Whether you visit by land, air or sea, the Golden Isles off the coast of Georgia are a magical jewel box of a destination, perfect for either a quick weekend trip or even a weeklong excursion. The Golden Isles is composed of four unique and distinctive islands –St. Simons, Sea Island, Jekyll Island, Little St. Simons Island – plus the port city of Brunswick; go island hopping to experience different cultural and outdoorsy activities (horseback riding, historic sites, nature walks, and much more), or hunker down at a resort on one of the islands and let yourself be pampered by some of the most highly ranked hospitality providers in the world.
Stay: If relaxation is your goal, you can’t beat Sea Island, a privately owned island with a massive, five-star resort. Choose from five accommodation options – the most luxurious of which are The Lodge and The Cloister. If you want something a little more low-key, The Lodge on Little Simon’s Island is a secluded getaway, with only 32 guests allowed on the island at a time (it’s even possible to rent the entire island).
Do: The natural beauty of the Golden Islands is pretty astounding, so it’s certainly worth your time to engage in the many outdoor activities that are available there, like horseback riding, birding, biking, and hiking. There are also plenty of opportunities to practice your swing (Sea Island alone has three golf courses), rejuvenate at a spa, or simply stretch out on one of the many, many beaches. The islands also offer plenty of opportunity to learn about the wildlife of the islands, including at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, or the 4-H Tidelands Nature Center – both of which are on Jekyll Island.
Eat: Even if you choose not to stay at the Cloister at Sea Island, it is worth trying out the Georgian Room, a five-star restaurant where you can try the stellar five-course tasting menu ($125) in the elegant dining room. On Saint Simon’s Island, Georgia Sea Grill serves up fresh local fish and meat dishes, like herb-crusted lamb racks and the fresh catch of the day, served your choice of pan-roasted, bronzed or Cajun-spiced. For an authentic, local dish in a more casual setting, try the Brunswick Stew at Gary Lee’s Market in Brunswick. It ain’t fancy, but the taste sure makes up for the lack of ambiance.