I’ve fallen in love with an island destination,
and it might surprise you to know that it’s not in the Caribbean. In fact, you can drive there! But be forewarned, after visiting you may want to sell everything and move to St. Simons Island, Georgia!
St. Simons Island lies 12 miles off the coast of Georgia and is just over an hour’s drive from either Jacksonville, Florida or Savannah Georgia. Anticipation builds as we cross three bridges on our approach to the island; taking in the scenic sweep of golden marshes and bobbing fishing boats. The air is almost sweet with the scent of waving grasses and briny salt air. I’m hooked already!
Clint and I are visiting St. Simons Island for the first time on our ‘snowbird’ drive north from Florida to New England, but it certainly won’t be the last. We’re staying at wonderful King and Prince Beach Resort (named affectionately for it’s first owners), which is a sprawling beachfront property that grew out of a 1930’s “dance club” where Benny Goodman and big bands entertained under the stars. Today the resort welcomes vacationers to bask in the warmth of genuine southern hospitality, sensational cuisine, an impressive expanse of beach, and a gorgeous new pool pavilion.
Named to the National Register of Historic Places, the resort is filled with inviting nooks and crannies, historic stained glass windows, and a choice of hotel rooms, villas and vacation homes, all oozing charm. As the only beachfront hotel on the island, with the island’s only beachfront dining venue, the King and Prince Resort is an ideal choice for your St. Simons stay.
So what is it about this island community that makes it so extraordinary? In a word, passion.
Passion to protect their pristine marine environment.
The 500 miles of interconnecting marshes surrounding the island provide one of the world’s most important breeding grounds for shore birds, shellfish, turtles, right wales, dolphin and countless species of fish. An Eco-Tour is a must, and kayaking is exceptional.
Passion to maintain a community where families can live, work and play together.
St. Simons has a surprisingly robust commercial base as well as catering to tourism. The east coast takes a westward turn at southern Georgia, making St. Simons’ port the furthest west on the east coast of the United States – it is actually in alignment with Ohio. The island’s port transits everything from foreign made autos, to grains from the heartlands being exported to feed populations across the globe. Likewise, the western coastal location of the private airport makes it the 3rd busiest private airport in the United States. From June through December, the waters are dotted with local shrimp boats hauling in the sweetest shrimp you’ll ever eat. It is believed the marsh grasses that are a similar species to sugar cane impart a particular sweetness to the local shrimp.
Passion to invite vacationers to enjoy their bounty while preserving the culture and peace of their home.
St. Simons Island has resisted the temptation suffered by so many other tourism areas to tear down everything in sight and replace it with shopping emporiums, manufactured quaintness and high-rise luxury developments. Driving along the winding island roads, reveals a charming mix of well-loved cottages, traditional family homes and stately dwellings. With 170 acres of protected green space, the island is dotted with lovely public parks, an elaborate harbor-front children’s Fun Zone, fishing docks, biking trails and public beach access points. And the King and Prince Golf Course is spectacular! This course winds its way through the marshes and is as much a nature preserve as it is a golf course. Watch for the swooping Eagles overhead!
Passion to use all the abundance of their unique climate and environment to produce exquisite cuisine.
The locavore food philosophy is evident everywhere on St. Simons Island. With temperate growing conditions and the bounty of the sea, you can imagine how wonderful the island fare is. We were lucky enough to experience the wonderful cuisine at the King and Prince Resort. Executive Chef Jason Brumfiel and his talented staff amazed us day after day with specialties like Low Country Shrimp and Grits, Fresh Vegetable Strata, Wagyu Sliders, Bacon & Pecan Pralines, a heavenly White Chocolate Panna Cotta and lots more.. Vacationers will find over 50 island restaurants including local favorites; TraMici Restaurant (supurb Italian), The Sandcastle Cafe (breakfast nirvana!) and nationally acclaimed Southern Soul BBQ. One thing is for sure, everyone eats well on St. Simons Island!
And now I am passionate about St. Simons Island and the King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort.
Anyone looking for a memorable island vacation should put this delightful oasis on their bucket list. Whether it’ a romantic beach retreat you have in mind, a wholesome family gathering spot, a guys sports mecca, a place for a girlfriends getaway indulgence, or wedding setting, St. Simons Island will work its southern charm on each and every one of you!