St. Simons is the largest of Georgia's resplendent Golden Isles, an idyllic Southern enclave midway between Savannah and Jacksonville, Florida. The century-old resort community of 13,381 residents occupies an 18-square-mile island where the winding streets and bike paths are lined with moss-draped oaks, and the two public beaches are among the most unspoiled in the region. Its marshes and woodlands, once the setting of colonial exploration and rice cultivation, now make safe haven for the more than 300 species of birds that pass through.
Fishermen migrate here, too, to drop their lines right at the pier or to fish offshore in the plentiful waters for fresh catch ranging from grouper and snapper to flounder, tarpon, and king mackerel. Golfers pack their clubs for a chance to tee off at any of the island's 99 holes of superb golf. And walkers love the John Gilbert Nature Trail in Frederica Marsh, which features a breathtakingly huge live oak in the heart of this lovely island.
Where to Stay: With 15 well-appointed suites, Ocean Lodge is an intimate boutique hotel in an old-world Mediterranean--style lodge on the south end of the island. Rates start at $299; 912-291-4300 or oceanlodgessi.com.