With its unspoiled coastline, powdery dunes and sinewy marshlands, the spectacular nature of the Golden Isles provides a dramatic backdrop for photographers of all stripes. Whether you like composing snapshots with your cell phone, or prefer to pack a 500mm lens and tripod for your trip, you’ll discover plenty of memorable moments on these islands.
To help you out, we created a miniature guide on the top places to photograph this scenic stretch of the Georgia Coast.
Most Photogenic Beach
Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island
Situated at the northern tip of Jekyll Island, this pristine stretch of sand showcases the patient sculpting of nature like no other. Several stands of time-polished driftwood offer ample compositions for landscape, detail and portrait images.
Best Way to Photograph Wildlife
Take a Turtle Walk, Jekyll Island
Few scenes better embody the miraculous cycle of life than a tiny sea turtle making its way across the sand to a life in the sea. Every June and July, the beaches of Jekyll Island foster thousands of loggerhead turtle hatchlings as they emerge from their eggs and crawl to the surf. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center offers guided walks to witness the spectacle.
Best Place to Photograph Birds
Gould’s Inlet, St. Simon’s Island
Situated at the convergence of sea and marsh, Gould’s Inlet provides the perfect habitat for several bird species and is a key site along the Colonial Coast Birding Trail. Photograph herons, terns, skimmers, and — depending on the season — painted buntings and red-throated loons.
Where to Photograph a Beautiful Sunrise
East Beach, St. Simons Island
Many photographers believe that the best light conditions are in the early morning hours. If you’re keen to rise early, there is no better place in Georgia to witness a sunrise than from the long, wide sandy expanse of East Beach on St. Simons Island. As the sun appears over the Atlantic, bring a tripod for slow-shutter speed images of the rolling waves in the foreground.
Where to Photograph a Beautiful Sunset
St. Andrew’s Picnic Area & Beach, Jekyll Island
While most beaches in the Golden Isles are on the Atlantic — and therefore, face the east — the beach at St. Andrew’s Picnic Area on Jekyll Island faces west onto Jekyll Sound, making it the best place in Georgia to witness a sunset on the water. Look for passing flocks of pelicans and the occasional heron to spice up your sunset images.
Best Place for a Selfie
St. Simons Island Lighthouse, St. Simons Island
For the ultimate “wish you were here” selfie to post on Facebook, head to the Historic St. Simons Island Lighthouse. This 104-foot tall, pearl-white lighthouse has become the icon of the island, making it a perfect companion for any self-portrait.
Most Iconic Place to Photograph
Lover’s Oak, Brunswick
The great Lover’s Oak in Brunswick — a massive oak with a trunk measuring 13-feet in diameter — casts a long shadow and makes for a striking scene in early evening hours. A recent estimate pins the tree’s age at around 900 years old. In a way, any portrait taken under its stately branches makes you a part of its extraordinary history.
Need some inspiration? View our photo and video gallery.