Interstate 95 & Surrounding Areas
Georgia’s 90 miles of coast differs dramatically from that of her sister states. Her transportation arteries of long ago, the rivers, proved detrimental in bringing this area of the coast into the twentieth century as the building of Interstate-95 (I-95) pushed both north and south.
For here on the Georgia coast, the rivers are tidal rivers, reflected an extreme variation in height. No other place on the Atlantic seaboard has such a mean differential between low and high tide. Couple the many tidal rivers, the pull of the ocean’s power, freshets from upcountry rain, and an engineer would have to shake his head and ponder the near impossible. Fortunately, several engineers did lay claim to crossing and connecting the rivers, bridging the lowlands with the rest of the state. Their work opened the area to motorist who marvel at the salt marshes and photograph the morning mist hovering over the marshes or the spectacular sunrises and sunsets, noted by Georgia’s native son poet Sidney Lanier in his poem Sunrise.
With the ease of speed and now the addition of extra lanes, I-95 is a mighty transportation artery. A motorist can cross the Savannah River entering the state and exit it upon crossing the St. Mary’s River, entering Florida in a little over an hour. With this rapid momentum, the beauty of the state is often missed.
However, fortunately for those who love back roads and a slower pace, I-95 follows the path of old Highway 17. And this is where adventure begins. Small towns with unique personalities cry out to motorists “To Come by Here.” For those who chance to leave the interstate behind, Georgia’s coastal history lies waiting. One great example is the Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation Historic Site, near I-95's exit 42, which represents the history and culture of Georgia’s rice coast.
Savannah, Georgia’s first city and often called the country’s most European, is also the starting point from the North to visit the rest of Georgia's coast. The historic towns of Midway. Riceboro and Darien call for a stop. Exits along I-95 provide access to Georgia’s coastal islands: Tybee, Sapelo, St. Simons, Sea Island, Little St. Simons, Jekyll and Cumberland. Various towns, along this 90 mile stretch, such as Brunswick, Woodbine, Kingland and St. Marys warrant stops and provide a break from interstate traffic.
[Photograph of cars crossing by ferry near Hofwyl Plantation, Glynn County, Georgia, 1910 I Vanishing Georgia collection]