Make the beach and sand a part of your Christmas in Georgia celebration this December. The best part is that you won't have to leave the state to celebrate Christmas by the sea, and you may be able to save on holiday travel by hitting the Georgia coast this holiday season.
From resorts to secluded camping at state parks, and from exhaustive seafood spreads to simple coastal treats, here are some coastal Georgia spots and events to put a little driftwood in your Christmas plans:
Brunswick, Georgia, a historic city by the sea
Local landmarks like Lover's Oak and the Sidney Lanier Bridge make Brunswick a fine setting for Christmas on the coast. It's not too cold to tramp around after birds, and the moderate December temperatures mean dolphin boat tours and kayaking are on offer.
If being surrounded by sand and sea makes you homesick for a more traditional Christmas in Georgia, Dec. 13-15 and Dec. 20-22 you can catch "A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas" live and on stage at the Historic Ritz Theater in Brunswick (1530 Newcastle St, 912-262-6934).
New Year's Eve on Jekyll Island
While you might expect a beach town to keep a low profile at Christmas, Jekyll Island is quite the opposite. It kicks off with "Holly Jolly Jekyll" a parade on Dec. 7, where the decor stays up through January.
The season is capped with the Jekyll Island New Year's Eve Party complete with champagne and live music. And what would you do on Jekyll Island for the rest of your Christmas in Georgia celebration? Twilight tours for the island are on Saturdays Dec. 14, 21 and 28 are one option, Christmas Classic movies at the Alexander Lounge (371 Riverview Drive, Jekyll Island) are another.
Or you can just enjoy very reasonable rates for accommodations at places like Villas by the Sea Resort and Conference Center (1175 Beachview Dr N, Jekyll Island), a three-star hotel with a sultry swimming pool that advertises Christmas Day room rates below $100.
Camping for Christmas at Crooked River State Park in St. Marys
Crooked River State Park (6222 Charlie Smith Senior Highway, St. Marys. 912-882-5256) on the southernmost tip of Georgia's Colonial Coast offers wild and wonderful options for nature lovers who want to spend the holiday in the great outdoors.
Its campsites are nestled amidst palmettos, or you can upgrade to cottages near the tidal river. You can fish for Christmas breakfast or let St. Mary's Seafood and More restaurant do the cooking while you experience the salt marsh. They're not traditional "Christmas" animals, but the coastal Georgia turtles and marine life you might see are every bit as spiritual.
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