Sure, exploring the beaches and resorts of the Golden Isles is an incredible way to spend a vacation, but if you start to feel the urge to head off the beaten path, the region provides plenty to do. Set sail on a casino cruise boat, meet the ghosts of the Golden Isles on a tour in a hearse, stay at a resort once reserved solely for Rockefellers and Vanderbilts, and learn about the War of Jenkins’ Ear as you explore the offbeat and quirky side of the Georgia coast!
Buckle up and get ready for a spooky ride through the historic port city of Brunswick in a converted 1994 Cadillac Hearse with Last Ride Ghost Tours. Kick back and relax as you make your way through the town of Brunswick with an incredibly knowledgeable and friendly staff. You'll learn about the rich history of the town, as well as the many ghosts that have allegedly been spotted throughout the years. Whether your young ones are tagging along or you're just a big fan of spooky history, you'll absolutely love Last Ride Ghost Tours. Tours cover the historic downtown Brunswick business and residential areas, are by appointment, and last approximately one hour, so be sure to plan ahead. Who ya gonna call? Last Ride Ghost Tours!
Some of the trees on St. Simons Island are a little different than your average oak, with weathered faces carved into their trunks. Artist Keith Jennings says that his carvings simply reveal the tree's inner soul, which is why each is totally unique. There are 7 public spirits scattered across the island, so stop at a Golden Isles Welcome Center for the lowdown on where to find them, and head off on a scavenger hunt to see them all. Be sure to keep an eye out because you never know when a new tree spirit will emerge!
Set sail for big winnings on the Emerald Princess Cruise, a functioning cruise ship/casino. Whether you're a newbie here for the Vegas vibes or a seasoned pro, there are plenty of games to keep you occupied, from bingo and slots to craps, poker, and roulette. And don't forget that you can celebrate your wins with a bite to eat at the bistro or by soaking in the winning views from the open-air observation deck.
Since you're at the shore, take advantage of the fresh seafood scene. Catch 228 is an especially great joint to taste the local flavor... plus the oyster menu is pretty wild. From classic preparations like steamed and on the half-shell, Catch 228 also offers some out-there oyster options: oysters parm; oysters served with mushrooms, onions, bleu cheese, and bacon; oysters Miyagi with seaweed salad, wasabi, and teriyaki; and oysters smokin', with jalapeno and hot sauce. There are also other seafood options, like crab legs, shrimp, mahi, and tuna, and non-fish choices as well.
One of the many battle sites of the “The War of Jenkins’ Ear” between the Spanish and British in their fight for Georgia in the mid-1700s, the Bloody Marsh Battle Site, is both historic and sobering. It was the last-stand effort for Spain in attempting to claim the land which became Georgia, which they eventually lost to the British. According to legend, the name "Bloody Marsh" comes from that fact that the Marsh "ran red with the blood of Spaniards..." which is probably an exaggeration, since according to eyewitness accounts, the Spanish lost only a handful of men. Now, we know what you're thinking... why is this weirdly named conflict called "The War of Jenkins' Ear"? It started when a Spanish privateer severed the ear of British captain Robert Jenkins in 1731 as punishment for raiding Spanish ships. Jenkins presented the ear to Parliament, and the outraged English public demanded retribution, resulting in a decades-long war.
Located in the famed Jekyll Island National Historic District, the Jekyll Island Club Hotel lets you feel like a Vanderbilt or Rockefeller for a weekend, giving you a true experience of luxury, with access to over 130 years of Jekyll Island history. It features top-of-the-line accommodations and breathtaking views of the island. There's a croquet lawn, a beach pavilion, and a luxurious pool, among other things. But if you're just looking to “taste” luxury, stop in for the daily Victorian Tea between 4 and 5PM. It comes with finger sandwiches, petit fours, scones, pastries, and a cup of whatever tea suits your fancy!
Golden Isles has plenty to do and see for those seeking an adventure that's slightly off the beaten path. Whether that means taking a ghost tour through Brunswick, devouring the most delicious oysters you couldn't even imagine, or living like the Gilded-Age rich for an afternoon, you're sure to find something offbeat and interesting.
Nestled on the Georgia coast lies the mainland city of Brunswick and its four beautiful barrier islands: St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island. Pristine stretches of marshland, punctuated by small islands, define the Golden Isles' breathtaking landscape.