Now that the weather is warming up, it’s time to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather on the Georgia Coast! No matter what you enjoy, we are sure that St. Simons Island will not disappoint with a variety of activities for everyone.
Rent a Bike: Rent a bike from Ocean Motion Surf Co. and explore the island’s 30+ miles of bike paths. Take your bike from our resort straight to the heart of St. Simons Island-the village for a day of shopping, people watching and dining at one of many restaurants. Are you looking to view the beautiful scenery that the island has to offer? Take a look at our blog about specific bike paths on the island.
Hop On A Shrimp Boat: This one of a kind adventure starts in Brunswick, GA where you board the U.S. Coast Guard passenger approved shrimp boat The Lady Jane and head out on the intracoastal waterway. The 2 hour tour includes a lesson on coastal ecology by a marine biologist and a taste of Wild Georgia Shrimp. We know that whether you are young or young at heart, you will enjoy this adventure!
Try Your Hand At Crabbing: If you don’t have your own crab net, stop by St. Simons Bait & Tackle and purchase one (they are located at the foot of the pier) then head over to the pier and see if you can catch any crabs! Crabbing is a fun, interactive activity and you will catch at least one most of the time. Be sure to see what your neighbors are pulling up in their crab nets or on their fishing line.
Spend A Day At The Park: Pack a picnic, bring your friends and head to Neptune Park for a day of fun in the sun. The waterfront park has a playground for the kids and enormous live oaks for the kids to climb on, a picnic area, mini-golf and during certain times of the year they have live music and festivals at the park.
Take A SUP Tour: If you are looking to try something new, stand up paddleboarding (SUP) just might be for you! There are several companies that offer rentals at East Beach but if you are looking for a guided tour, head over to SSI SUP. With their team of pros, you can learn the basics of paddleboarding or take a sunset tour. They even have boards with lights on the bottom!
Nature is alive and well on our small island. All you have to do is take a walk and you are sure to see wildlife wherever you look.
Alligators: There are many ponds where you can see alligators in their natural habitat. They can also be spotted on one of the many golf courses on the island including The King and Prince Golf Course. Just remember- don’t get too close to the alligators.
Dolphins: One of the advantages to being on the coast is the abundance of sea life right outside our door. No matter how many times you’ve seen dolphins swim by, it always feels like the first time when you see them in the ocean. Guests can sometimes spot them from their balconies at our resort and of course, from the beach. Sometimes you can see them while you are enjoying Neptune Park.
Birding: Did you know that St. Simons Island has had a Snowy Owl sighting two years in a row? Of course a Snowy Owl sighting is rare almost anywhere but we also have lots of beautiful birds to see. White Ibis, Egrets, Marsh Wren, Whimbrel, Sandpipers and sometimes even a Peregrine Falcon or a Bald Eagle can be spotted while visiting the island.
Sea Turtles: Although it is uncommon to see Sea Turtles on our shores, they are quite abundant on many of Georgia’s islands. A good place to see them up close and personal and to learn about them, is the Georgia Sea Turtle Center which is just a short drive from the resort.
Since our resort is now pet-friendly, we thought we would share a few activities you can enjoy with Fido!
The Beach: Did you know that St. Simons Island is only one of a handful of places in Georgia and Florida where you can enjoy the beach with your dog? From Labor Day until Memorial Day, leashed dogs are permitted on the beach at any time. From Memorial Day until Labor Day, leashed dogs are permitted on the beach between First Street and Mallery Street after 6pm.
Neptune Park: Located in the heart of the village, Neptune Park is a great place to walk your pup, play catch, throw a frisbee or grill out under the oaks.
Palm Coast Coffee: Grab a bite to eat with your favorite four-legged friend at Palm Coast! They have comfortable outdoor seating for you and your pet to enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner on their patio. When you are finished, take a stroll on Mallery Street for some of the best window-shopping and people watching on the island. Many stores leave water bowls outside so our pets can stay hydrated.
Ride A Bike: St. Simons Island has over 30 miles of paved, well-maintained bike paths. Rent a bike from our friends at Ocean Motion Surf Co. and bring your dog along for the ride!
First Friday in Downtown Brunswick: On the first Friday of each month from 5-8pm, downtown Brunswick comes alive! Complete with wine tastings, gallery receptions, live music and lots of fun. Many people like to bring their dog down for the evening to enjoy the fun with them.
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)
The southern tip of Georgia’s Saint Simons Island is a verdant park next to a friendly little town with great shops and some extraordinary restaurants. From the pier at the foot of the village, the view is across to Jekyll Island, and the passage between sometimes fills with looming super cargo ships passing by on their way in or out of Brunswick harbor.
Several small hotels and inns are nearby, and it’s only a short stroll or bike ride from the celebrated King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort about a mile up the road or up the beach.
There’s a playground area for kids of all ages, sweeping oaks and waterside benches looking across the way and out to sea. The famed Saint Simon’s Lighthouse stands guard there, with its tales of illicit love, violence and ghosts.
But it’s a tale of loyalty, transcendent friendship and bitter irony that defines the spirit of this place, known as Neptune Park.
In the 1830’s, the lower part of the island was owned by the King family, and operated as the Retreat Plantation. Like all plantations of the day, it was self-sustaining. The Kings grew their own food and raised their own livestock, and raised cash crops like cotton and indigo to sell or trade for the things they needed. Like all plantations, it was a place of wealth and power, and its labor was done by a small army of slaves.
It was the custom of the times, when a child was born to the owners of the plantation, for them to reach into their community of slaves and choose a young child to be a playmate and companion for their own child. When Henry Lord Page King was born in 1831, the King family took the slave baby Neptune Small into their house to be friend, playmate, and eventually manservant to young “Lordy” King.
The two boys grew to be fast friends. They did everything together. They hunted in the rich forests of the island. They fished and swam up the east beaches (where the King and Prince stands now, and up to where the old Coast Guard Station would later be built).
They took their lessons together, and although it was rigorously against the law, Mrs. King also taught Neptune to read and write. While Neptune was not free and in the service of his master, the relationship seems to have been more secured by friendship than slavery.
Lordy King grew up to study law and opened a practice in Savannah. On the plantation, Neptune married his true love and had a daughter.
The hostilities between the states broke out, and in 1861 Lordy King enlisted to fight. As was the custom amongst aristocratic families, the men took a manservant with them, and Neptune went north to serve his young man.
King fought valorously at the Peninsula in Richmond and at Sharpsburg, and witnessed the fall of Harper’s Ferry. He seemed invincible, and when a dangerous mission emerged, he was the first and only volunteer.
Lordy was the aide-de-camp of the commander of the division. During the battle at Fredericksburg in December 1862, orders needed to be carried across the battlefield to one of the Brigadier Generals. Instructing Neptune to stay at the camp, Lordy set off to deliver those orders. When night fell, Lordy King had not returned. In the black of night, Neptune went out onto the battlefield to find his friend, and found him killed.
At that point, Neptune was a free man. The law had emancipated him, and his ”owner” was dead. He could simply have walked away. Instead, Neptune Small gathered up the body of Lordy King, and braving the shells and fire of the battle, took him off the battlefield, built a coffin, found a wagon, and carried him from Fredericksburg, Virginia all the way home to Saint Simons Island.
Lordy’s younger brother Richard had enlisted, and Neptune went off to be his servant and protector. He was told that he could stay home with his family, but he refused.
When the war ended, Neptune returned, with Richard unharmed. But they returned to a devastated, destroyed Retreat Plantation, occupied and then razed by Union troops. There was no food and no money, but as recognition for his bravery and loyalty, the King family granted a parcel of land from the old plantation site to Neptune Small. He lived there until his death in 1907.
Lordy King and his family are buried at the cemetery at Christ Church, in a majestic family plot, like those of the other plantation and luminary families of Saint Simons Island. Neptune Small is buried at the former Retreat Plantation, presently the site of the Sea Island Golf Club.
A more fitting memorial, Neptune Park, is the former slave’s old homestead at the tip of Saint Simon’s Island. It stands in testament to the simple human attributes of loyalty and friendship honored by all men and women everywhere.
To learn more about the remarkable history of Saint Simons Island, and to see it for yourself, contact the King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort at www.KingandPrince.com.