The Golden Isles is a unique destination along the coast of Georgia consisting of pristine beaches, fun activities, historic attractions, and famous southern hospitality. In addition to the historic port city of Brunswick, there are four beautiful barrier islands that make up the Golden Isles: St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island, and Jekyll Island. Over the years, the Golden Isles have been given praise by some of the travel and tourism industry’s most reliable sources for its islands’ attractions, renowned resort accommodations, untouched beaches, world-class restaurants and famous barbeque, and outdoor leisure activities.
Read what some of the most trustworthy travel sources have to say about the Golden Isles:
St. Simons Island
St. Simons Island is the largest barrier island in the Golden Isles. The island’s villages offer a charming and unique selection of shops, plus a variety of restaurants ranging from fine dining to casual outdoor fare. St. Simons Island is dotted with exceptional historic sites and attractions that are sure to interest those of all ages.
Condé Nast Traveler is one of the most trusted names in travel. The magazine was established on a simple yet revolutionary principle: “Truth in Travel.” With the goal of experiencing the world exactly as their readers do, its correspondents travel anonymously and pay their own way. The Readers’ Choice Awards by Condé Nast Traveler ranked St. Simons Island #5 of the Top 10 Islands in the United States in 2013.
The Readers’ Poll by Condé Nast Traveler for the Top Golf Resorts in the World ranked The Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club #12 in the 2012 Top 25 Southern U.S. Golf Resorts and #13 in the 2011 Top 20 Southern U.S. Golf Resorts. The Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club is a Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond property located on the southern end of St. Simons Island. This is a premier hideaway for those seeking privacy and classic luxury. It is also, most assuredly, a golfer's paradise. The Lodge and its 40 guest rooms are secluded, inviting, and grand.
Another dependable source, Travel + Leisure magazine, named The Lodge at Sea Island #1 Top Resorts in the Continental U.S for 2013 and #16 in its World's Best Hotels for 2013. The Lodge was also recognized in past years in the T+L 500 (2011, 2010) lists and World's Best Hotels (2010, 2009) lists in past years. Travel + Leisure combines expert reporting on culture, food, styles, and design with stunning photography, transporting readers to the places – and the travel experiences – that matter now.
Southern Living celebrates the best of life in the South, both in their content and through publications and programs that enrich the lives of more than 15 million devoted readers around the world. In May 2013, Southern Living acknowledged St. Simons Island as one of the “10 Best Weekend Getaways: Coastal Road Trip.”
Southern Living proclaimed Southern Soul Barbeque on St. Simons Island as #2 for “Best Rib-Sticking Joints” for the 2013 ‘Cue Awards from across the region, and #2 for Reader’s Pick of “The South’s Best Butt - Top Pork Sandwich” in June 2012. This popular barbeque spot attracts residents and visitors alike with its lingering aroma of smoked pork and savory soul food, eclectic design and outdoor seating, and its welcoming family-friendly environment. Patrons enjoy this casual dining experience, which is a ‘must-do’ when visiting the island. Southern Soul Barbeque has famously been featured in and on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives”, TLC’s “BBQ Pit Masters”, Garden & Gun magazine, Georgia Trend magazine, and The Huffington Post.
Reached by causeway from St. Simons Island is a Forbes Five-Star resort, The Cloister on Sea Island. From its inception, The Cloister at Sea Island has been defined by legendary elegance. Generations of discriminating guests have returned again and again to this secluded coastal retreat.
The Cloister at Sea Island has made quite the impression on Condé Nast Traveler correspondents and readers, making the Gold List 2013 for Georgia Hotels & Resorts. The Readers’ Choice Awards 2013 by Condé Nast Traveler ranked The Cloister at Sea Island #4 - Top 20 Resorts in the South, #8 - Top 100 U.S. Resort Spas, and #48 - Top 100 Hotels & Resorts in the World.
The Readers’ Poll by Condé Nast Traveler for the Top Golf Resorts in the World ranked The Cloister at Sea Island #7 in the 2012 Top 25 Southern U.S. Golf Resorts and #3 in the 2011 Top 20 Southern U.S. Golf Resorts.
Travel + Leisure magazine ranked The Cloister at Sea Island as #2 Top Resorts in the Continental U.S. and The Spa #4 in the United States for 2013. Additionally, Travel & Leisure included The Cloister as part of its T+L 500 list for the past 4 years in a row (2013, 2012, 2011, 2010), and also designated the resort as one of the World's Best Hotels (2013, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007).
Little St. Simons Island
The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island secured a spot on the Gold List 2013 for Georgia Hotels & Resorts by Condé Nast Traveler. Additionally, The Huffington Post Travel identified The Lodge as one of Summer’s Sweetest All-Inclusive Family Resorts.
Accessible only by boat from Hampton River Marina on St. Simons Island’s north end, Little St. Simons Island is a privately owned, 10,000-acre barrier island resort. Known for its privacy, The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island features six charming cottages, several of which date back to the early 1900s, that can host a total of 32 guests at one time.
The Readers’ Poll by Condé Nast Traveler for the Top Golf Resorts in the World ranked The Jekyll Island Club Hotel #21 in the 2012 Top 25 Southern U.S. Golf Resorts.
The southernmost island of the Golden Isles, Jekyll Island is owned by the State of Georgia and offers a variety of accommodation types, ranging from fine resort hotels to rustic camping and visitors can enjoy an abundance of recreational activities and amenities including: ten miles of white sand beaches, 63 holes of golf, an outdoor tennis complex, a waterpark, fishing pier, nature centers, 20 miles of bike trails, and the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. Additionally, Jekyll Island’s history can be dramatically revisited with a tram tour of the National Historic Landmark District, including many of the opulent mansions their millionaire owners called “cottages”.
Jekyll Island has also received recognition for having the one of finest beaches in the world by travel journalist Jim Byers of TheStar.com.
After all these accolades, why not plan your trip? Getting here is easy no matter what mode of transportation you choose: by ground, by air, or by sea. Take time to explore the rich history and culture full of legendary hospitality. Experience the temperate climate and untouched stretches of Georgia’s coastline while discovering the tranquility that visitors have enjoyed for generations.