Family-Friendly Vacation Guide To Georgia’s Golden Isles


Family-Friendly Vacation Guide To Georgia’s Golden Isles

About a six and half hour drive southeast of Chattanooga, you’ll discover Georgia’s Golden Isle beaches. These family-friendly beach destinations, including Jekyll Island and St. Simons Island, offer a peaceful and memorable getaway for you and your family.

We first discovered Jekyll Island when I saw a friend’s post on Facebook. We have since visited Jekyll Island twice. This spring break, we decided to visit its neighboring island, St. Simons. Below I share where we stayed, what we did, and what we ate during our visit to these beautiful islands!

St. Simons Island

Where We Stayed

There are several lodging options on St. Simon’s Island including hotels, resorts, and rentals. We’re a Hilton family (thanks to our Hilton American Express and the hotel points we earn), so we stayed at the Home2 Suites near the St. Simons Airport. Home2 Suites have been the ideal place for our family of five because we can get two queen beds and a pull-out couch, and all rooms have a kitchen. They are also pet friendly hotels, which was great for this trip since we brought along our dog Brian!

What We Did

East Beach

This beach was frequently recommended by locals and online. The beach is just four minutes from our hotel and was the perfect beach to play for the day, take family photos, and catch the sunset.

St. Simons Lighthouse Museum

This was our first time actually seeing a lighthouse in person — it was amazing to say the least! Admission to the St. Simons Lighthouse Museum includes a tour of the lighthouse which allows you to climb 129 steps to the top to enjoy beautiful views of the sea and the islands. There is also a lot of information on the history of the lighthouse and a gift shop.

Frederica Park

Frederica Park was a great option for our kids and our dog to visit. It included botanical walking trails, a playground, and a dog park!

Pier Village Market

If you like to shop when you are on vacation, Pier Village Market has you covered. There are several restaurants, souvenir shops and boutiques in the area. There is also a nearby pier, playgrounds, and pathways that run along the coast. There you can walk and enjoy the sea air and breathtaking views!

What We Ate

La Plancha

We always love finding a good Mexican restaurant when we travel, so we were happy to find La Plancha. Service was great and we were so happy with everything we ate that we almost went back the next night, but we decided we should venture out and try other restaurants instead.

CJ’s Italian Restaurant

Another thing we always seem to get on vacation is pizza, so it was no surprise that we ended up eating at CJ’s Italian Restaurant. Its small space reminded me of the Italian restaurants in NYC, creating an authentic and intimate atmosphere. Our deep-dish pizza was delicious and filling, and the pizza dough they give to kids to play with helped calm my three-year-old from his sleepy breakdown.

Fuse Frozen Co.

While on vacation, my kids and I always want dessert, particularly ice cream or frozen yogurt. Fuse ended up being a place we visited more than once. With several flavor and topping options, there was always something new to try and for everyone to enjoy! They have two locations on the island making it convenient to visit multiple times.

Jekyll Island

Where We Stayed

My morning view from our balcony.

Prior to becoming a Hilton family, I had a Wyndham Rewards credit card which earned points at Wyndham Hotels, which meant that when we visited Jekyll Island, we stayed at the Days Inn Jekyll Island. Days Inn can be hit or miss, but the Jekyll Island location was great. It’s right on the beach, where you can go to bed and wake up to gorgeous views of the ocean. In addition to standard rooms, they also have affordable suites that fit our family well, and have balconies overlooking the ocean.

What We Did

Driftwood Beach

Driftwood Beach is a mystical place that is something like you’ve probably never experienced before! The large ancient driftwood trees scattered around the shoreline make it a fun place to explore and take photos!

Glory Beach

If you were impacted by the 1989 movie “Glory” like I was, you may recognize this beach as the area where the heart-wrenching ending battle scene was filmed (the real-life battle did not occur here; it was at Ft. Wagner, South Carolina). Glory Beach offers miles of pristine beaches where you can relax, enjoy the sound of the waves and walk.

Jekyll Island Historic District

If you happen to love history and are intrigued by the old money era of the Gilded Age, you will love Jekyll Island’s Historic District. There are several old mansions to explore, as well as an old church and some shops to visit.

Jekyll Island Beach Village

Jekyll Island Beach Village offers restaurants and shops where you can find clothes, unique decor, and the perfect souvenirs.

What We Ate

Tortuga Jacks

If you’re searching for the perfect tiki hut beach vibe restaurant while on vacation, Tortuga Jacks is definitely the place! They have a variety of options including seafood and Mexican dishes, and the ambiance can’t be beat!

Driftwood Bistro

We opted to have a bit of a fancier dinner the last time we went, so we checked out Driftwood Bistro. We were impressed with the food we ordered and despite it being a little bit of a more formal atmosphere (compared to other beach dining), it still was kid-friendly and had kids’ menu options.

Where are your favorite places to visit on the Golden Isles? Tell us in the comments below!


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