The Golden Isles have a plethora of things for visitors to enjoy. One of the biggest appeals is definitely the wonderfully preserved swathes of nature that bring tourists in from all over. Many of the islands have their own preserves for you to visit, especially St. Simons Island and Little St. Simons Island, and it’s all made even better by the fact that the seasons almost never get in the way of your enjoyment.
Each island also has its own unique bit of culture for you to experience, and certain ones have a storied and rich history that you’ll enjoy learning about. If you’re visiting during winter or spring, we’ve got plenty of good advice for things to do.
Winter is definitely not the peak season for St. Simons Island and the rest of the area, but there’s no reason you can’t still have a great time while you’re in the area. In fact, there are some unique aspects that can make the vacation truly special, especially if you’re a fan of cold weather that won’t require you to pile on a ton of layers to stay comfortable. It can snow on St. Simons Island, but it’s a pretty rare occurrence, so you definitely won’t have to worry about any snowstorms getting in the way of your good times.
Obviously one of the other added bonuses to visiting during a slower season is that it’s easier to secure better rates on your stay, and you’ll also be able to enjoy all of the amenities of the islands with fewer people around, so you’ll have you run of it.
Jekyll Island Treasure Hunt
Every day throughout January and February, you and the family will be able to take part in a treasure hunt inspired by the history of the island. Island Treasures is the name of the event, and hidden floats get placed all over the island for people to find in exchange for hand-crafted glass ornaments that are made to resemble the glass floats that fishermen used to adorn their nets with. Historically, when these old floats washed ashore, they became collectibles for passers-by just taking a walk on the beach, so the tradition has been kept alive, and really makes for a great activity to do with the kids.
Visit the Colonial Coast Birding Trail
While open during all seasons, winter is often considered to be the best time to walk this birding trail, because the migratory birds are absolutely gorgeous, and you won’t be able to see them during any other season. While you’re walking this trail, be sure to stop by the many historically significant sites, like the Marshes of Glynn, Overlook Park, and a handful of others. This is a great way to spend your morning or afternoon, just make sure you plan on getting out of the preserve before dark.
Get Your Fill of Golfing
Though the courses are open during all seasons, golf gets a special mention as a fun winter activity. One of the big reasons is that, due to the fact that fewer people will be in town during the winter, you’ll have a much easier time getting your tee-off scheduled in your preferred time slot, and the weather isn’t anywhere near cold enough to make the courses unplayable.
The Golden Isles are a famous golfing destination, with plenty of different links courses that are built right into the natural environment. Plenty of different dunes provide natural terrain, and the abundant oak trees create a gorgeous border to many of the holes you’ll be playing through. Just be sure you watch out for the hazards, especially those ponds.
Spring, on the other hand, is the second busiest season with regard to tourism, so you can expect to see quite a few people in the area enjoying the luxuries of the islands with you. It’s no surprise as to why, really, because the weather is absolutely gorgeous right after winter comes to a close and it makes for the perfect environment to go out and hit the beaches and nature preserves.
Doing anything at all outdoors is made easier by the warmer seasons, for that matter, because other activities like fishing and biking are commonplace in the Golden Isles, and it should go without saying that winter waters and cold air can be challenging to some people.
Take a Trip on the Coastal Bike Trails
With how close together everything is on their respective islands, renting a bike and taking a trip around town is a nice and easy alternative to having to drive. You can make your way around town at a steady, casual pace, and stop off wherever looks interesting to you at the time. It’s a great stress-free way to make the journey.
The coastal trails are their own special treat, especially during Spring where the cool breeze will keep you comfortable with the warm sun overhead. Many of the most popular attractions on the islands are connected by bike trails, too, so you’ll have your own special means of conveyance that cars can’t utilize. If you like, you can even take the bikes onto the sand since the beaches are fairly hard-packed and will support you without making your bike sink.
Check out One of the Outdoor Events
Springtime brings quite a few different events for you to attend. With things like live concerts and art festivals happening fairly often, your vacation might just be taking place while a popular musician is passing through town. Be sure to check the different event calendars for businesses and parks around town to see what kind of attractions will be happening during your vacation.
Go for a Beachside Horseback Ride
There are plenty of companies on the isles that provide scenic horseback rides on the beach. This is a unique way to experience the scenery, as your guide will give you a great tour while your horse takes you for a relaxing, leisurely stroll down one of the island beaches. It’s a great group activity, truth be told, as you and your party can enjoy the peace and quiet and easily make good conversation while you’re at it.
Activities for Both Seasons
Generally temperate enough all year, you’ll find that a lot of activities, especially those that happen a little more inland, don’t change much regardless of the season. All of these attractions come highly recommended, and you won’t want to miss out on the chance to take part.
Visit Little St. Simons Island
Included in this section because it’s a unique experience in both seasons, Little St. Simons Island is one of the best destinations in the area throughout the entire year. As a privately owned island that’s dedicated to preserving the integrity of the swathes of undeveloped land, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better place to go and observe wildlife in its natural habitat.
Because of the nature of many birds, you’ll get to see completely different creatures depending on the season. Migratory species often make their homes here, and you’ll find that there are guides available to help you spot all of the special creatures.
While you’re visiting the island, don’t forget to have a tasty meal at one of the restaurants near the lodge. You’ll be able to make a whole day trip out of your visit here, and the food is absolutely exquisite.
There are plenty of guided tours in the area that are handled by passionate naturalists that would love to show you where to find all of the best spots to see animals like dolphins living in their natural habitats. You’ll get a wonderful educational experience while you see the animals, making this a great attraction for the kids.
Check Out All of the Beaches
There are quite a few beaches just between Jekyll Island and St. Simons Island alone, and they’re easily accessible, especially the ones on St. Simons since they’ll be just a short hop away from your vacation home. You could easily make a day or two out of travelling to different beaches and soaking up the sun and ocean breeze, not to mention the different breathtaking views that await you.
For the beaches on St. Simons Island, you might enjoy starting your days with a relaxing walk on the beach to ease into your day, or maybe you’d prefer to close out the night with a nighttime stroll. Either way, you won’t want to miss these long stretches of beach.
Don’t Forget the Fine Dining
St. Simons Island has some of the best picks for fine dining out of all of the Golden Isles, and you’ll easily be able to have a new and impressive meal at the different places in town. Especially with how compact the island is, you and your group can enjoy a casual walk while you enjoy the nightlife without having to worry about driving.
This is the island’s only oceanfront restaurant and bar, so you should definitely stop in at least once to take in the gorgeous views while you have quality cocktails and inspired seafood dishes. They’re open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so you can stop in for whatever meal suits you, and their menus have a fairly diverse selection of foods. If you’re out late and you want to grab another drink, the bar runs on later hours than the rest of the restaurant, so stop in.
If live music is your thing, you should stop in on Wednesday or Thursday, where live performers will be providing entertainment throughout dinnertime.
This restaurant provides some of the best spicy food you’ll be able to find on the island, so if you’re into hot dishes then this is definitely a can’t miss location for you. They specialize in serving up their own brand of Nashville Hot Chicken, a classic dish of the south, and their years of perfecting their recipe has certainly paid off.
Oak Room at The Lodge
With a classic and refined hardwood interior and beautifully painted murals, this restaurant is beautifully decorated to help bring out a classy atmosphere that lends itself well to a fine meal. They have a wide variety of different menus for you to order from, as they’re open for all of the meals of the day, including a custom brunch menu for Sundays. There is a dress code after 5 PM, so if you’re coming by for dinner make sure you dress accordingly.
Crabdaddy’s Seafood Grill
There had to be at least one seafood-focused island on this list. After all, if you’re going to be staying at an island escape like this, you owe it to yourself to get your hands on some great seafood. This restaurant originally opened in 1988 and has stayed in the family ever since. The food is incredible, and the environment isn’t in any way pretentious, so don’t worry about stepping on any toes because they’ll make you feel like you’re right at home.
Ingredients are locally sourced, giving you a truly local experience. This is a dinner spot only, open from 5 – 10 PM every day, so plan accordingly.
Winter and Spring Both Await You on the Golden Isles
Your seasonal visit to St. Simons is bound to be one to remember. With all of the attractions available to you, you’ll be hard-pressed to have a boring day on your vacation, and while some of these recommendations are listed under certain seasons, don’t let that deter you from making your own fun with them.
When the time comes to secure your vacation rental, Lilmar will be there to help you. Our team of agents has firsthand knowledge of our entire catalogue and will carefully assess the needs of you and your party to make sure you’re matched up with the perfect home away from home no matter how long you’ll be staying with us. Get in contact with us now to get this Golden Isles vacation going.