Posted in camping, Fun Events, Road Trip

Exploring Coastal Georgia …. Sandy, Beautiful, and Historic

Coastal Georgia is amazingly gorgeous! There’s forts, lighthouses, inner coastal rivers, huge oaks with Spanish moss, and the sweetest people!

On Saturday, I started my island sightseeing ventures with the ‘Golden Isles.’ They are the Islands of Brunswick, St. Simmons, and Jekyll. There’s another called Small St. Simmons, but I didn’t make that one. The day was overcast and threatening rain. It was a little over an hour drive from Skidaway Island where I camped.

Brunswick was my first stop. It had a small historic main street, but nothing really caught my attention and I didn’t stop to explore it.  I did however, fall in love with the houses on Brunswick. (shocking!)

I parked the car in front of a house that was for sale and set out walking.  I walked around a few blocks and found a lady working in her well kept garden.  She had the cutest cat who promptly laid down and presented her stomach to me to pet. Some cats can be so sweet!
I complimented her on her gardens and ask about the trees. That’s where I learned about the ‘Resurrection Ferns’ growing on the limbs of the trees. They were small ferns that came out after a rain and after a few days without moisture, then they curl up and turn brown. The entire time I was around Savannah, they were green.

My next island was St. Simmons. It has a touristy feel and there was a lot to stop and do. Plenty of shopping and restaurants, historic sites, a pier, and a beach. Traffic was heavy and I had a hard time finding a place to park, but I found one and squeezed in.

There was a couple of different trolleys that took people around telling about the city. One was air conditioned and the other was open without windows. It decided to pour down rain while I was there, so I decided to take one with the air conditioning!  It was a 90 minute tour.  The driver, John, was very knowledgeable.

St. Simmons had a large slave population during that time in history. They were freed and received their 40 acres land grant and many generations have lived on that land. He explained to us that the color blue was representative of water for slaves. That’s why many African American churches have blue windows.

I really enjoyed hearing about the battles there during the American Revolution War. There was one called the Battle of the Bloody Marsh, in which, not of blood was actually shed, but it was a deciding factor in the outcome of the war.
Another place the tour took us was to The Sea Island Golf Course. It is on the land of a former plantation. They still have some of the trees that led up the single drive to the plantation and they let people go up the drive and take pictures. It’s called the Avenue of Oaks. (Can’t you just see horses and carriages coming down that opening of oaks!)

Sadly to make way for the airport on the road before it, they cut down over 200 of those trees. They have harvested acorns from the trees and replanted replacements on the golf course, so that when the old trees die, then the new ones will take their place.

The pier had people fishing on it even in the rain. A large ship passed the pier while going out into International waters. It was empty and sitting high out of the water. It was interesting watching it come under the bridge and then around. It had to have a pilot boat take it to international water.

St. Simmons also had a lighthouse and museum, but I didn’t go in that one. It was pretty, but it didn’t appear to be very tall and I knew there was another on Tybee Island to visit.

My last island that day was Jekyll and it had finally quit raining. It was my favorite of the three islands that I visited that day. It cost $6 to park on it and it was the least touristy. Now it did have a beautiful resort on the island. There were also neighborhoods on the inside of the road that looped around the island.

There were bike trails all around the island and on these trails were benches where people could stop and take in the scenery.  I saw many people biking on them.  These trails also had historical markers.

There was a house standing made out of “Tabby” which was oyster shells melted down and mixed with lime and sand. It was the color of a yellow cat. Makes me wonder if ‘Tabby cats’ were named after that mixture or the mixture after the cat. Many of the slave cabins were made from ‘tabby’ and some were still standing on St. Simmons when I took that tour. The one on Jekyll was a larger dwelling called Horton House, where a French family lived when it was privately owned.

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Horton House on Jekyll Island

One of the most impressive things on Jekyll Island was Driftwood Beach where the trees rested in all of their massive bare beauty. Some were still vertical and others were sleeping giants sprawled on the sand.  I, along with others, strolled through them, touching and admiring.  The other beaches were normal sand with people soaking up the sun or playing in the waves.

I wandered the beach, walking in the edge of the waves, sometimes splashing up to my knees, and smiled at the people I passed.  Lovely day!


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On Monday, I decided to visit Tybee Island.  I waited for a weekday because I figured it would be less busy.  I heard good things about this island, so I was excited to go.  I woke up to a sunny morning and set out. It was only about a 20 minute drive.  The first thing I did was to stop to eat an early lunch.

I had picked out The Crab Shack because of the reviews on Trip Advisor. It was one of those places where the tables were on a deck by the river. I picked a table near the rail of the river and ordered the lunch special of boiled shrimp and Shack Stew.  (I do love me some boiled shrimp)!  The amount of shrimp was a bit disappointing, but the food was good.  At least, I didn’t feel stuffed and the service was great.

My next stop was the lighthouse.  It wasn’t a disappointment!  According to the tour book, it is one of the best preserved lighthouses.  The houses that the Lighthouse officers and family lived in are still there. It took three men to keep it going, so there are three houses.

It’s a self-directed tour with a video and brochure to tell about the history.  The main house is decorated from the family that lived there in the 1930’s with most of their original furnishings and pictures.

The lighthouse itself is breathtaking.  It’s painted black and white.  The staircase is a black narrow spiral with 179 steps to the top.  It has six landings with a window lookout. Thankfully because it is a heart racing climb!  The view from the top is simply WOW!

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What a view!

There’s also six gun batteries and one has been turned into a museum of the island’s history from pirates to the present day. It once was once part of a fort, but Fort Screven closed after WW II.

After being all historical, I changed clothes and headed for the beach. Before choosing a section of beach, I drove through town, but decided to come back to the beach by the lighthouse.

Now, I don’t like swimming in the ocean, but I do love walking the water’s edge.  I took my bag and set out.  I walked for quite a ways and would sit down occasionally to enjoy the view.


It was low tide, so the beach was extended.  At one point I walked out to an tidal beach with birds sitting in large groups.  I didn’t want to be out there when the tide came in, so I didn’t stay too long out there.

At one point, I passed these two men with fishing poles stuck in PVC pipe on the beach.  I stopped and spent a few minutes talking about lazy fishing with them and moved on to sit on the beach again.

As I was sitting, the ‘Dolphin Cruise’ boat drove by and stopped.  It had spotted dolphins really close to the beach.  I could see the dolphins jumping and swimming around it and the people on the cruise laughing and talking about seeing the dolphins. In a bit, it moved along.


Not too long afterward, a shrimping boat came around the curve. It was a sight to behold with the nets on the side and all the birds flying along with it. Before it got too far, a second shrimp boat came behind it. More birds flying between them.  It looked like a parade.  I could see the names on the boat, and none of them was ‘Jenny.’ That would have been too amusing!

After a while, I turned back around and started walking the way I had come. I passed the two guys again.  I stopped to watch to see if they were catching anything and we introduced ourselves.  I told the one named Ernie, that if he caught something, then it would be the end to a perfect day for me.  I had seen dolphins, shrimp boats, picked up shells, and now all I needed to see was a large fish.
I sat with them and talked. Ernie pointed out houses on the beach to me because I had walked far enough that I wasn’t around many people just taking in the beach. Mostly, I was where private houses or vacation homes were on the beach. He said, “See that gray house?” I acknowledged it. “The owner of Crispy Creme owns that.” Then he pointed out Sandra Bullock’s house and to another house and said the man that came up with the ideal of the StairMaster lived there.  He told me John Travolta’s family came and stayed in Sandra Bullock’s home.  Of course my question was, “So, where do you live?”  He pointed to a general direction and, ‘Over there.”

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Ernie

Both men were cuties!  Sorry to say, I can’t remember the name of the other, except the “Invisible Man” because he wore a hat, sunglasses, and a bandanna type thing over his face as some sort of sunscreen, but he would take if off occasionally to visit.

Ernie made a big impression because he said he’d ‘act’ like he caught a big fish for a picture.  He had ‘The Invisible Man’ pull the line while he acted like he had a ‘big one’ on his line.  That made me laugh!  I visited a bit more and moved on, but it was a shame to leave the cuties behind!

By the time I retraced my steps, the tide was rising because where the birds were . . . was now covered with water. I walked back and after smelling that restaurant on the beach all day, I decided to eat there and it was delicious!

After dinner, I walked back to the beach to take sunset and evening pictures.  They have porch swings every so often back by the dunes. I swayed back and forth and watched the stars come out while the waves added their own soundtrack.  I could have set there for hours enjoying the view and the sounds.

I left about 10:45 and headed back for the campsite. I would have loved to have company on the beach, but nevertheless, it was a wonderful day and I fell asleep a ‘happy camper!’

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I love to write and share my life. I hope you enjoy reading it and in some small way it adds to your life. Smile, laugh, or think what you like about my life. My joy is writing.

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