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Oak trees draped in Spanish Moss, soft sandy beaches, and a relaxed, slow pace of living make St. Simon’s Island one of the most charming barrier islands in Georgia.

And if the island life doesn’t lure you, then perhaps the Instagram-worthy shops, restaurants, and luxury hotels will.

Local home and travel blogger Monica Lavin with Lavin Label rounded up her can’t-miss spots that will make the most of your next trip to this charming island town.

Below, you’ll find her guide to St. Simons Island.

Where to stay in St. Simons Island

Book a room at Sea Island Resorts for a five-star experience. The world-class properties located on Sea Island and St. Simon’s Islands boast a beach club, dining, spa, and three championship golf courses. I’d recommend a leisurely bike ride, a cocktail cruise on their brand new Yacht, or a horseback ride along the beach.

This luxe resort is also a favorite among Whitney Long and Cheri Leavy, co-founders of  The Southern C, a multi-day retreat for creative entrepreneurs held on property annually.

If you’re looking for a beachfront hotel near the Pier, then stay at The King and Prince Hotel. You can’t beat their oceanfront views and proximity to the sand. Enjoy a glass of wine at their waterfront restaurant, Echo, while watching the waves crash on the sand.

Where to shop in St. Simons Island

Mari Max is a contemporary boutique that offers everything from fine jewelry and shoes to accessories and dresses.

Tibi on St. Simon’s is the only brick-and-mortar shop outside of their flagship boutique in Manhattan’s Soho. Founder and St. Simons native Amy Smilovic offers clean, feminine, and relaxed clothing and footwear at a discount price.

Cloth and Label is an Instagram-worthy boutique where founder Valerie Zeh merges interiors and fashion in a new and modern way.

Butler’s Stash, located in the Shops at Market Street, offers stylish accessories, shoes, clothing, and jewelry. They also offer trunk shows highlighting Southern artists, like T. Marie Designs.

For a large selection of shoes, stop by Shackleford Shoes located next door to Tibi. They carry one of my favorite brands, Dolce Vita, as well as other brands such as Eileen Fisher, Antelope, and more.

Viola’s Market is one of the best accessory and gift stores in southeast Georgia. Definitely stop by this unique shop on your next trip to the island. You won’t leave empty-handed.

Stop by The Vine Garden Market for fresh flowers or floral-inspired home and garden gifts. They also offer workshops year round, which is a favorite activity for locals.

Pierce and Parker is a home furnishings store with over 17,000 square feet of space. The owners are always on the hunt for the latest decor and design trends. They also offer home accessories and interior design services.

Next door to Mari Max is Face to Face Designs. They’re known for their handmade home goods with relatable sayings. When I’m looking for a thoughtful gift, I always pop into Face to Face Designs and I’m never disappointed.

Located in Redfern Village, Two Friends boutique offers casual, colorful women’s apparel, and home accents, in addition to glassware and gifts.

Where to eat in St. Simons Island

Breakfast

Sandy Bottom Bagels is the perfect stop in the mornings for New York style bagels. I always opt for the classic egg, cheese, sausage and spinach bagel.

The Market at Sea Island offers breakfast, lunch, and take-home dinners. For lunch, try the blackened chicken sandwich or their chipotle ranch chicken flatbread with a side of fresh shrimp salad.

While you’re waiting for your food to be prepared, shop their products showcasing local farmers and artisans, like Brunswick-based Grace Graffiti’s wooden art and accents. They also have a great wine selection, including my favorite rosé, Hogwash.

You’ll find me at Wake Up Coffee every morning, where they serve certified Fair Trade coffees, teas, and retail goods produced by artisans and farmers in developing countries. Order their Vanilla Chai Latte, hot or iced, with a blueberry scone.

Lunch and dinner

Nancy is one of my favorite restaurants on the island for contemporary, American cuisine. Chef Abney Harper only serves dishes with the highest quality ingredients. The Asian chicken-style salad and honey glazed salmon are my favorite dishes accompanied with a glass of rosé, of course.

If you’re looking for a casual lunch or dinner spot, check out Certified Burgers and Beverage. They’re known for their delicious burgers, milkshakes, and homemade donuts on Sundays. They also serve Richland Rum, a Georgia-based small batch rum with a newly opened distillery in Brunswick.

For fresh local seafood and a great atmosphere, make a dinner reservation at Halyards. I love to start the night at the bar to sip on one of their craft cocktails. For dinner, start with the crispy fried calamari or tuna tartare before indulging in their shrimp and grits.

Del Sur Artisan Eats is located in the heart of the Pier Village. Expect a blend of Argentinian and Italian dishes using the freshest ingredients. Dine inside or outside on their patio. For appetizers, try the flaky spinach empanada and the grilled provoleta. Even though they are known for their steak dishes, I always order the Linguini Alla Vongole.

Porch is one of the island’s newest restaurants located near the Pier Village. You feel like you’re eating chicken on your grandmother’s porch. Expect authentic Nashville hot chicken with loads of sides to choose from. They also serve frosé, need I say more?

A St. Simons Island travel guide would not be complete without mentioning Southern Soul BBQ. Southern Soul has been featured on a number of travel and cooking shows and is truly a St. Simons landmark.

It’s super casual and the go-to spot for authentic Southern style BBQ. Their sides are just as delicious as their BBQ. My favorite ones are the sack of fried green beans, the collard greens, and the mac n’ cheese.

If you’re craving fresh seafood, dine at CrabDaddy’s Seafood Grill located on the south end of the Island. Make a reservation in advance because this restaurant is a favorite among the locals. Expect locally sourced seafood and a fun, coastal atmosphere. And don’t forget to save room for their famous bread pudding.

If you’re planning to cook at your rental home, stop by Uncle Don’s Local Market for the freshest produce and prepared foods. Don’t leave without farm eggs or freshly squeezed juices. They also offer local gift items such as Brunswick-based Dot and Army’s cloth napkins.

Things to do in St. Simons Island

Stop by the Avenue of the Oaks at 100 Retreat Avenue to see a double row of beautiful 160-year-old oak trees. The shade and Spanish moss make it a great spot for family photos.

Take advantage of the water and book a kayaking trip with Southeastern Adventure Outfitters. Trips last anywhere from two to four hours.

Explore the Island by bike. Head south to visit the Pier or East Beach or travel north and check out historical landmarks such as Fort Frederica and Christ Church. You can rent bikes through Sea Island if you’re a guest or at Monkey Wrench.

Sign up for a barre, cycle, or yoga class at Omcore Yoga. They also offer full moon yoga on the beach which is a perfect way to unwind.

Images by Tamara Gibson Photography.

Welcome to the Draper James blog. My little slice of space to share the things I love most about life: people, parties, food, and fun!  It’s everything Draper James  stands for. and I hope you like it. 

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