Why not start each year being super motivated and aiming for the stars? Obviously that’s a great idea. We should all want to start off trying to be a better version of ourselves!
Whether it’s related to work, relationships, or just self-improvement, most of us seem to start each New Year with new goals. Whether you’re finally getting around to starting that house project, or simply switching your focus, 2016 is the time to embrace change. Planning ahead and setting goals are the only way to grow.
Here’s a list of ideas to help jump start your 2016 as The Time To…
There’s lots of history to be found on St. Simons Island, starting with Fort Frederica, Bloody Marsh, or Christ Church. You can even sign up for a trolley tour with Lighthouse Trolleys or Colonial Trolley and get a complete run down on EVERYTHING you need to know about St. Simons Island.
…Make New Family Memories!
When’s the last time you had a professional update the family portrait? This time of year can be a little slower on the family schedules, why not take advantage of the time update the photos? Before spring and summer, you may even be able to get an awesome schedule with someone like Bobbi Brinkman Photography.
…Get a Different Perspective!
Have you ever seen the island from the air? Wilco Aviation offers 4 different packages for you to see the Golden Isles from a bird’s eye view.
…Broaden your Horizons!
Change your horizons by taking a water tour. In the Golden Isles, there’s lots of ways to take advantage of this. You can try paddleboarding the ocean with SSI SUP or take a tour through the famed Marshes of Glynn with a kayak rental from Southeast Adventures.
Embrace 2016 each day and remember that Now is the Time To DO SOMETHING!
Although we could write a long list of reasons why everyone should visit our island paradise, we whittled it down to our top five:
5. Spectacular Sunrises & Sunsets. Even if you aren’t a morning person, we recommend waking up early and watching the sunrise. You can view it from the beach, from our pool deck or even from your oceanfront balcony! Although you can sometimes catch a gorgeous sunset from the resort, the best place on the island to catch one is from the pier in the village.
4. Golf. With over 200 holes of golf to be played on St. Simons Island and the surrounding areas, the Golden Isles are a golfers paradise! The King and Prince Golf Course on the north end of St. Simons offers some of the best golf around and they often have specials available for resort guests!
3. Delicious Food. With a variety of options to choose from, you will never leave the island hungry! From Italian at Tramici, to coastal cuisine at Halyards and Crabdaddys, to award winning BBQ at Southern Soul, to oceanfront dining at it’s best at ECHO, you will find delicious food around every corner.
2. Pristine Beaches. Our beaches are relatively undeveloped. You will not find high-rise buildings along our shore. Just seaside cottages and homes. We have small waves which are perfect for young swimmers and our shores littered with footprints…..not trash.
1. Outdoor Activities. There is something for everyone to enjoy on our small island. We have miles of bike paths around the island, golf, fishing, paddleboard lessons and rentals, kayak tours, parks for the little ones to enjoy and even a shrimp boat you can hop on to explore our waterways!
First Friday in Downtown Brunswick: Friday, June 6th- Take a stroll down Newcastle Street & Gloucester Street in downtown Brunswick and visit the shops, restaurants and galleries that call the port city home. There will be live music from local musicians, restaurant specials and art openings.
Georgia Sea Island Festival: Saturday & Sunday, June 7th & 8th at Gascoigne Park- This annual festival celebrates the African American traditions, crafts and food of Georgia’s barrier islands. For more information, visit their website.
The 24th Annual Golden Isles Family Fishing Event: Saturday, June 7th from 8:30am to 12pm- Bring the family out to the Sidney Lanier Fishing Pier for a morning of fishing and family fun! There will be free food and free rods and tackle boxes for all participants! The event is free of charge for the first 125 registered children ages 5-12. For more information, visit the Coastal DNR website.
Second Sunday at Gascoigne Bluff: June 8th from 1-7pm- Grab your family and friends and head out to the park for an afternoon of live music underneath majestic oak trees. There will be raffles, activities for the kids and of course, lots of fun! Each month, second Sunday benefits a local charity.
“A Little Light Music” Featuring Island Garage Band: June 8th 7pm on the lighthouse lawn- Bring your friends and family, pack a picnic and enjoy an evening under the stars while listening to live music at the ocean’s edge. Admission is $12 per person. Children under 12 are free.
Eco Lecture Series at Village Creek Landing: Tuesday, June 17th. Bar opens at 5pm, lecture begins at 6pm- Guest speaker and Satilla riverkeeper Ashby Nix will discuss protecting Georgia’s coastal rivers with the group. Admission is $10 and space is limited. Please RSVP by visiting VillageCreekLanding.com.
Canopy of the Oaks Festival: Saturday, June 28th 10am to 10pm- Bring your family and friends for a day of music and fun at Gascoigne Bluff Park. There will be live music, kids activities, an arts and crafts market and a disc golf tournament.
St. Simons Island Antique Show: Saturday & Sunday, June 28th & 29th from 9am to 5pm- Antique dealers from across the Southeast will be under the oaks in Postell Park by the Pier. Admission and parking are free!
Meeting planners all too often face the quandary: how to entertain and occupy attendees beyond the confines of the conference halls. Holding your next meeting or conference on St. Simons Island presents a variety of boutiques, restaurants, and activities to accommodate the most diverse group of meeting guests. Below is just a glimpse of what your attendees can do in their free time!
As seen in Popular Mechanics and the cable television show, National Geographic, SouthEast Adventure Outfitters provides marine lovers plenty of adventures, including fishing, kayaking and a variety of boat tours.
Ocean Motion Surf Company also rents kayaks and even bikes to explore the island.
St. Simons Island has no shortage of specialty shops. From antiques and crafting to clothing and home decor, the shops here will appeal to everyone
Even non-antique lovers appreciate the artifacts housed at Oglethorpe Antiques. Showcasing French and English treasures from the 18th and 19th century, the antique, flooring and interior design boutique sells rare finds, comparable to a museum.
There’s also the Tabby House, an old slave cabin, filled with gifts, home accents and textiles.
Craft hobbyists may be drawn to the yarn, canvasses, and resources at the Stitchery of St. Simons.
Whether it’s to buy art, create it, or attend an artist’s opening, the Glynn Art Gallery presents a group alternative to shopping and outdoor activities, especially during those days when the weather is uncooperative.
Have history buffs in attendance? The area boasts historic churches, battle sites, plantations, historical trolley tours, and more.
With hundreds of other places to shop, dine and play, St. Simons Island eases planning activities outside the confines of the meeting hall.
This is only a sneak preview of everything the island has to offer! For more information about activities on St. Simons Island and the surrounding area, check out our extensive activity guide here!
Any time of the year is a good time to visit our island paradise but here are our top 5 reasons why St. Simons Island should be on your list this winter.
5. Quiet Beaches. Wintertime gives islanders and visitors alike the chance to enjoy our pristine beaches without the crowds of the summer. Whether you are going for a morning walk or reading a book, you may find that while there are others on the beach, it is peaceful and calm. St. Simons Island was also named one of America’s 10 Best Winter Beach Retreats by Yahoo Travel.
4. Coastal Beauty. Although we are partial to St. Simons, it is by far one of the most special and beautiful places in the U.S.. It is easy to get lost in the beauty of the Golden Isles. From the salt marshes to the maritime forests, pristine beaches, as well as splendid sunrises and sunsets. Nothing compares to the beauty that is all around you-and in the heart of the people on St. Simons Island. When you visit, be sure to take time to learn about the history of the island by visiting the Lighthouse or taking a tour of Fort Frederica. If you are up for an adventure, take a guided kayak tour with Southeast Adventure Outfitters.
3. Moderate Temperatures. While lows can get into the 40’s, temperatures normally range from the 60’s to 80’s during the winter months in the Golden Isles. While it does rain, skies stay mostly clear and sunny which is great for golfers and those who like to walk on the beach. Who doesn’t love a nice, sunny day? There are plenty of days filled with sunshine on St. Simons Island.
2. Great Prices. If you are looking for a great deal on a hotel room, house or condo, prices will usually be lower during the winter. Nightly, weekly and even monthly rates are often more affordable. Whether you are a family looking for a fun getaway, a couple looking for a romantic weekend away or snowbirds staying for a few weeks or months, you will find lower rates a great way to save some money while having a fantastic trip.
1. Golf. With over 200 holes of golf to be played on St. Simons Island and the surrounding areas, the Golden Isles are a golfers paradise! The King and Prince Golf Course on the north end of St. Simons offers some of the best golf around and they often have specials available for resort guests as well as visitors.
Let’s face it. For most of us, spending time with our girlfriends consistently slips to the bottom of our to-do lists. But stealing away for precious time together can do wonders for the spirit – and bring us all back home with a renewed enthusiasm for all that we do. So when my group of my favorite metro Atlanta gal pals floated the idea of a girls’ weekend, we quickly settled on the perfect destination: the legendary King and Prince Resort on St. Simon’s Island. Just a few hours drive, it gave us the chance to let our hair down and reconnect without everyday distractions.
Now before I share a few of our (edited for publication!) antics, I’d like to introduce the motley crew in our posse. Full disclosure: I’ve changed the names to protect the innocent, but I’ll bet you’ll recognize a few of these personalities among the women in your own life.
For starters, I’m a writer in less than perfect physical condition. File me under “Foodie.” Our group also included Evelyn, dynamo who adores crafts and never stops moving (or talking!), Jackie, a health-conscious exercise enthusiast, Pam, former Girl Scout leader and
lover of architecture. The last member was Katie, Scottish by birth, and interested in all things historic and representative of the Old South.
We piled into my mini-van (hip, right?!) and headed down to the King and Prince Resort on a Friday afternoon. With every mile, I could feel the tension slipping away. Our group grew more excited as we traveled. Other than a few arguments over music and where to stop for snacks, we had a peaceful journey.
When we finally arrived at the King and Prince, all of us were inspired by its grand architecture. This was going to be a weekend to remember! We checked in with plenty of time to indulge in the resort’s restaurant for dinner. After hearing about this fantastic repast for more than a decade, it was wonderful to finally sample it for myself. We all enjoyed ourselves – and the luxury of enjoying wine with dinner without having to drive home.
It took me a while to decide, but I finally splurged on an appetizer of mussels and grilled sourdough, followed by the Low Country Shrimp and Grits. You only live once, right? My meal was unbelievable, with fresh shrimp and really creamy grits. I told our waitress I wanted to recreate it back home for my family and turns out the recipe is already posted online. (Low Country Shrimp and Grits Recipe).
The other ladies were also thrilled with dinner. Jackie ordered the Char Cedar Salmon, which came with a fantastic corn bread pudding and a vegetable I had never tried before called broccoli. Landlubber Pam opted for dry rubbed “Kurobuta” pork with candied yams and some kind of a bourbon glaze. Evelyn and Jackie both wanted Chicken and Waffles, which was served with an adorable tiny bottle of tabasco sauce. Instant souvenir! I’m not at liberty to discuss our libations, but believe me, everyone left dinner happy and very mellow.
The resort itself was as spectacular as our meal. With its soaring ceiling and intricate moldings, The King and Prince transports you back in time to gentler age. The vast main lobby lifted our spirits the moment we arrived. It was like the clouds had parted, freeing us to be our true selves and simply enjoy each other’s company.
Our fully appointed two bedroom, two bath Tabby House suite was complete with all the comforts of home (without all the dirty socks, sports equipment and backpacks, of course). You could see immediately how much care had gone into the decoration of every room, from the beautiful brocade draperies to the high thread count sheets. I wish our house back in Norcross was as nice!
After dinner we slipped into bathing suits and cover-ups and strolled over to the pool area (there are three on the property!) to melt in the indoor hot tub and take a dip. Virtuous Jackie insisted on swimming some laps to burn off her dessert. The rest of us just climbed in and let the hot water ease away the stresses of everyday life. It felt so magical, I’m thinking of adding a hot tub to next year’s holiday wish list.
Saturday morning we took a short walking tour of downtown St. Simons. The little shops were full of unusual gifts and specialties like packages of flavored grits and candied nuts. Our crafter, Evelyn, was inspired by seeing so many handmade creations. I think she bought one of everything. Sure, there were plenty of souvenir t-shirts. But I was amazed by the availability of nicer, boutique dresses and beachwear. Those in need of a new swimsuit, summer cocktail dress or resort-worthy earrings won’t be disappointed. For a split second I regretted having ordered dessert the night before.
For lunch, we headed for a heavenly little spot the Concierge recommended: “Iguana’s” which was filled with tourists and locals alike. In minutes, our table was piled high with crispy fried shrimp (dubbed “the island’s best” multiple years running), shrimp po-boys, giant caesar salads with grilled salmon and a tantalizing platter of assorted roasted oysters.
As the grand finale of our afternoon, we took a breathtaking kayak trip with Southeast Adventure Outfitters. We headed out to the marsh led by an experienced tour guide, and spent a blissful couple of hours watching egrets, pelicans, and a glorious sunset that made it seem like we were worlds away instead of on the Georgia coast. The peace wasn’t lost on our usually talkative crew. Everyone grew quiet and enjoyed moving across the water as the tide gently rocked our kayaks.
Our weekend was such a raving success that we went ahead and booked another trip for next year. Somehow, I’m sure that juggling everything on my plate will be easier with another visit to the King and Prince to look forward to!
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.
There are many things to see and do on St. Simons Island. With fall arriving and the weather cooling off, it is a perfect opportunity to explore the nature of this beautiful island. Bike rides and beach walks are often popular pasttimes. A unique way to view to the island and the marshes that surround it is through a kayak adventure.
A local business, Southeast Adventure Outfitters, is located on St. Simons Island and in Brunswick. They offer a variety of kayak trips. The trips are perfect no matter your skill level. They welcome begginers and will teach you the basic skills of sea kayaking. On the St. Simons Kayak Tour you will get to see wildlife in the sea and marshes. There is also a stop on the beaches for birding and shelling. Southeast Adventures have wonderful kayak tours. They also offer other excursions from fishing charters to multi-day trips. Kayaking through the Marshes of Glynn is a fun experience for all, whether you are visiting the area or call St. Simons your home. Many of our guests here at The King and Prince tell us about their great experiences on the kayak tours.
More information on Southeast Adventure Outfitters can be found on their website.