St. Simons Island (27630 acres). Horse carriages once road up the Avenue of Oaks that golfers and world tourists travel today.
St. Simons Island is just 12 miles from Savannah, and easily accessible by car via Interstate 95 or Highway 17. It may be the most extensively developed of Georgia’s barrier islands, but St. Simons Island retains its charm amongst the majestic oaks, glorious beaches and colorful landmarks that serve as reminders of the island’s history.
The island’s first inhabitants were said to have lived there around 2000 B.C. There are also reminders of an Indian settlement that prospered on St. Simons centuries before European settlers came ashore.
Historical points of interest on the island are the St. Simon’s Lighthouse, Fort Frederica National Monument, Lanier Oak (Sidney Lanier 1842-1881 standing under the oak and inspired by the oak and the marsh wrote, The Marshes of Glynn), an original African slave cabin, and Christ Church, the second-oldest Episcopal church in Georgia. These intermingle with art galleries, boutiques, golf courses and resort hotels to create an experience that’s uniquely St. Simons.
During the Battle of Bloody Marsh (1742) between Spanish and English, the English stopped the Spanish invasion of St. Simons Island. In 1942, Winston Churchill stated “…whosoever controls the Atlantic, will win the war.” German U-boats were busily blowing up all moving ships, including the U.S.S. Oklahoma traveling about the Sea Island coast near Brunswick and St. Simons Island.
Secret Seashore: Georgia’s Barrier Islands, Georgia Public Broadcasting