Hotel at a Glance: Sea Palms Resort
Sea Palms Resort sits amid the salt marshes of St. Simons Island, where oak trees and lagoons line the roads. It’s not just a beautiful setting. In 1967, course designers George Cobb and Tom Jackson used the area’s natural features to design 27 holes of golf, which still draw in players of all skill levels. Off the fairway, there’s also volleyball, tennis, biking, and horseshoes.
- Where you’ll stay: Guest rooms boast complimentary WiFi.
- Michelin-starred chef Matthew Gray uses local produce at the Public House Restaurant, where you could have flapjacks at breakfast, angus beef burgers at lunch, and grilled boneless quail alongside wine at dinner.
- Lounge around poolside cabanas or an outdoor fireplace.
- Walk to the beach and right into the flippers of the ocean’s friendliest fish.
- Explore the island: Charter a fishing boat, tour the ruins at nearby Fort Frederica National Monument, or take pictures of the charming Christ Church, a Gothic-style building from the 19th century.
St. Simons Island, Georgia: Coastal Marshlands and Historic Lighthouses on Charming Isle
The largest of Georgia’s famed Golden Isles, St. Simons Island—located about 80 miles south of Savannah—has raked in some impressive awards in recent years: AOL Travel named it among America’s 10 Best Islands for its picturesque, marshland setting; Budget Travel cited its historical landmarks and white-sand beaches in its list of the country’s 10 Best Winter Beach Retreats; and in 2010, Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards ranked the 18-square-mile hideaway the fifth-best island in the United States. Despite these accolades, St. Simons Island remains a quiet vacation destination, a place where seafood shacks and Mediterranean mansions share the same oceanfront avenue.
An extensive network of biking trails cuts through St. Simons’ countryside, which is dotted with verdant marshlands and maritime forests. Fishing charters and shrimp boats offer excursions year-round, or you can hop in a kayak or canoe to paddle through scenic waterways. You’ll get a different view of the island from the top of St. Simons Lighthouse. Built in 1872, this Victorian-style tower stands 104 feet tall and features historical exhibits about the Coast Guard. Next door, you can take a self-guided tour of the archaeological remains at Fort Frederica National Monument. The fort marks the spot where British troops defeated the Spanish in the mid-18th century, securing Georgia’s future as a British colony.