Southern Living Magazine, a staple in most southern homes and revered almost as much as The Bible itself, recently released its inaugural list of the South’s Best awards. The list celebrates the spectacular sights, inspiring destinations, and cultural institutions that define the South in 2017. Southern Living surveyed more than 22,000 readers on the best-loved places in several categories, and it’s no surprise to us to see the Golden Isles recognized throughout the lists.

South’s Best Island

St. Simons Island claimed the #2 spot on the list of South’s Best Islands. Known for its laid-back atmosphere, friendly locals and picturesque landscape, St. Simons Island is the perfect escape for weekend getaways, summer vacations, or even permanent residence. Don’t miss: the St. Simons Island Tree Spirits.

Jekyll Island also landed a spot on this list, coming in at #7. With majority of the island protected from future development, Jekyll Island is truly a nature-lover’s paradise. Explore the island’s 20 miles of paved bike paths as you wind through marshes and maritime forests. Don’t miss: Driftwood Beach.

South’s Best Resort

The Cloister has gained recognition with Southern Living as the #6 Best Resort. The resort recently added 63 new rooms to its Garden Wing and completed an expansion of Tavola, one of Sea Island’s nine onsite restaurants. Don’t miss: The Georgian Room, Georgia’s only Forbes Five-Star restaurant.

South’s Best Hotel

Jekyll Island Club Hotel earned the #3 spot on the list of Best Hotels. The hotel was once the private retreat for some of America’s most wealthy families, and was even the site of the first transatlantic phone call. Its idyllic setting in the Jekyll Island National Historic Landmark District provides ample opportunities to step into the past. Don’t miss: an alfresco meal at the Courtyard at Crane.

South’s Best BBQ Joint

Southern Soul reigns supreme on this list, boasting the #1 position. Chances are pretty good that if you’ve visited St. Simons Island anytime over the last couple of years, you’ve been able to smell their smokers literally from miles away. It’s a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike. Don’t miss: anything on their menu, seriously.

It’s no secret that the Golden Isles is a very special place. From award-winning accommodations, islands and restaurants, you won’t be disappointed. Take advantage of these deals and specials as you plan your next visit to the Golden Isles.