Georgia’s 5 best beaches

1. Sea Camp Beach

Sea Camp Beach on Cumberland Island is easily accessible for daytrippers. Just take the ferry from St. Marys, get off at Sea Camp and stroll across the narrowest part of the island past the campground and over the boardwalk to an unparalleled expanse of powdery sand and shallow sea without a speck of civilization in sight. Be sure to bring your sunscreen, water, bug spray and snacks. Cumberland is mostly wilderness and there is no place to purchase provisions.

2. St. Simons Island

St. Simons Island boasts two excellent beach-side parks that offer lots of free parking, modern and well-maintained restrooms and ADA access to a sweet stretch of wide sandy beach. Massengale Park (1350 Ocean Blvd., St. Simons Island) is a shady site with picnic tables, grills and a children's playground. Coast Guard Station/East Beach (4100 First St.) is beside the historic Coast Guard station, built in 1933 by the WPA. It now houses the Maritime Center, a museum currently closed for renovation. Pets are permitted except 9 a.m.-5 p.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

3. Driftwood Beach

Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island may not be the best place to sunbathe or play paddle ball, but its long narrow stretch of shoreline is littered with fallen, sun-baked trees, whittled by wind and salt into evocative driftwood sculptures. A great spot for picnicking and shutterbugs, it's located on the north end of the island between Clam Creek Picnic Area and Villas By the Sea Resort. Just look for the pullovers and small parking lots along North Beachview Drive.

4. Nanny Goat Beach

Located near Hog Hammock on Sapelo Island, Nanny Goat Beach is a gorgeous stretch of wilderness beach with nothing but dunes and sea grass to interrupt your view of sun, sea and shore. Dogs are permitted anytime. Visitors to Sapelo have to take a ferry from Meridian, which must be booked by an island resident or the Department of Natural Resources.

Explore5. Tybee Island

Thanks to a recent sand renourishment project, the stretch of beach between Tybee Lighthouse and 18th Street is wider than ever. On the north end near the lighthouse is plenty of pay parking, new restrooms and the North Beach Bar and Grill, serving Jamaican-influenced cuisine and daily specials. An ideal spot for those who like to be close to modern conveniences and don’t mind a backdrop of condominiums.

For more on the Georgia coast, read Discover Georgia's Barrier Islands.