Former home to Native Americans, Spanish missionaries and English militia, St. Simon’s Island is the 3rd largest island on the Georgia coast and the most developed, providing activities for everyone from the history buff, to the laid back beach comber, to families with kids of all ages. For those of us looking to keep the kids entertained, the best place to begin is at the Pier. Filled with shops and restaurants, at least one parent should be able to sneak in a little R&R while the other parent amuses the kids on the playground or helps them fish from the pier. When it was my turn to watch the kids, I always stopped by the library and picked up a magazine to read. My husband, a confirmed history buff, spent his time wandering to the nearby St. Simon’s lighthouse. For the adventurous family, I recommend the St. Simon’s Island ghost tour, a walking tour around the Pier and nearby sites filled with tales of nefarious deeds, strange phenomena, and legends. Plus, she points out faces that have been carved by an anonymous artist into several of the trees.
For anyone with a taste for the past, Fort Frederica offers a fascinating glimpse of colonial life. Built as a buffer colony between the English holdings in the Carolinas’ and the Spanish holdings in Florida by James Oglethorpe, the founder of Georgia, it became obsolete by the 1770′s. Today, people are allowed to wander among the ruins of the fort and see the remains of the English barricks and “magazine” where the ammunition was stored. Be warned! If you go on a day that says “Deerfly level is high,” wear plenty of insect repellent. The Park Rangers are friendly and eager to answer questions. The last time we visited the Ranger drove up on a golf cart and gave us an impromptu tour and history lesson.
After leaving Fort Frederica be sure to stop by Christ’s Church, which was built to be a mission for the English soldiers and the colony. The services were provided by Charles Wesley, yep, the famous one, who later became disillusioned by life in the colonies and returned to England.
Of course for those of us who just like to play in the sand and then have a meal at a deli or burger joint, there’s plenty of options. Our family likes to mix it up and enjoy all of these activities, although the kids would nix the historical ones and stay at the beach.
Have you visited the Georgia coastal islands? Which is your favorite? For more Georgia island fun, check out my post on neighboring Jekyll Island.