Are you looking for beach vacation spots with a lower profile? Georgia’s eastern coast has just over 100 miles of shoreline and a string of more than a dozen barrier islands. With 100 miles to work with you are bound to end up with a few spectacular beaches.
Let’s explore the top 10 most enchanting beaches in this Southern state.
Why You Should Visit Georgia’s Beaches
Everyone has their favorite beach destination, and many people have the same one. That’s why places like South Beach, Panama City, South Padre Island, and Venice Beach stay packed in spring and summer.
Georgia beaches seldom wind up on lists of top places to relax. For that, we can probably blame a lack of exposure. In our book, that’s what makes them great. We also love that they are close to cities and easy to get to. Most of the great Georgia beaches lie on the Atlantic Coast, not far off Interstate 95.
The Top 10 Georgia Beaches
With 100 miles of shoreline, you would imagine all the beached would be on the coast. But just to mix things up, we’ve included a couple of destinations farther inland, too. Here are 10 exceptional Georgia beaches where you can find a relaxing, rejuvenating experience.
1. Glory Beach, Jekyll Island
About: Jekyll Island lies off the coast near Brunswick, and Glory Beach sits toward its southern end. This area is slightly south of St. Simons Island and just north of Cumberland Island National Seashore. It’s about 75 miles north of Jacksonville, Florida.
What Makes It Great: It’s a simple beach experience, nothing more and nothing less. Other than a boardwalk leading to it, you can just enjoy the sun, sand, sea oats, and shimmering waters. Sharp-eyed movie buffs may recognize this strip of beach from scenes in the Civil War film “Glory” starring Denzel Washington.
Pro Tip: Don’t know what to do while in Jekyll Island? Check out our ultimate guide on Jekyll Island, Georgia.
2. Gould’s Inlet, St. Simons Island
About: St. Simons Island is the biggest of four barrier islands that Georgia calls the Golden Isles. Gould’s Inlet sits on the north end of East Beach at the mouth of a waterway called Postell Creek. You can see Sea Island across the water from here.
What Makes It Great: If you want a place to reflect, aim for the end of the fishing pier. You probably won’t encounter a lot of other people, but you can expect lots of birds. It’s one of the best birding spots in the area, especially during peak migration times. It’s also a popular perch for catching sunrises and sunsets.
3. Robin Lake Beach, Pine Mountain
About: This one’s an outlier because it’s not on the ocean. Instead, this man-made beach lies on the shores of a lake near the middle of Georgia. The mile of white sand surrounds Robin Lake, a family-oriented attraction at the expansive Callaway Resort & Gardens. You can sunbathe, swim, or rent a kayak or paddleboard. It has a Beach Bar for adults and an ice cream truck for the kiddos.
What Makes It Great: If you want a nice beach experience without having to drive to the ocean, try visiting Robin Lake Beach. The lake covers 65 acres, and it’s just a little over an hour’s drive from Atlanta. For another change of pace, you can also explore the hospitable town of Pine Mountain.
4. Little St. Simons Island Beach
About: For a more exclusive and eco-friendly experience, this privately owned island awaits on the north end of St. Simons Island. You can only access it by boat. It has a lodge and private cottages for rent. The owners donated the 11,000 acres of mostly undeveloped forests and marshes as a conservation easement.
What Makes It Great: There are seven miles of sandy beaches and an incredible variety of wildlife. To best explore the flora, you can book a private session with a gardener or naturalist. It’s reservation-only, but if you do stay here, you’ll be one of just 32 guests max. Additionally, all the food is locally sourced from the island as part of conservation efforts.
5. North Beach, Tybee Island
About: It is a half-hour drive from downtown Savannah, so it’s the least commercial of Tybee Island’s beach areas. You’ll know you’ve found the right place when you spy the cool old lighthouse. Enjoy the surf and sand and keep your eyes peeled for a pod of frolicking dolphins.
What Makes It Great: Tybee Island’s North Beach has the warm feel of a real beach community rather than one overtaken by tourists. You can visit welcoming restaurants and watering holes, and you’ll likely meet some friendly locals.
6. St. Andrew’s Beach Park, Jekyll Island
About: This gorgeous beach area near “the Point,” at the southern end of Jekyll Island. You can reach it by traveling down the South Loop Trail or Beachview Drive. It’s also the site of a memorial to African slaves who were brought ashore here in 1858.
What Makes It Great: The beach is also close to where the Jekyll River flows into the Jekyll Sound. There’s a two-story wooden observation deck to view the birds and other wildlife. It has shaded open-air pavilions for picnicking, restrooms, and outdoor showers.
7. Cumberland Island’s Beaches
About: Cumberland Island, close to the small city of St. Marys near the Florida-Georgia line, is protected as a national seashore. It has a visitors center on the mainland and a ferry to take you to and from these pristine beaches and marshlands. Besides the natural features, visitors love seeing the Dungeness Ruins. It’s what remains from a Carnegie family mansion that burned in the 1950s.
What Makes It Great: Cumberland Island has little development other than the federal government facilities and some historic buildings because it’s a national seashore. It’s pretty spread out, so you might want to rent a bike to cover more ground. You can also book a van tour to see all of the island’s historic sites near this Georgia beach.
Pro Tip: Want to sleep in the sand while in Georgia? Check out these 7 Best Campgrounds for Beach Camping in Georgia.
8. Nanny Goat Beach, Sapelo Island
About: The state of Georgia owns almost all of Sapelo Island, which lies midway down the coastline. The Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve is located here, and so is a remodeled R. J. Reynolds mansion. A community on the island called Hog Hammock is home to about 70 people, many of whom descended from slaves.
What Makes It Great: You might just feel like you have this entire beach to yourself. There’s nothing here but a pavilion along with the sand and the open sea. Do some beachcombing or maybe some fishing, kayaking, or paddleboarding. Or lay in the sand and crack open that novel you’ve wanted to read.
9. John Tanner State Park, Carrollton
About: Here’s another one that’s far away from the coastline. It’s in northwestern Georgia between Atlanta and the Talladega National Forest. More than 100,000 people visit this popular state park every year for freshwater recreation. The park covers 138 acres, and it has a huge sand beach and two lakes with hiking trails around them.
What Makes It Great: It’s only 50 miles from downtown Atlanta, and it’s an awesome place for families that love swimming, fishing, boating, and exploring Georgia’s beaches. You can enjoy the miniature golf course and lots of picnic pavilions. You can rent a cabin or camp on-site in the campgrounds they have for tents or RVs.
10. Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island
About: Overlooking St. Simons Sound, Driftwood Beach lies at the northern end of Jekyll Island. This unique place, just east of the fishing pier, has weathered remains of a coastal forest. The trees, bleached from the sun, died years ago as a result of coastal erosion. The resulting landscape borders on being surreal.
What Makes It Great: You may not want to stop taking photographs of these amazing “driftwood” oaks and pines. You’ll probably see lots of other people doing the same, maybe even a couple posing for wedding pictures. They remind us of nature’s wrath and its stunning, unpredictable beauty.
Visit These Georgia Beaches for a Fantastic Getaway
Georgia is not always part of the conversation when talking about outstanding beaches. It should be, though. You can enjoy natural beauty, wildlife, and water recreation. Or you can take a trip into nearby coastal towns, lake resorts, and find other things to see and do. Consider a detour toward this Deep South state and its scenic eastern shores for your next beach trip.
What beach in Georgia do you want to relax on first? Drop a comment below!
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Sunday 19th of December 2021
OMG! I really miss Savannah so much! Thanks for this! Georgia Beaches are just the best across America! I really miss it and I'm already booking accommodations at a hotel near it from https://www.visitsavannah.com/tybee-island-savannahs-beach ! I'm really looking forward to my stay over at Savannah GA soon!