I know my friends up north are still dealing with cold weather and even snow in some areas, but down here in the South, spring weather is officially here. Spring weather in Florida is basically an early summer which means that it is time for beach vacations! Since it looks like it’s going to be a beautiful weekend in many parts of the country, I thought I’d share a bit of beach inspiration today!
An excellent beach destination that is known to many Georgia/North Florida folks as a favorite summer weekend getaway is St. Simons Island. About halfway between Savannah, GA and Jacksonville, FL (a little over an hour from each), it is very easy to get to. There’s plenty to do for a whole weekend, but it could also be a fun day trip if you are staying in a larger city nearby.
An obvious highlight of St. Simons Island is the beach. While it does get crowded, it still feels fairly peaceful as there isn’t much development along the shoreline. There are 41 beach accesses (see map below) and while the two public beaches are Massingale Park Beach and Coast Guard Station Beach, I believe you can park at any of the accesses as long as you respect the homeowners nearby.
When you’ve had your fill of sun, or if you’re not much of a beach-goer to begin with, there are plenty of other activities. We enjoyed visiting the St. Simon’s Lighthouse and learned that it is still an active lighthouse, providing navigational aid and operating as a museum. To give you a bit of history, the original lighthouse was built in 1811, but it was destroyed in the Civil War and a replacement was completed in 1872. Another interesting historical destination is Fort Frederica. Construction of the fort began in 1736 as a means to protect residents of the Province of Georgia from invasion by the Spanish from Florida.
Another fun activity in St. Simons Island is shopping. If you walk down Mallery St. to the pier, you will pass by several cute boutiques and tourist shops. I found several cute dresses at Meo’s Suite. Their staff was so fun to work with and they carry a great collection of trendy items. Just down the street is St. Simon’s Sweets, which will easily fulfill your need for candy and chocolate for the weekend. The candy is not only delicious, but also pretty to look at! It is a fun stop if you have kids or just want to please your sweet tooth!
As for food, our favorite restaurant (and arguably the most famous restaurant in St. Simons Island) was Barbara Jean’s. We went to brunch at Barbara Jean’s based on a recommendation from our friend Hope, who has vacationed in SSI several times, and we loved it! Barbara Jean’s is a family run restaurant that specializes in seafood and Southern home-style cooking. The food was excellent and very filling. If you aren’t planning to go to SSI (or the locations in Ponte Vedra or Amelia Island, FL) anytime soon, you can buy a Barbara Jean’s Cookbook to make her most famous recipes at home. What to eat: She Crab Soup, Crab Cakes, desserts
If you want to dress up a bit (and take that with a grain of salt since this is a beach town after all), the Frederica House is a great place to go for a nice meal and glass of wine. All of the meals are made with fresh ingredients and the seafood is purchased from local shrimpers and fisherman to bring you the best seafood available from the local Georgia coast. What to eat: Shrimp platter, seafood platter
When you’re shopping on Mallery St., a great place to stop for happy hour is the Blue Water Bistro. There are large glass windows, allowing for beautiful views of the ocean, and the location is very convenient. What to eat: Enjoy a draft beer, fish dip, and the views.
For after hours fun, Palm Coast is the best place to enjoy live music and drinks. They serve craft beer and coffee and bring in great local and regional bands. It is such a fun spot to dance the night away and people watch! We had a blast at Palm Coast and I highly recommend it. The local favorite has a very welcoming and cozy vibe and the decor makes you feel like you are just going over to a friend’s house for a party. We didn’t get a chance to eat at Palm Coast, but the breakfast menu looks delicious. Don’t miss this gem!
This post makes me want to return to St. Simons Island. We may need to plan a weekend trip there this summer! Who wants to take a beach trip? Have you ever been to St. Simons Island? If so, what are your favorite things to do? If not, what are some of your favorite coastal destinations?
Barbara Jean’s, 214 Mallery St, Saint Simons Island, GA 31522
Frederica House, 3611 Frederica Rd, Saint Simons Island, GA 31522
Blue Water Bistro, 115 Mallery St, Saint Simons Island, GA 31522
Palm Coast, 318 Mallery St, Saint Simons Island, GA 31522
St. Simons Lighthouse, 610 Beachview Dr, Saint Simons Island, GA 31522
Fort Frederica, 6515 Frederica Rd, Saint Simons Island, GA 31522
Meo’s Suite, 311 Mallery St, Saint Simons Island, GA 31522
St. Simons Sweets, 229 Mallery St, Saint Simons Island, GA 31522