A nature lover’s paradise is just over five hours away from Atlanta in Little St. Simons Island.
Described on its official website as one of the crown jewels of Georgia's Golden Isles, the island has seven miles of beach and 11,000 acres of untouched nature that makes for the perfect getaway from the bustling city.
There’s no shortage of greenery and critters on the island, which opened to the public in 1979. Animals that call this area home include the American alligator, marsh rabbits and birds including ibis, painted buntings and great egrets.
The abundance of wildlife is thanks in part to the island establishing an ecological advisory council in 2007. Projects include island research of threatened wildlife species including sea turtles, rare bats and shorebirds.
In addition to escaping into the wilderness, privately-owned The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island will also allow guests to unwind amid oak trees, salt marshes and creeks. It only ever houses 32 guests at once and can only be accessed by boat.
But the island’s natural beauty can also be appreciated in a single day.
Guests can start with a 15-minute boat ride to the island from the Hampton River Marina. Upon arrival to Little St. Simons Island, guests will be greeted by a naturalist who will serve as the day’s guide. Boarding a bench-equipped truck sets guest off on an exploration of the island’s wetland ecosystems and maritime forests that have been there for hundreds of years. Learn about the island’s history and glimpse some of the more than 330 bird species that have been seen on the island. There may also be the chance to see alligators or dolphins depending on the timing of the visit during the year.
Day trips are capped off by a family-style lunch and a trek to the beach led by a naturalist guide. Then, a 4 p.m. private boat ride will take guests away from the island, which has beaches featuring undeveloped sand dunes and sea oats.
Advance reservations for the trips, which are $150 per person, are required. The excursions are recommended for adults and children over 8-years-old.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.