Brunswick, Georgia was named for Braunsweig, Germany, the ancestral home of King George II who granted Georgia's original land charter. The city's streets and squares are laid out in a formal grid, similar to Savannah and other colonial cities, and continue to bear their colonial names. You'll find historic Victorian architecture and many renovated buildings, shops and restaurants to pass the time.
Jekyll Island was once an exclusive winter retreat for some of America's wealthiest families. Their exclusive Jekyll Island Club, a collection of "cottages" and a variety of support structures are now a National Historic Landmark, the Historic District is open to the public. Today, owned by the State of Georgia, the island retains much of its natural beauty and offers a wealth of amenities and activities including 63 holes of golf, tennis, beaches, 20 miles of bike paths, mini-golf, nature tours and Summer Waves Water Park.
Golfers will find plenty to captivate their interest on Jekyll and the mainland, with 234 holes of golf on 16 different courses. Or, try your luck aboard the Emerald Princess casino/cruise ship, which offers afternoon and evening cruises from downtown Brunswick.
Old Town, a National Register District, is filled with majestic homes noted for their turn-of-the-century elegance and eclectic mix of styles. The burgeoning downtown is filled with interesting antique shops and a growing number of specialty shops and art galleries. At Mary Ross Park on the waterfront, you'll see fleets of shrimp boats that work the local waters and contribute to the area's rich seafood industry.
Cumberland Island National Seashore
You'll know your destination is someplace special when you board the Cumberland Queen for a short ferry ride across the bay to Georgia's secluded paradise of Cumberland Island. This unspoiled National Seashore are forever preserved in time, with pristine white beaches and windswept dunes that are home to a variety of wildlife and native species, such as wild horses, turkeys, alligators, deer, armadillos, live oak and palmetto forests, and a plethora of coastal birds. Popular destinations on Cumberland Island include the 1898 Georgian Revival Plum Orchard mansion and the dramatic ruins of the once splendid Carnegie Estate "Dungeness." Cumberland Island was voted "Best Wilderness Beach" by the Travel Channel and ranked #4 in Trip Advisor's "Top 10 Beaches in the U.S."
Little St. Simons Island is a private island accessible by boat. St. Simons Island's north end, offering accommodations for up to 30 guests - a wonderful destination for family reunions and small group gatherings.
This natural habitat of pine and hardwood forests, salt marsh, and over two miles of wide, sandy beaches is managed by the Department of Natural Resources. Guided tours are offered which provide a glimpse of Sapelo Island's earlier inhabitants, including the R.J. Reynolds mansion, the Gullah Community of Hog Hammock, and tabby ruins of a sugar plantation.
Advance reservations for the ferry ride to Sapelo Island are required and can be made by calling 912.437.3224.
Sea Island, home to The Cloister, a world-class resort renowned for its luxury and gracious service, now offers new Ocean Houses, with beautiful oceanfront accommodations and flexibility for accommodating groups of most any size. Top-notch amenities include a full-service spa, golf, tennis, Shooting School, horseback riding, kids programs, a private beach, fishing, waterway excursions and more. Special theme weekends throughout the year are devoted to ballroom dancing, bridge and fine wines.
Waycross, Georgia and the Okefenokee Swamp
Waycross is a nationally-recognized Main Street City filled with Southern hospitality and charm. From the historic downtown district to the swamp lands of the Okefenokee, there is something for everyone. Art and history meet at three local museums - Okefenokee Heritage Center, Southern Forest World, and Obediah's Okefenok - a mid-1800s homestead featuring special events with living history demonstrations. Visitors can enjoy boating, skiing, golf and nature trails at Laura S. Walker State Park, a coastal birding site. Waycross is a about an hour drive from St. Simons Island.
For more information contact the Waycross Tourism Bureau, 315-A Plant Avenue, Waycross, GA 31501, by telephone at 912.283.3744 or online at www.swampgeorgia.com.
Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
Kingsland is one of the gateways to this sprawling, 430,000 acre Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, the "Land of the Trembling Earth" and home to hundreds of species of birds and wildlife. Amenities include a welcome center, observation tower, and restored swamp homestead. Visitors can also rent bicycles, picnic, fish, canoe, or take a guided boat tour.
For more information, visit the Kingsland Welcome Center at I-95 Exit 3 or call 1.800.433.0225 or visit online at www.Visit Kingsland.com
Located in the southeast corner of Georgia, Kingsland is just three miles north of the Georgia/Florida border at Exits 3 and 6 on Interstate 95. Kingsland is a small town with undeniable charm and intrigue. Less than an hour's drive from St. Simons Island, Kingsland, GA is where wandering rivers wind through dense marshlands, dotted with abundant wildlife that make their homes among the river shores and lakes throughout the area. Golfers enjoy the natural beauty of manicured greens set among tidal creeks and marsh grass. For outdoor pursuits, take a leisurely walk on the expansive beaches with the wild horses that live on Cumberland Island. Native birds and alligators can best be seen on a guided boat tour through the Okefenokee Swamp.
Darien and McIntosh County
Settled in 1736 by Scottish Highlanders under James Oglethorpe, Darien, Georgia is the second oldest planned city in Georgia. Visitors can take a tour beginning at the riverfront boardwalk, past the tabby ruins, and through Vernon Square, originally designed in 1806. Shrimping is a major industry in McIntosh County and each year there is an annual "Blessing of the Fleet" festival held each spring. History buffs will want to visit Fort King George State Historic Site which from 1721 to 1736 was the southern outpost of the British Empire in North America and has been reconstructed using old records and drawings. Contact the Darien Welcome Center at 912.437.6684
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