreographed with toe-tapping tunes and amazing pyrotechnics. 960 1280

Stone Mountain Park  

SkyView

SkyView

Step into one of 42 climate-controlled gondolas on this 200-foot-tall Ferris wheel, which towers high above Centennial Olympic Park. We recommend SkyView for breathtaking panoramic views of downtown Atlanta, and don’t miss seeing this grand ride light up the sky at night. 960 1280

SkyView  

Atlanta Movie Tours

Atlanta Movie Tours

Hollywood comes to Atlanta, and visitors to this Southern city can take a tour to see local spots captured on TV shows and in movies including The Walking Dead, Driving Miss Daisy, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, We Are Marshall, Remember the Titans and Anchorman 2. Atlanta Movie Tours also offers Zombie Tours and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind Tour. And frankly, my dear, you will give a damn. 960 1280

Atlanta Movie Tours  

Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site

Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site

Take a journey through the struggles of the South, as well as the life and legacy of civil rights pioneer Martin Luther King Jr. The 35-acre historical site features King’s original gravesite and current tomb, the King Center and an International Civil Rights Walk of Fame that displays authentic shoe prints of civil rights leaders. We recommend taking a tour of King’s childhood home, Ebenezer Baptist Church and historic Fire Station No. 6 — one of the South’s first desegregated firehouses. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

World of Coca-Cola

World of Coca-Cola

Explore the history of the pop empire since John S. Pemberton invented the sugary concoction that is now a pop-culture icon. Visit the World of Coca-Cola to see advertisements through the years, pose for a photo with the Coca-Cola polar bear, sample more than 60 Coke products from around the world, and try your hand at mixing your own drink recipe. Visitors also get a closer look behind the fizzy beverage’s secret formula in a new interactive experience, Vault of the Secret Formula. 960 1280

Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images  

High Museum of Art

High Museum of Art

Art aficionados can’t leave Atlanta without a trip to the High Museum of Art, which houses American art, European art, African art, folk art, photography and more. The museum hosts visiting exhibitions throughout the year in addition to its main collection, which features Monet, O'Keeffe and other renowned artists. Sip on a glass of wine while listening to live jazz music on Friday nights or visit on a Thursday for family and youth programs. 960 1280

High Museum of Art  

Peachtree Trolley

Peachtree Trolley

Take a 90-minute tour on the Peachtree Trolley, which originates near Centennial Olympic Park. CNN Center, the Fox Theatre, Oakland Cemetery, the Georgia Aquarium and the state Capitol are a few city attractions that trolley riders will see during the tour. 960 1280

Mia McCorkle  

Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum

Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum

The library and museum dedicated to Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the US, allows visitors the opportunity to peek inside an exact replica of the Oval Office and see what it was like to be the president on an interactive, virtual trip around the world. 960 1280

Robert Neff  

Sun Dial Restaurant, Bar and View

Sun Dial Restaurant, Bar and View

Spectacular views, classic American cuisine and live jazz create the perfect ambience at the Sun Dial. Located 723 feet above the city, it is Atlanta’s only tri-level dining complex, featuring a revolving upscale restaurant, a rotating cocktail lounge and an observatory that offers patrons 360-degree panoramic views of the city’s skyline. 960 1280

Rafterman Photography  

Margaret Mitchell House

Margaret Mitchell House

Take a guided tour of Apartment 1, where the famous author wrote her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Gone With the Wind. The 3-story Tudor Revival house, built in 1899, is on the US National Registry of Historic Places. We recommend checking out the “Making of a Film Legend: Gone With the Wind” exhibition to get the scoop on how the best-selling novel was transformed into a film classic. 960 1280

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