Why are We Called the Golden Isles?

The Golden Isles is a place well named. A landscape and a legacy that is, in every way, golden. One needs only to witness a gorgeous sunrise over the ocean or bask in the beauty of the sun setting westward beyond the mainland to know the namesake of this stretch of Georgia’s coast.

How did the Golden Isles get its name?

From a historical perspective, the easy answer lies in the fanciful dreams of the coast’s earliest explorers who traveled from afar and waded ashore in pursuit of glittering treasures and riches.  In fact, these lands came to be known in much of the world as the “Golden Islands.” In 1717, in his promising writings, Sir Robert Montgomery, a Scottish nobleman seeking to draw the support of wealthy Londoners in establishing a coastal colony in this area, gave our coast the “well-deserved denomination of the Golden Islands.”

The color gold prevails here; in the hues of our beautiful sandy beaches in the warmth of the summer’s sun, in the shades that paint the vast marsh grasses in winter and in the rich treasures that are experienced here, year-round, by residents and visitors. 

Choose the story or the reason you wish. We invite you to discover for yourself everything that makes these places so irresistibly wonderful and so indisputably golden.

The Land of Five Flags


 The flag of Spain was first raised over Georgia in 1526 when Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón arrived with 600 Spanish colonists to found the ill-fated settlement of San Miguel de Gualdape.


From 1562 to 1564, the flag of France flew here as Jean Ribault, seeking a haven for French Huguenots, explored the Georgia coast and built fortifications. In 1565, Spanish troops expelled the French and re-established their rule until the early 1700s.


In 1736, General James Edward Oglethorpe established Fort Frederica, the most expensive fort in the American colonies, on St. Simons Island. The flag of Great Britain flew here, signifying an era of British dominance that lasted until the American Revolution in 1776 when our first national flag - with 13 stars and 13 stripes - was flown.


The American flag was taken down in 1861 when Georgia joined its sister southern states in seceding from the union. The "Stars and Bars," the flag of the Confederate States of America, flew over the area until early 1862 when Union forces occupied the Georgia coast.



The end of the War Between the States in 1865 began a series of flags that changed as our country grew and new stars - one for each new state - were added. Today's flag, with 50 stars and 13 stripes, waves proudly over our state and nation.