Content Sponsored by Golden Isles
Whether you have a weekend or a week in Georgia's Golden Isles, you won’t want to miss exploring some of the most unique nature and wildlife in Georgia. You'll be impressed by what you discover.
1. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center
Perfect for all ages, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center's exhibits on sea turtle conservation and rehabilitation offer one of the best family-friendly wildlife experiences on the island! After you learn about sea turtles, visit the pavilion to meet the current Georgia Sea Turtle Center patients.
When to Go: March-November / Monday 10:00 am – 2:00 pm / Tuesday-Sunday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm or December- February / Tuesday-Sunday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Where to Find It: 214 Stable Road, corner of Hopkins & Stable Rd., Jekyll Island, GA 31527
2. 4-H Tidelands Nature Center
Venture to the 4-H Tidelands Nature Center, where you can meet more turtles, explore touch tanks (including opportunities to touch a horseshoe crab!) and observe fish, crabs, live alligators, snakes and more. The center also offers nature walks and other special programs for families and groups throughout the year.
Another unique treat? You can rent canoes or pedal boats or find guided kayaking tours to get even closer to area wildlife through the tidal marsh! Keep your eyes open for wildlife including herons, egrets, fiddler crabs and more.
When to Go: Monday-Friday / 9:00 am – 4:00 pm / Saturday-Sunday / 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Where to Find It: 100 South River Drive, Jekyll Island, GA 31527
3. Little St. Simons Island
Accessible only by boat, Little St. Simons Island is the ideal spot for a day trip filled with maritime forests and untouched nature and wildlife. Enjoy a guided island tour day trip, led by a staff naturalist, and hearty low country lunch before heading back to St. Simons Island. Or choose to stay overnight at Little St. Simons Island's beautiful resort, the Lodge on Little St. Simons Island, to enjoy more time in your natural surroundings, kayaking though the marshland, hiking and more!
When to Go: Check with the island to see when day trips are available, or book your overnight stay anytime of the year.
Where to find it: A private boat departs from Hampton River Marina on the north end of St. Simons Island for day trips and overnight stays.
4. Kayaking on St. Simons Island
You can’t get much closer to the coastal wildlife than this: Experience sea kayaking on St. Simons Island. Kayaking is the perfect way for both adults and children to experience the ecological diversity and stunning beauty of the marshes, inlets, and rivers of the Golden Isles. Make sure to book a tour with a local guide so the experts can help you through the diverse waterways on the Georgia coast. The guide will also be able to point out some of the coastal species you are sure to encounter along your way.
When to Go: Times will vary based on tides and weather conditions. Check with local tour guides to book an excursion.
5. John Gilbert Nature Trail
Get outdoors and stretch your legs with a stroll through a pristine maritime forest on the John Gilbert Nature Trail. Pack a picnic to enjoy under the magnificent live oak, “John’s Oak,” in the center of the trail. Bring your binoculars for bird watching at various points at the marsh border; there are plenty of places to stop, rest and take in the beautiful natural setting. Look for interpretive signs on the trail to learn more about the area's history, native vegetation, and the wildlife you might get to see! If you have time, you can explore East Beach (perfect for shelling!) or Gould’s Inlet (great for bird watching!).
When to Go: Open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Where to Find It: Frederica Road, St. Simons Island, GA 31522
6. Lady Jane Shrimpin’ Cruise
Head out to sea with a fun day on the Lady Jane Shrimpin' Cruise. Spend a day on a real shrimp trawler - the only shrimp vessel on the entire east coast that has been certified by the USCG to carry 49 passengers offshore. Help a marine biologist sort the day's catch of shrimp, bonnethead, blacktip, sand shark, horseshoe crab, pufferfish, and more. If you’re more of a hands-off explorer, you are welcome to simply sit back and relax while you meander through the St. Simons Sound.
When to Go: Plantation tour times vary by season. Call 912-265-5711 to book your historical tour.
Where to Find It: 1200 Glynn Avenue, Brunswick, GA 31520
7. Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation & the Colonial Coast Birding Trail
Located in Brunswick, Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation is an authentic Georgia coast rice plantation. Here, you can learn about life on a rice plantation, then hike the nature trail along the edge of the marsh, which is part of the Colonial Coast Birding Trail, an excellent place to look for over 300 species of birds including egrets, herons, ibis and more!
When to Go: Wednesday-Sunday / 9:00 am - 5:00 pm / Last main house tour at 4:00 pm
Where to Find It: 5556 U.S. Hwy 17 N., Brunswick, GA31525
8. Cannon’s Point Preserve
Explore Cannon’s Point Preserve, a 600-acre tract of green space at the north end of St. Simons Island. Cannon’s Point is a primitive wilderness experience, so don’t forget your bug spray, water and snacks. The preserve features a variety of wild native species, a beautiful and mature maritime forest, and six miles of marsh-upland interface. The preserve is also linked to the lower Altamaha River delta, which is one of the most biologically rich systems in the nation. How many different flora and fauna species will you be able to spot?
When to Go: Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays 9am – 3 pm
Where to Find It: Lawrence Road on the north end of St. Simons Island – you can’t miss it!
Looking for more Georgia Coast nature and wildlife in the Golden Isles? We have plenty more to explore!