Many of our guests rent bikes while they are on the island-or even bring their own from home. Exploring the island by bike is a great way to get around during your stay or to explore the island just for a day. Ocean Motion bike shop sits right at the foot of The King and Prince Resort and they have many adult and children’s bike options available.
Route 1: The Marsh & East Beach
Georgia’s coastal marshland accounts for nearly 378,000 acres of land on the back side of the six barrier islands. The marsh behind East Beach is a wonderful area to view nature at its best. You will see fiddler crabs, shore birds such as egrets, sandpipers, gulls, oyster catchers and raccoons.
While riding through the East Beach neighborhood, you will see the quaint side of St. Simons Island.
The Route: Turn right onto Ocean Boulevard. You will stay on Ocean Boulevard for a little over a mile while you ride along the marsh. Then, turn right onto 15th Street in the East Beach neighborhood. 15th Street will dead-end into Bruce Drive. When you turn onto Bruce Drive you will be at Gould’s Inlet which is a nice place to watch the shore birds or relax on the beach (at low tide). Continue on Bruce Drive and then make a right onto 1st Street. You will then make a left back onto Ocean Boulevard to ride back to the hotel. (See map below)
Route 2: Bike Ride to The Village
The pier and village area of St. Simons is the heart of the island. There is so much to see and do! This bike ride will take you partially along Beachview Drive which runs parallel to the ocean. Enjoy the sea breeze and look out for dolphins in the water along your bike ride. Once you reach the village, you will ride past the lighthouse and Neptune Park and into the heart of the village. There are several bike racks where you can leave your bike while you explore all of the shops and restaurants this area has to offer.
The Route: From the resort, make a left onto Beachview Drive. Beachview will dead-end and turn into 5th Street as you make a right turn. After you make the right, make a left onto Ocean Boulevard. Stay on Ocean Boulevard as you pass the elementary school and then make a left onto 7th Street. As you ride down 7th street, it will turn into Oglethorpe Avenue which will take you past the lighthouse and Neptune Park and finally into the village. (See map below)
There’s no better way to unwind on vacation than on a bike. Just a short walk from The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons Island, Ocean Motion offers a variety of bikes for all riders. Local maps clearly delineate the major bike paths as you embark on your tour, complete with the tangy salt smell of the sea filling the breeze as you glide by. The beaches are a natural avenue of sand, and you can ride from the village at the island’s southernmost tip all the way up to a breathtaking inlet. You might see a mighty cargo ship as it follows the channel out to sea from Brunswick. You’ll ride past pretty beach cottages and stunning modern beach homes alike. Look out to sea and you’ll probably see a small pod of dolphins that likes to play just outside the breakers.
Further up the beach, you can visit the old Coast Guard and Maritime Museum. Built 150 or so years ago, the station sits several hundred yards from the beachfront. Once it was right at water’s edge where the Coast Guard could launch its rescue boats, but the powerful tides and drifting sand have changed the ocean front face of the island. The Maritime Museum features numerous galleries that feature both the history of the island and its ecology. It’s a great place to learn about this island’s beaches, marshes and forests.
Cross the East Beach Causeway – a two lane road across a beautiful section of marsh – to find the site of The Battle of Bloody Marsh. James Oglethorpe led the colonization of Georgia for Great Britain, beginning to fortify St. Simon’s Island in the 1730’s against the Spanish in Florida. Tensions over trade and border disputes between England and Spain were at a boiling point, and the path up the eastern coast north of Georgia was potentially a clear road of conquest for Spain.
A Spanish attack led by Spanish Governor Don Manuel De Montiano from St. Augustine was met by Oglethorpe. Montiano’s vastly outnumbered force was quickly driven off the island, not to return, on July 18, 1742. This decisive victory likely saved Georgia and the early colonies from Spanish rule. The battleground is so named for claims that the marsh ran red with the blood of Spanish soldiers. In truth, only seven were killed. There’s not much there now but a monument and a plaque, a great view across the marsh and a somber atmosphere of history.
Some seven miles or so north is Fort Frederica, with a monument and visitor’s center commemorating the archaeological remnants of a fort and town built by Oglethorpe between 1736 and 1748. About 630 British troops and 500 colonial residents lived in the fort and town. By 1749, however, the Spanish no longer threatened the colony and the government disbanded the garrison. The village soon fell into economic decline, and by 1755 it was mostly abandoned. A fire in 1758 sealed the town’s fate. A charming visitor’s center with film presentations, walking paths, and a number of restorative archaeological digs give a great picture of early colonial life.
Back at the village, the famed St. Simon’s Lighthouse, one of only a few major lighthouses remaining on the southern coast, dominates a waterside park just a walk across the street from restaurants and shops in a tiny, friendly little metropolis.
In its current iteration the lighthouse is a fully automated aid to navigation, but its history goes all the way back to 1804. At that time, the finished structure stood 85 feet tall and was constructed entirely from tabby, a local material comprised largely of oyster shells. It was an 8 sided pyramid, the top of which was an iron lantern ten feet high. Destroyed by the Confederates in 1862 to prevent its use by invading Union forces, it was rebuilt in 1872, including a new Victorian style Keeper’s cottage. The keeper and his assistant shared the dwelling. Tempers flared one Sunday morning in March 1880 between the head keeper and his assistant, leaving the keeper, Frederick Osborne, dead.
In 2004, the lighthouse was deeded to the Coastal Georgia Historical Society under the Lighthouse Preservation Act. Evidently, Fred remained; his footsteps in the tower have been heard by the wives of later keepers … and by lighthouse visitors.
Saint Simon’s Island is rich with history and many other historical sites. Don’t miss Christ Church, for instance, visited frequently by American presidents, and the home of a story of loyalty and love that is pure inspiration. On the very same road, approaching Fort Frederica be sure to visit the first African church in America, built by slaves, for slaves.
To learn more about Saint Simon’s Island, history tours, beaches, marshes and ghosts, contact the King and Prince Resort at www.kingandprince.com.