There are perhaps a few hundred places to stay along the pristine coast of Georgia, but none captures the true essence of Southern coastal living quite like the grand dame: The King and Prince Resort. Its majestic stucco buildings command a stunning ocean front locale on historic St. Simon’s Island. Once you’ve stepped inside, greeted by the friendly staff, it’s as if tensions melt away, taking the worries of frantic, email, text-happy living right along with them. This is truly the kind of loafers-no-socks ease that lets every visitor feel instantly like an honored guest, and for a few days at least, as part of the privileged few. Count on traditional Southern gentility from every staff member, from the wide welcoming smiles of the front desk staff to the attentive wait staff who serve frosty drinks and delicious sandwiches, snacks and drinks poolside.
Originally built as a private dance club in 1935, The King and Prince was established soon after prohibition ended, offering its members and guests a welcoming spot to unwind while perfecting a foxtrot, Charleston or waltz. Its sweeping ballrooms, vast ceilings and the only ocean-front restaurant on the island make the ambiance one of a kind. But happily, nothing about this grand hotel feels stuffy or formal. There’s a kind, easy atmosphere you can’t help but notice. Guests of all ages find something special to appreciate.
For families, it’s the carefree confidence of spending precious moments with little ones building sand castles and dipping their tiny feet into the gentle ocean waves. Poolside, Moms and Dads appreciate the freedom to order drinks, snacks and sandwiches served to their delighted brood at tables surrounding the pool. Kids like not having to stop and dress to eat lunch. Burgers taste best eaten in a swimsuit in the shade. Parents appreciate the simple luxury of having time to spend together without wrestling their water babies into shorts and shoes. Everybody wins!
It’s easy to spend your days simply relishing the luxury of free time, strolling on the beach or baking by the pool. But once your batteries recharge and you’re ready for something more active, St. Simon’s offers plenty to do. Rent bicycles for the day or week from Ocean Motion, a shop so close it’s practically part of the resort. Once you pick out the perfect bike, the island is yours! Head into town to explore the quaint shops, candy store, ice cream shop, and a wonderful pier that extends out from the village far into the ocean. Ambitious cyclists might want to head for Fort Frederica, a spectacular state park built around the ruins of a pre-revolutionary Fort. Picnicking on the grounds at tables under the live oaks will be a highlight of your vacation.
Another fun way to explore St. Simon’s is by kayak. Treat yourself to an excursion with SouthEast Adventure Outfitters. Whether you set out on the marsh or down Cathead Creek, kayaking is an exhilarating way to get close to the water and see the birds and, if you’re lucky, playful dolphins. Paddling is easy and relaxing. And because the guides know a lot about the island’s ecology and history, their commentary makes this family-friendly activity educational as well as fun. Those interested in fishing can rent gear and drop a line off the fishing pier downtown, or join one of the several fishing charters available for an offshore adventure.
Despite all there is to do in St. Simon’s, you just might find yourself drawn to the simple pleasure of doing nothing at all. Many guests report their favorite memories are made during the warm afternoons at the beach, watching crabs scurry or children push shovels in the sand and “dig to China.” As the pelicans dive for fish and the gentle waves lap the shore, the sounds of laughter are all around. Time seems to stand still, just for a moment, as families escape the hurried pace of the everyday back home and fall into a new, more relaxed pattern that connects all ages. Many families visit with multi-generations, from vibrant seniors to infants blinking in the sun and toddlers taking their first tentative steps in sand. Little ones and school age children blossom as they run in and out of the ocean, taking breaks to peer into holes and gather shells and sticks. Groups of teens gather to toss a ball or try one of the low rider bicycles for rent on the beach. Easy pedaling sends riders speeding down the beach, and there’s a smile on every face.
Even a few precious days at the King and Prince Beach Resort on Georgia’s St. Simon’s Island can refuel the spirit and reconnect loved ones. It’s hard to think of anything this gracious seaside retreat doesn’t offer. But in the end, the most important thing most visitors find is a sense of themselves and those they love. Truly, a trip to St. Simon’s will be packed with memories to cherish for a lifetime. Visitors return home feeling they’ve escaped the business of modern life, and connected to the gentle Southern seaside life that will forever endure the test of time.