Four beautiful isles—St. Simons, Little St. Simons, Jekyll, and Sea—and a nearby coastal town are known collectively as Brunswick and the Golden Isles of Georgia.
Little St. Simons Island
Little St. Simons Island (though not so little at 10,000 acres) lies only a 15-minute boat ride from its bigger, better-known sister, St. Simons Island.
In terms of development, however, the two islands couldn’t be further apart.
Whereas St. Simons offers residents and the visiting public a variety of condominiums, shopping centers, golf courses, and mini-mansions, Little St. Simons is one of the least developed of Georgia’s barrier islands—a privately owned sanctuary devoted to preserving and protecting its ample wildlife.
Accessible only by boat from Hampton River Marina on St. Simons Island’s north end, Little St. Simons Island is a privately owned barrier island resort offering a limited number of guests the rare opportunity to experience the enchantment and solitude of the isolated beaches and marshlands that bound its10,000 acres of pristine woodlands.
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.
An ideal destination for family reunions and small gatherings, Little St. Simons Island offers guest activities ranging from guided nature walks through the ancient maritime forest (led by a staff naturalist) to canoeing, kayaking, fishing, shell collecting, bicycling, and birding.
Guests may also choose to pass the day relaxing on the porch or enjoying the tranquility of the island’s seven-mile, undeveloped beach.
Little St. Simons Island also provides day trips which include round-trip private vessel transportation, a guided island tour led by an experienced naturalist, a hearty lunch of low country specialties, and an afternoon on seven miles of private beach.
The mainland, port city of Brunswick is named for Braunschweig, Germany, the ancestral home of King George II, grantor of Georgia’s original land charter.
The streets and squares of this quiet port city were laid out in a formal grid similar to Savannah’s and still bear their colonial names—Newcastle, Norwich, Prince, and Gloucester—giving Brunswick a decidedly English flavor.
The unmistakable flavor of the south, too, can be sampled here, home of the original Brunswick Stew.
Docked at the wharf, the array of shrimp boats are ready to trawl the local waters—evidence of the area’s rich seafood industry. Watch the ocean vessels come into port, see the shrimpers unload at the docks along Bay Street, and then sample the catch of the day at one of the fine restaurants.
Historic Downtown Brunswick, also known as the Old Town Brunswick, is enjoying a renaissance, with the ongoing renovation and restoration of historic buildings and public squares. Old Town Brunswick is centered at the intersection of Newcastle and Gloucester Streets, the traditional commercial corridors of the city.
Newcastle Street is anchored on the south end by Old City Hall (1888) with its distinctive clock tower.
At the north end of Newcastle Street is the Historic Ritz Theatre. Built in 1898 as the Grand Opera House, the Ritz Theatre is Brunswick’s center for quality exhibits and performances by local, regional, national, and international artists.
Homes in Old Town reflect a variety of styles dating from 1819, including Queen Anne, Jacobean, Eastlake, Mansard, Gothic, and Italianate architecture. The Brunswick Landmarks Foundation works to educate the public and protect and enhance the special historic character and charm of Old Town.
The downtown district features a growing mix of antique shops, specialty shops, art galleries, theaters, and restaurants.
With ideal weather conditions throughout the year, Brunswick also supports an active and healthy outdoor life.
The beautiful natural scenic landscape invites jogging and walking, from the challenging Sidney Lanier Bridge to the Old Town Brunswick National Historic District and from Mary Ross Waterfront Park to the Howard Coffin Park.
By day, you can try your hand at shrimpin’ aboard the Lady Jane, the only shrimp vessel on the entire east coast that has been certified by the USCG to carry 49 passengers offshore, or fish with any of Brunswick’s local charters.
By night, catch a show at the historic Ritz Theatre or enjoy a unique dinner experience on the Emerald Princess II casino cruise ship sailing seven days a week from Gisco Point near the entrance of Jekyll Island.
Please Note: This is Part 4 of a 5-part series on Brunswick and the Golden Isles of Georgia
The Marshes of Glynn
The range of the marshes, the liberal marshes of Glynn.
And the sea lends large, as the marsh: lo, out of his plenty the sea
Pours fast: full soon the time of the flood-tide must be:
Look how the grace of the sea doth go
About and about through the intricate channels that flow
Here and there,
—Sidney Lanier (1842–1881)