A Weekend of Golden Isles History
If you only have a long weekend for a quick vacation, and you want to explore some Golden Isles history, this is the perfect trip idea for you! Learn more about history on the coast of Georgia at these can't-miss stops.
Begin in the north near I-95 (exit 42), at Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation, now part of the Georgia State Park system. Tour the home of Ophelia Dent, decorated with many of her family heirlooms and furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries. Explore acres of sprawling live oak trees and marvel at one of the oldest magnolia trees in Georgia.
Stop for lunch in Pier Village on St. Simons Island, and then tour the famous St. Simons Island Lighthouse and keeper's dwellings. Climb the 129 steps to the top for amazing, 360-degree views of the surrounding areas. Then head over to the state-of-the-art World War II Home Front Museum and uncover what life was like for our coast during the war. If you have time, visit some more St. Simons Island historic sights like the Bloody Marsh Battle Site.
Finish day one with a sunset stroll at Gascoigne Bluff, which was once a booming lumber yard and the site where live oaks were harvested to construct the U.S.S. Constitution and the Brooklyn Bridge. Find the perfect place to grab a bite to eat before turning in for the day.
Begin day two with breakfast on St. Simons Island before visiting Fort Frederica National Monument, the site where English settlers created their new township along the Frederica River. Take a tour of the grounds and watch a historical video to get the most out of this stop.
Afterward, travel a short distance down Frederica Road for a walk beneath the very oaks John and Charles Wesley preached before they returned to England to help found the Methodist Church. While you're at Christ Church, spend some time walking around the gorgeous grounds of the Historic Christ Church Cemetery. Don't forget your camera for this stop!
Complete your second day of history by touring the Arthur J. Moore Methodist Museum, and explore the grounds of Epworth By The Sea along the bend in the Frederica River. If you have time, visit the Historic Hamilton Plantation Cabins and Grounds to learn a bit more about St. Simons Island's history.
On your final day of history, head over to Jekyll Island ($8 toll) to discover why the Jekyll Island National Historic Landmark District is one of the largest ongoing restoration projects in the southeastern United States. Explore the historic district in the morning before grabbing lunch at one of Jekyll Island's restaurants with a view.
We recommend spending the rest of the afternoon exploring the island's other historic sites including the Horton House and the Mosaic Jekyll Island Museum. If you're interested in more, take a Historic District tram tour for a guided version of your morning self-guided tour in the same area. You can even uncover the story of America's last known slave ship, the Wanderer, by taking a walk on the Wanderer Memory Trail found alongside the Jekyll River.
In the evening, head to Historic Downtown Brunswick. If you get to Brunswick early, stop by each of the Signature Squares of Brunswick, and learn more about each of these unique spaces and how they fit into Brunswick's history.
Complete your weekend history tour of the Golden Isles with a visit to the Historic Ritz Theatre. You might even be able to catch a show if you time it right! Afterward, shop and dine along Newcastle Street and catch yet another beautiful sunset along Mary Ross Waterfront Park, beside hard-working shrimp boats that have been tucked in for the night. And be sure to take a look at the memorial in the park to Brunswick's Liberty Ships.