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Longstreet Highroad Guide to the Georgia Coast & Okefenokee

By Richard J. Lenz

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Sherpa Guides > Georgia Coast & Okefenokee> Southern Coast > St. Simons Island > St. Simons Island Lodging, Restaurants, Night Life, and Activities

St. Simons Island Lodging, Restaurants, Night Life, and Activities

While other areas of St. Simons Island have developed commercial sections, the main action is near the village. Located here are a wide variety of excellent restaurants, bars with entertainment, and small shops, along with the beach and many of the more popular tourist attractions of the island. Lodging options are conveniently located within walking distance of all the commercial offerings. A short distance away along East Beach, several excellent lodging options are found, including the historic King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort, and nearby in the Ocean Boulevard area are some of the more popular eating establishments and shops on the island.

Lodging near the Village and East Beach

King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort. 201 Arnold Road. The most famous lodging on St. Simons Island is this resort located on East Beach. This King and Prince is a survivor, having withstood numerous fires, hurricanes, and wars. It started modestly in the 1930s as a private beach club, and has evolved and grown several times since then. It has been rebuilt several times after fires, and managed to hang on to its beach after being assaulted many times by natural forces. Today, it has 139 rooms, 42 villas, two restaurants, a lounge, one indoor pool and four outdoor pools, four tennis courts, bicycles, and golf privileges at the Hampton Club on the north end of the island. Moderate to expensive. (800) 342-0212. Sea Gate Inn. 1014 Ocean Boulevard. The Sea Gate Inn is an oceanfront getaway with an informal atmosphere. Bedrooms, efficiencies, and suites offered. Swimming pool. Moderate. (800) 562-8812. St. Simons Inn by the Lighthouse. 609 Beachview Drive. Within convenient walking distance of the village and other attractions. Be sure to ask for one of the 34 rooms that have a view of the lighthouse. Moderate. (912) 638-1101. For additional lodging, call the Brunswick and the Golden Isles Visitors Bureau at (800) 933-(912) 2627. Numerous condos and homes are available to rent, handled by more than a dozen rental companies. Call the Brunswick and the Golden Isles Visitors Bureau for a complete listing, phone (800) 933-(912) 2627, or try your luck with the following: THE Management Company, phone (800) 627-6850; Golden Isles Realty, phone (800) 337-3106; Parker-Kaufman Realtors, phone (888) 227-8573; Georgia Coast Realty, phone (800) 639-1144.

Restaurants and Night Life on St. Simons Island

Except for Savannah, St. Simons has the best restaurant offerings on the Georgia coast. Chain restaurants have yet to move in and dominate the island, and a wide variety of at least 50 local options will satisfy even the most discriminating tastebuds. Some restaurants have outdoor seating where you can watch the world walk by as you gobble your grouper sandwich. In general, most restaurants are in the Village area or the Redfern area, with a few favorites scattered around the island.

Village Area

Dressner's Village Café. 223 Mallery Street. This is a locals' favorite that serves breakfast all day, and claims to have the "best hamburger in the Golden Isles." Breakfast and lunch. Inexpensive. (912) 634-1217. The Fourth of May Café and Deli. 444 Ocean Boulevard. Another locals' hangout that features delicious Southern cooking with the meat and two-vegetable daily special that rarely disappoints. Huge salads, delicious cornbread, and fresh vegetables, while locals sit spinning yarns. The deli stays busy. Lunch and dinner. Moderate. (912) 638-5444. Blanche's Courtyard. 440 Ocean Boulevard. A St. Simons's mainstay, with hand-cut steaks and seafood prepared any way you like it, all in an interesting décor. Entertainment on Saturdays. Dinner. Moderate. (912) 638-3030. Blue Water Restaurant, 115 Mallery. Delicious seafood dishes (and beef, poultry, lamb, and pork) with a New Orleans accent. Moderate. (912) 638-7007. CJ's Italian Restaurant. 405 Mallery Street. Some believe this small eatery has the best Italian food on the island. Lunch (seasonally) and dinner. Moderate. (912) 634-1022. J. Mac's Island Restaurant and & Jazz Bar. 407 Mallery Street. Fine dining here, with mouth-watering creations ranging from sautéed lobster and shiitake mushroom appetizers to gorgonzola-stuffed angus beef tenderloin dinners. Dinner. Moderate to expensive. (912) 634-0403. Mullet Bay. 512 Ocean Boulevard. With a fun, coastal-Caribbean atmosphere, this casual seafood restaurant also is a popular social gathering spot in the village. Lunch and dinner. Moderate. (912) 634-9977.

The following establishments are good places for cold drinks and entertainment. Brogen's. 200 Pier Alley. This is a sports bar, featuring good burgers, wings, and salads, and a great deck where you can watch the sun set while nursing a cold drink. Lunch and dinner. Inexpensive to moderate. (912) 638-1660. Coconut Willie's. 121 Mallery Street. A ten-year-old bar and grill that offers good fried seafood sandwiches, burgers, salads, seafood pasta, and mixed drinks. Lunch and dinner. Moderate. (912) 634-6134. Island Rock Café. 303 Mallery Street. This is a bar and grill with outdoor seating that also features live entertainment. Lunch and dinner. Moderate. (912) 638-0245. Rafters. 315½ Mallery Street. Music is the attraction at this blues club, as well as a full raw-bar menu of oysters, clams, mussels, and crawfish, along with deli sandwiches. Ribs on Wednesdays. Dinner. Moderate. (912) 634-9755.

East Beach Area

A short distance from the village at the intersection of Ocean Boulevard and Arnold Road are several restaurants popular with residents and tourists. Chelsea. 1226 Ocean Boulevard. The food here is delicious, ranging from prime rib to seafood and pasta specials. Dinner served 7 days a week. Moderate to expensive. (912) 638-2047. Crab Trap. 1209 Ocean Boulevard. A St. Simons tradition that serves the basic fried seafood classics. Dinner. Moderate. (912) 638-3552. The King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort. 201 Arnold. Not only fine lodging, but fine dining as well, with classic seafood and beef dishes. Live piano music on weekends and extensive Sunday brunch. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Moderate to expensive. (912) 638-3631.

Redfern and Retreat Villages and Elsewhere

Crab Happy & Co. 260 Redfern Village. This is where you go to eat steamed blue crabs. All you can eat crab specials are offered and a seafood buffet on Sunday. Lunch and dinner. Moderate. (912) 634-8899. Marsh Point Bar and Grill. 253 Redfern Village. Creative cuisine with martinis and a marsh view. Lunch and dinner. Moderate. (912) 634-(912) 2351. The Redfern Café. 200 Redfern Village. Special seafood, veal, lamb, and pasta dishes. Dinner. Moderate to expensive. (912) 634-1344. Allegro Garden Room and Cafe. 2465 Demere Road. Two separate dining rooms, one more casual than the other, offer inspired creations such as bourbon glazed quail, lobster taquitos, Colorado lamb, and Moroccan spiced pork tenderloin. Dinner. Moderate. (912) 638-7097 (Garden Room), (912) 638-6097 (Café).

These three popular restaurants are old mainstays and worth a visit: Alfonza's Olde Plantation Supper Club. 171 Harrington Lane. You will certainly find something to order at this popular restaurant. Moderate. (912) 638-9883. Bennie's Red Barn. 5514 Frederica Road. This popular restaurant dates back to 1954, making it the oldest family-owned restaurant on the island. Its long-running success is due to hospitality and great meals featuring fresh seafood and wood-fire grilled steaks. Entertainment Wednesday–Saturday. Dinner. Moderate. (912) 638-2844. Frederica House. 3611 Frederica Road. Seafood and steaks in a log cabin. Dinner. Moderate. (912) 638-6789.

Village Creek Landing. 526 S. Harrington Road. For a very casual, low-country affair, where you can either buy bait or eat it, try this restaurant located at Village Creek Landing Marina. Choices are limited to fried fish, oysters, shrimp, or scallops, or steamed shrimp by the pound, but the beer's cold and the view of the "bloody" marsh from the deck is inspiring. Dinner. Inexpensive. (912) 634-9054. For other restaurants, see Golden Isles Marina.

Biking and Jogging on St. Simons Island

St. Simons is an excellent island to view from the seat of a bike, where cyclists can get fresh air as they enjoy the charming homes and beautiful landscaping of the island. Extensive, marked bike paths lead from Brunswick over the causeway to the island, where the cyclist can choose from a network of paths leading to most of the island's popular sites. It's best to stay on the paths, as the traffic can get fierce. The hard-packed beach, from Massengale Park to Gould's Inlet, is another safe area to ride, if you don't mind fighting the wind at times or getting sand on your bike. All the trails double as jogging paths for those who want a more strenuous workout.

Golf and Tennis Resorts on St. Simons Island

St. Simons has the best golf and tennis offerings on the Georgia Coast. The best action occurs at these four resorts: The Sea Island Golf Club and St. Simons Island Club. Owned and operated by the Sea Island Company, these 36- and 18-hole semiprivate golf clubs have different fee structures and availability to the public based on whether golfers are guests of the Cloister Hotel. Call for details. Sea Island: phone (912) 638-5118. St. Simons: phone (912) 638-5130. Sea Palms Golf and Tennis Resort. This resort on 800 acres has furnished villas, tennis, rental bikes, two pools, children's programs, restaurant, and 27 holes of golf. Phone (800) 841-6268. The Hampton Club is the newest course on the island, featuring 18 holes in the beauty of the coast. Located at the northern end of the island. Golf packages are available through the King and Prince. Phone (912) 634-0255.

Kayaking, Sailing, Scuba Diving, and Nature Tours

The leading outfitter on this part of the Georgia coast is Southeast Adventure Outfitters, which offers a full range of outdoor expeditions geared for timid to courageous coastal explorers. 313 Mallery Street. (912) 638-5225. Barry's Beach Service. 420 Arnold Road, rents sailboats, kayaks, wind surfers, boogie boards, as well as providing sailing instruction and nature tours. (912) 638-8053. Island Dive Center, at Golden Isles Marina, provides scuba instruction and charters. (912) 638-6590.

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