St. Simons Island Travel Guide
St. Simons Island is the largest of Georgia’s Golden Isles. It lies between Sea Island, Jekyll Island, and the privately owned Little St. Simons Island.
The island is located just off the Georgia coast. Originally English Colonists used African slaves to cultivate rice and cotton plantations here. Its historic past dates back to the 1700s when the British general, James Edward Oglethorpe led the English and German colonists in defending Georgia’s southern frontier against the Spaniards.
St. Simons Island is the site where the conflict between Spain and England climaxed in the battle of Bloody Marsh. Now a national park, the ruins of General Oglethorpe’s colony, Fort Frederica are still there.
Fort Frederica is a working archaeological site and has one of the few hands-on archeology education programs in the National Park Service. The park offers a 23-minute park film entitled, History Uncovered. Adults and children will enjoy self-guided explorations through the archaeological dig as well as the museum stocked with artifacts found at the fort.
It is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and is closed on Christmas Day.
The historic and beautiful Christ Church, which was founded by John and Charles Wesley in the early 1700s, awaits your explorations. The church is on the historic register. Tourists enjoy walking the site and enjoying the ancient live oaks draped with Spanish moss. It might remind tourists of the book, Beloved Invader by Eugenia Price who used the site as the setting for her trilogy about the island. St. Simons Island residents including Eugenia Price are buried in the adjoining Christ Church graveyard. The first services were held there in 1736 by Charles Wesley for the early settlers at Fort Frederica.
There is no admission charge, and the church is open Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.; Fridays from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.; on weekends, the hours are 2 p.m. until 5 p.m.
Wolf Island National Wildlife Reserve
A birdwatcher’s paradise, the Reserve provides protection and habitat for migratory birds and protected species such as the loggerhead sea turtle and the piping plover. This barrier island refuge is made up of Wolf Island and two smaller islands, Egg and Little Egg islands. Located approximately 12 miles off the coast at Darien, Georgia in McIntosh County, it totals 5,126 acres of saltwater marsh and is open to recreational activities such as fishing and crabbing. However, all beaches, marsh, and upland areas are closed to the public and there are no public facilities available.
Fort King George State Historic Site
This was the southernmost outpost of the British Empire in North America from 1721 through 1736. It is located in Darien, Georgia. Visitors will find a reconstruction of the blockhouse, barracks, and the earthen fort with its palisades. Originally scouts led by Colonel John “Tuscarora Jack” Barnwell set up the fort’s location. Three sawmills and tabby ruins are still visible. The site also offers a film covering the Guale Indians and the Santo Domingo de Talaeje mission.
Hours run from Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m; on Sundays, the site is open from 2 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Parking, public restrooms, and ADA accessibility for the mobility-impaired are available. Admission is $5 and group rates are available upon advance notice.