Our family spent three months roadschooling in Georgia’s Golden Isles in the fall of 2016. There is so much to love there. But, I’ve compiled a list of some of our favorites. Here are 11 free or frugal things to do in Georgia’s Golden Isles.
1. Find a Tree Spirit on St. Simons Island
These are a challenge to discover as there is no written list of their location but, there are many around the island. The one pictured here was being carved while we were there. It is across the street from the Mallery Park playground at the end of the basketball court.
2. Neptune Park Playground
Read up on some of the history surrounding the man who gave the park its name Neptune Small; a former slave who fought in the Civil War and owned the land the park now sits on. Take a picture of St. Simons lighthouse. Then play on the playground, climb to the top of the rubber whale, or on one of the limbs of the giant live oaks surrounding the park. When it’s time to rest take in the view from one of the white rockers lined up on the library steps overlooking the park and ocean.
3. Go fishing off the pier
Take a walk down the pier at the end of Neptune Park and do a little fishing or see what everyone else is catching. We got to see a small shark in the pail of a girl who was fishing with her dad.
4. Visit Fort Frederica
Fort Frederica was built to protect Savannah in the 1700’s and later became a town. The remains are now part of the national park system. This park offers free admission. They have a great Junior Ranger Program with a colorful booklet and a bag of items to use in completing it. There are quite a few activities in it, but if your kids don’t care about the badge you can just grab it and take it with you to use at home. The visitor’s center is filled with artifacts from the site, games from the time period, and even a dress up station.
After you leave the visitor’s center head outside and walk the grounds. The park offers a self guided audio tour you can access by scanning a QR code.
5. Take a bike ride
Slow down and get on island time by adopting a new mode of transportation. Enjoy the island’s beauty as you ride to the park or the beach or just get some exercise.
6. Go to the beach
East Beach is the name of the stretch of beach along St. Simons Island coast.
The most popular access point is the U.S. Coast Guard Station. There is plenty of parking and access to bathrooms.
Massengale park is another beach access point that I recommend if you’ve got young kids. The parking lot and entrance are adjacent to a tree shaded playground. You can stop here before or after the beach. There are also convenient bathrooms just before you get to the sand. The ocean here is calm and great for small kids.
*All of the following sites are specifically located on Jekyll Island, which charges a vehicle entrance fee to access the island, but the cost is so low it is worth it. A daily pass will only run you $6 and a weekly pass will set you back just $28.
7. Visit the Jekyll Island Museum
This museum is free of charge. There are exhibits about the wildlife and history of the island. Jekyll Island was part of the first transcontinental phone call, the museum exhibits antique phones your kids can pick up and interact with.
8. The Wanderer at St. Andrews Beach
St. Andrews Beach is the site of the historical memorial that shares the sad story of the passengers on the slave ship The Wanderer, Georgia’s last slave ship.
9. Driftwood Beach
Get out your cameras for this one. The shore is lined with breathtaking driftwood giants. Your kids will love exploring them as they climb in and out of these amazing natural wonders.
10. Horton House
This is the historic site where you’ll find one of the oldest tabby structures in Georgia. Tabby is a historical building material containing shells that was used by people along the coast.
11. Horton Pond
Here you’ll find an observation deck where you can look out at the pond and maybe see an alligator or turtle. There is also a walking trail with identification markers for special plants you’ll find on your walk.
Thanks for reading,
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