Hotel at a Glance: Days Inn Darien
The staff at Days Inn Darien takes Southern hospitality seriously, from serving free hot breakfast with eggs, waffles, and sausage to hosting Nightly Nachos social hours. At check-in, they offer fresh Georgia peaches. You can also grab a freshly baked cookie at the front desk or snack on fresh fruit and cappuccinos in the lobby at any time of day.
- In-room perks: Snack on complimentary bedside candy while resting your head on hypoallergenic pillows.
- Eco-friendly digs: The hotel earned Silver-level status in TripAdvisor's GreenLeaders program for features such as energy-efficient light bulbs and toiletries made with recycled packaging.
- Bring Fido: Pets are welcome for a $10 fee.
- Enjoy local shrimp with grits and juicy rib eyes at nearby Darien River House; Chef Eric Lynch has cooked for Julia Child, Hillary Clinton, and Aerosmith.
Darien, Georgia: Historical Coastal Town with Ecotourism near Barrier Islands
Nicknamed "Queen of the Delta," Darien sits at the mouth of the Altamaha River. This location—and its proximity to Georgia's barrier islands—makes this small coastal town an ecotourism hub. One such island is Sapelo, whose pristine wetlands are home to a vast number of birds, fiddler crabs, and sea turtles. Its estuaries and marshlands are protected by the expansive Blackbeard Island National and Richard J Reynolds State Wildlife Refuges. You can hike the island's 11-mile length, keeping eyes peeled for armadillos and rare guatemalan chachalacas. Along the way you'll find Reynolds Mansion, a Civil War–era plantation manor whose grounds include ancient Guale Native American settlements.
Sapelo is also home to the centuries-old African American village of Hog Hammock, whose residents are slave descendants upholding the Geechee culture. Observe their traditions—marked by vibrant art, colorful folklore, and spiritual songs—on a guided bus tour, or visit the town's general store, churches, and bar to learn a little creole.
As Georgia's second-oldest city, Darien has a downtown that's home to a number of important historical sites. Tour the guardhouse and barracks of the British Empire's southernmost outpost, Fort King George, which was burned down during the Civil War and reconstructed by historians. A short walk through Darien's quiet, tree-lined streets brings you to St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church, which was built in 1876 by former slaves and later housed a school for African American children. Take in a different kind of history at the Old Jail Art Center, a former county jailhouse that now houses a gallery and museum.