The 6 best beaches in Georgia

Georgia’s coastline is one of the most unique in the United States. Stretching more than 100 miles along the coast, visitors will find the best beaches on the state’s 14 barrier islands. This chain of islands is also known as the Golden Islands or Sea Islands. These islands protect the mainland from gusty sea winds and water erosion.

A Georgia Beaches road trip takes you from Savannah and Tybee Island in the north to Brunswick and Cumberland Island in the south. Visitors will love these islands with marine forests and white sand beaches that experience far fewer crowds than nearby Florida beaches. Four of the islands are accessible by car, the rest only by boat. Many of these islands have areas protected from development, allowing guests to enjoy pristine, secluded beaches in their natural state.

Here is my list of the best beaches in Georgia.

Dungeness Ruins on Cumberland Island

Photo credit: Caleb Jones Photography

1. Cumberland Island National Seashore

This is one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever been to. Cumberland Island National Seashore features 17 miles of pristine, undeveloped beachfront. As far as the eye can see it’s just white sand, the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean and sand dunes with sea oats blowing in the breeze. It is a rare experience to visit an area untouched by man.

Planning is key to enjoying a day on this island. Take a passenger ferry from historic St. Marys to the island, where you’ll hike or bike during your visit. From the dock it’s about a half mile walk across the island to the beach. Stroll around the island and see the ruins of Dungeness (a Carnegie mansion), explore the sea forest and discover other historic buildings. You might even see some of the wild horses that live on the island.

Pro Tip: If you’re planning on staying on the island, book a stay at the Greyfield Inn. It was built in 1900 for the Carnegie’s daughter, Margaret, and is now an inn. It is still owned by the Carnegie family.

Tybee Island Pier and Pavilion at sunset

Photo Credit: Visit Tybee Island

2. North Beach

Tybee Island

This is the beach popular with Savannah locals. When I lived in Savannah, I often sat in a chair on the quieter North Beach with calmer waters. Park near the historic Tybee Island Lighthouse and, in addition to visiting the beach, explore the lighthouse and the Tybee Island Museum, housed in an 1899 Coastal Artillery Battery that illuminates the history of the island and Fort Screven.

If you’re longing for a livelier beach, South Beach is for you. Visitors will find plenty of activities, the Tybee Island Pier and Pavilion, restaurants and old style beach shops.

Pro Tip: After a day at the beach, dine at the Crab Shack. This Tybee Island institution is a rustic al fresco dining experience serving up fresh Georgia seafood. Visitors can also feed the alligators at Gator Lagoon.

Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island

Photo credit: Caleb Jones Photography

3. Driftwood Beach

Jekyll Island

Driftwood Beach lives up to the hype with third place in Tripadvisor’s 2023 Travelers’ Choice Awards for Best Beaches in the United States and 12th for Best Beaches in the World. With its sun-bleached driftwood and gnarled 500-year-old trees, it’s easy to see why it’s the most photographed beach in Georgia. It’s a fascinating place to wander and linger in the ever-changing landscape. Jekyll Island boasts 10 miles of beaches, each with a different vibe. State law prohibits development on 65 percent of the island, so there’s much less traffic and congestion than on the nearby island of St. Simons.

Unique to Jekyll Island is the 650-acre Jekyll Island Club National Historic District with 34 historic buildings. It was once the playground and exclusive winter retreat for the elite of the Golden Age. A variety of luxury accommodations are available at Jekyll Island Club Resort.

Pro tip: Visit the Georgia Sea Turtle Center to learn more about these fascinating animals. They lay their eggs on the offshore islands of Georgia. During certain times of the year, visitors can watch them hatch and make their way to the sea.

Coast Guard Beach on St. Simons Island

Photo credit: Caleb Jones Photography

4. Coast Guard Beach

St Simons Island

The most popular beach on St. Simons Island is Coast Guard Station Beach, also known as First Street Beach Access. This is the widest stretch of beach on St. Simons Island and has the most parking. It is perfect for day trips due to the on-site Coast Guard bathhouse with showers, toilets and covered picnic tables. There is also a wheelchair mat to get closer to the water.

This beach is relatively undeveloped and offers unspoilt natural beauty. Plan to visit at low tide to see the sandbars and tide pools. Kite surfing is popular here and you might even see dolphins that frequent the area. Another historic site worth visiting is Fort Frederica National Monument. Enjoy exploring the ruins before taking a hike through a marine forest.

Pro tip: Be sure to visit the World War II Home Front Museum, part of Georgia’s World War II Heritage Trail. Learn about World War II along the Georgia coast. The museum is located in the historic Coast Guard Station at the entrance to the beach.

Boardwalk on Little St Simons Island

Photo credit:

5. Little St Simons Island

Imagine enjoying 11 km of secluded beach on a private island with a maximum of 32 guests. Well, at the Lodge on Little St. Simons Island you can. Lodge guests have access to 11,000 acres of pristine wilderness and 26 miles of trails and roads. An all-inclusive stay includes accommodation, three meals a day made from fresh, local ingredients, and naturalist-led excursions.

Allow time to enjoy the rare opportunity to gain access to a private beach. The beach is stunning and with its hard sand you can explore it by bike. The resort has a well-appointed beach pavilion with everything you need for a day on the sand. Because there are so few guests on the island, it’s common to have stretches of beach all to yourself.

Aerial view of Cloister Beach Club on Sea Island

Photo credit: Sea Island Beach Club

6. Sea Island Beach Club

As soon as you cross the bridge to Sea Island, you know you’re in a special place. For 95 years, the Cloister at Sea Island has welcomed guests with a renowned luxury experience. This exclusive resort offers 5 miles of pristine beaches that generations of families have enjoyed. The upscale beach club offers diverse experiences. Reserve a beach kit from a lifeguard, who has a cell phone charger in addition to chairs, umbrellas, snacks and water. If you’ve ever wanted to go horseback riding on the beach, you’ve come to the right place. Besides the endless beach, guests can enjoy a variety of water sports.

Pro tip: These beaches are all in the Golden Islands area and are not far from each other. Choose a destination as a starting point and then explore the other islands. Visitors can also take a road trip and spend a night or two on each island. Southern hospitality is pervasive and the restaurants serve an abundance of fresh, locally sourced seafood using ingredients sourced directly from the farm. Georgia’s Historic Places are beautiful, pedestrian-friendly downtown areas where visitors linger before watching the sunset from the marina.

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