Georgia Coast Road Trip Ideas: 4 Great Stops


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Explore the remarkable beauty and vast natural landscape along the Georgia Coast while uncovering precious moments that will last a lifetime.

Here are four of my favorite spots.

St. Simons Island © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

St. Simons Island © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

St. Simons Island

St. Simons Island is the largest of the barrier islands of the “Golden Isles” of Georgia and a must for any Georgia Coast Road Trip. Rich in colonial history, St. Simons Island is home to Fort Frederica National Monument. In 1736, Georgia founder James Oglethorpe brought men and women to St. Simons Island to lay out a military town with a plan to defend Great Britain’s newest colony from the Spanish in Florida.

Once the entrance to Retreat Plantation, the Avenue of the Oaks planted in 1826 is now the grand entrance to the Sea Island Golf Club. Follow the drive around the magnificent double row of 160 year old live oak trees which create the Avenue of the Oaks.

Fort Frederica National Monument on St. Simons Island © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fort Frederica National Monument on St. Simons Island © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jekyll Island

The southernmost island of the Golden Isles, Jekyll Island is one of the most popular islands for Golden Isles visitors, hosting a wide variety of family-friendly activities and attractions. This 5,500 acre island and its 10 miles of shoreline is beautiful to visit any time of year, but it is particularly beautiful in the spring and fall.

Jekyll Island was purchased in 1886 by a group of wealthy families as a private retreat. By 1900, The Jekyll Island Club membership included the Rockefellers, Morgans, Cranes, and Goulds. The Club closed in 1942 and Jekyll Island was purchased by the State of Georgia in 1947.

Jekyll Island Club © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jekyll Island Club © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Today, this era of Jekyll Island’s history can be revisited with a tram tour of the National Historic Landmark District, including many of the opulent mansions their millionaire owners called “cottages.”

Jekyll Island offers an abundance of recreational activities that are sure to please visitors of all ages. A variety of amenities include ten miles of white sand beaches, 63 holes of golf, an outdoor tennis complex, a fishing pier, Jekyll Island dolphin tours, horseback riding tours, nature centers, 20 miles of bike trails, and the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.

Jekyll Island © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jekyll Island © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Located opposite the Clam Creek Picnic Area, and near Driftwood Beach the Jekyll Island Campground offers 18 wooded acres on the Island’s north end with 206 campsites, from tent sites to full hook-up, pull through RV sites with electricity, cable TV, water, and sewerage.

Cumberland Island

Cumberland Island is designated a National Seashore and managed by the National Park Service. Visitors must purchase ferry tickets through the Park Service.

Cumberland Island is the largest barrier island along the Atlantic Coast with the longest expanse of pristine seashore—18 glorious miles of deserted sand. No docks, houses, or other structures interrupt its serene beauty. The island boasts a healthy expanse of vegetated dunes that make it one of the most important nesting spots for loggerhead sea turtles in all of Georgia, and a sanctuary for migrating shore birds.

Dungeness Ruins on Cumberland Island © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Dungeness Ruins on Cumberland Island © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Most visitors come to Cumberland for the natural glories, serenity, and fascinating history. Built by the Carnegies, the ruins of the opulent 59-room, Queen Anne-style Dungeness are a must-see for visitors.

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

I know. The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is about 40 miles inland. But it’s a great stop especially if you want to head west to I-75.

This pristine 680-square-mile wilderness is an ecological wonder. Wetlands provide a critical habitat for abundant wildlife and migratory birds. Take a walk on the 4,000-foot boardwalk and view the prairie from the observation tower. Visitor center offers displays and film. TAKE THE GUIDED BOAT TOUR.

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There are three major entrances and two secondary entrances to Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, each with its own facilities and special character. From the open, wet “prairies” of the east side to the forested cypress swamps on the west, Okefenokee is a mosaic of habitats, plants, and wildlife.

No matter if you park yourself at one destination or road trip to a handful, a Georgia Coast Road Trip is sure to bring up happy memories for years to come!

What about Savannah and Tybee Island? They’re on my radar for our next RV trip to the Southeastern Atlantic Coast.

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

Georgia, Georgia, the whole day through

Just an old sweet song keeps Georgia on my mind.

Georgia, Georgia, a song of you

Comes as sweet and clear as moonlight through the pines

—Georgia On My Mind, lyrics by Stuart Gorrell, written by Hoagy Carmichael (1930), recorded by Ray Charles (1960), official state song of the State of Georgia (1979)

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