Day 4: St. Simons Island to Jekyll Island (23 miles)
Palmer’s Village Café serves gourmet omelets and challah French toast all day, but eat breakfast early for a busy day of sightseeing.
As you leave Pier Village and head 10 minutes west toward Brunswick, make a detour for Fort Frederica. This free national monument has an especially engaging visitors center, including tavern games such as bagatelle, an 18th-century version of pinball.
In Brunswick, wander the downtown, admiring its pocket parks, fountains, murals and the castle-like Old City Hall. Lunch on Calypso Nachos at Indigo Coastal Shanty, then make your way to the Brunswick River for one of the town’s classic experiences — a ride on the shrimping trawler Lady Jane. You can see and hold sharks, stingrays, crabs and more before they’re returned to the water.
If you didn’t photograph the marshes on your trawler tour because you were too busy with the marine life, swing by the Marshes of Glynn Overlook Park, less than two minutes away, before driving south across Sidney Lanier Bridge to neighboring Jekyll Island, winter retreat of America’s elite in the late 19th century. Note: This state park has a parking fee, which you can buy at the entrance or online.
Where to stay: Splurge on the Holiday Inn Resort for its top-notch amenities, including a hot tub, martini bar, pool and bike rentals, plus a private beach. Live bands regularly spice up the evenings at the hotel’s Beach House Restaurant + Tap Room, where you can fill up on a juicy 16-ounce ribeye or a crab boil with a pound of snow crab legs.