8 Things to See and Do on St. Simon's Island

By By: Roni Singleton Jeter, MK Publisher, College Park, East Point, Morrow July 7, 2013
There are a lot of really fun things to do on St. Simon's Island, one of the islands that make up Georgia's Golden Isles. While there is an abundance of activities for the entire family to enjoy, these are our Macaroni Kid favorties:

1. Ocean's Motion

What better way to get to know a city then to take a relaxing bike ride around it? That's exactly what we did and it was on the top of our list of "must-dos" while we visited. And, Ocean Motion, where you can rent bikes was just a short walk from our resort, The King and Prince.
Ocean Motion
This is a MUST DO and honestly was one of the highlights of our stay! The island has lots of easy bike paths/trails so it's very rider-friendly. You can rent bikes for a half day or up to four days at a time. The best part about it is if you're traveling with children, you have a few options for them too. Ocean Motion2
Ocean Motion has baby seats, children's bikes, and trailer hitches/tandems like the one we decided to try. They attach to the adult bikes but have pedals so the kids can still get some exercise while enjoying the ride. We determined that our daughter preferred NOT to pedal and rather just have daddy do the work. In fact, when we finally returned to Ocean Motion to turn in our bikes after a day exploring the island, she was fast asleep! Now how's that for enjoying the ride!

2. Lighthouse Trolley Tours

I've taken trolley tours in the past in other cities and have not always been impressed. Maybe it's the guide, the sites we see/visit or maybe I was just tired at the time. But whatever it was, it left me not overly excited about doing the trolley tour on St. Simon's Island. But since it was our first time there and since we knew absolutely nothing about the island, we thought we'd better get educated. Well, I'm so glad we decided to add this on to our intinerary instead of just spending that time on the beach.
trolley tour2
I HIGHLY recommend taking the Lighthouse Trolley tour when you visit the island. Hopefully you'll get our guide, Dick, who likes to joke that he's originally a "Yankee" from up north but has lived on the island now for decades with his wife and calls it home. Dick was not only knowledgable about the rich history of the island (I mean honestly ask him anything, the guy doesn't get stumped!) but he was also funny and personable. He made it a point to remember everyone's name and from where we were visiting. It was so evident that this was not just a "job" for him but really a love and passion for sharing the rich history of this island.

On the trip some of our stops included The Christ Church & Cemetery, Fort Frederica where we learned some interesting history about the Battle of Bloody Marsh, a former plantation with old slave cabins and the St. Simon's Island Lighthouse.

3. Neptune Park

If the kids just want a break from the beach (did I just say that?) take them to Neptune Park where they have enclosed play structures for climbing and sliding, swings, and see-saws. Right next door there is also a miniature-golf course and a fun zone pool with swimming lanes and splash park for the whole family to enjoy.
Neptune Park
Oh, and a little history we learned while on the Lighthouse Trolley Tour is that Neptune Park is not actually named after the famous mythical sea god which is what we assumed, but rather a slave named Neptune Smalls who lived on the Retreat Plantation on St. Simon's Island. His story is very interesting and I encourage you to look into his life before visiting the island.

4. St. Simon's Island Lighthouse

For the first time, I visited a lighthouse!! And, along with hubby and my four-year old, I even made it to the top! There are five landings in the St. Simon's Island Lighthouse, each with a small window you can peer out. So, if you decide at some point you don't want to climb all 129 cast-iron steps, you can still get a taste of what it's like to be inside. If you do make it to the top, the view is amazing, so get your cameras ready, and don't forget your binoculars (we didn't bring any)!
The lighthouse, which was built in the early 1800s is also now a Maritime museum so admission includes that as well. Before or after the climb up spend a little time looking at artifacts from the 1800s and early 1900s, as well as see a replica of what rooms in a house during that period would have looked like.
Lighthouse View
This was one of the views from the top of the lighthouse. In the distance you can see the bridge that takes you across Jekyll Island. But alas, we didn't spot any dolphins!

5. Beach Bum

This was a favorite stop for us. The Beach Bum is a store located in Pier Village that sells sea shells! Of course it's fun to go searching for them on the beach, but it's just as fun to grab one of their baskets and shop for shells too. The kids will love this and you can spend a lot of fun looking at all of the beautiful shells. The costs for shells even start at like 10 cents so it's a cheap way to let the kids go shopping.
Beach Bum
This is the bag of shells my daughter picked out. Throw in a few little island gifts we bought for family and I don't think we spent more than $25 total and had some nice reminders and keepsakes of our time on St. Simon's to bring home.

6. Pier Village/The Pier

Pier Village is one of the many shopping areas on St. Simon's Island. It also happens to be the closest to the King and Prince Resort so we spent a great deal of our time there. There's lots of shopping and restaurants. Two of my favorite restaurants were 4th of May Cafe (we had a quick breakfast there before our Trolley Tour) and Barbara Jean's where we ate lunch and when I tell you they have the BEST crab cake sandwich I ever had...oh my!! I'm drooling just thinking about it! I recently found out that you can order their crab cakes online for delivery too.

While at Pier Village you've got to take a walk out onto the pier. Better yet, join everyone else and bring your chairs and fishing gear because this place is hopping with fishermen, young and young at heart, professionals and novices. This is the place to be to find the catch of the day and it's open to public fishing. We watched in delight as people caught crabs and sharks (ok, no great whites, but little ones) and many just threw them back in.

You get a great view of the St. Simon's Lighthouse right from the pier too. Go at night and you can catch a wonderful cool ocean breeze and maybe even catch a street performer. 

7. Shrimp Boat and Dolphin Tours 

This was something we wanted to do but honestly didn't have the time. From what the folks at the resort told us they will take you out onto the ocean, catch shrimp right there and then cook them up and you enjoy this Georgia Shrimp right on the boat! Plus you'll go out and hopefully spot some dolphins. I guess these guys know where to go to see them. Sounds like something we'll be doing next time. The Lady Jane offers shrimpin excursions.

8. Georgia Sea Turtle Center

Well The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is not actually on St. Simon's Island. Rather, it's a short 20 minute drive to the neighboring Jekyll Island. But it's worth a drive if you've got the time. The folks at the center do amazing work to educate the public on Georgia's coastal wildlife and its ecosystem.

The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is actually a rehabilitation center for ill and injured sea turtles and terrapins that have been rescued. You actually get to visit these animals (or patients as they call them) in the rehabilitation center. What we really enjoyed was getting to "know" each of the patients by reading the biographies posted about them. 
Sea turtle3
Also while we were there, we happened to catch what seemed be a surgery of some sort taking place on a small turtle. Visitors are able to watch vets examine and treat patiens through the large observation window inside the center.
Sea turtle2
The Georgia Sea Turtle Center gives children an upclose look at endangered sea turtles and children get to participate in the journey of a sea turtle from an egg all the way to adulthood. They also get to explore exhibits on conservation. If you visit, make sure to head to their website first where you can download all sorts of activities for free for the kids to get them excited about the trip.