Historic Sites & Monuments
Rich in history, culture, forgotten heroes and undiscovered towns and hamlets, the Golden Isles’ experience is one of the richest along the Atlantic seaboard. Georgian cultural elements—including songs, stories, dances, food and architecture—and other numerous factors define the area. No matter which historic town you visit first—Brunswick, St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island or Golden Isles surrounding areas—you're sure to uncover more heritage on each trip back to the Golden Isles of Georgia!
The Maritime Center, built into the restored guard station, is a museum that entices children just as much as adults. The museum, which includes ecological displays depicting the Golden Isles habitats, as well as military history from the area through the lens of a 1940’s ‘Coastie,” is a great learning experience for people of any age. The Maritime Center can be found at 4201 1st Street, St. Simons Island, Georgia, 31522. The site can be visited Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon, between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., and on Sundays from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Anna Page King, who inherited the land in 1826, planted the famous Avenue of the Oaks. It is said that Anna grew such an abundance of flowers at Retreat Plantation that sailors nearing St. Simons Island could smell the flowers' fragrance before they saw the Island shores. Once the entrance to Retreat Plantation, the Avenue of the Oaks is now the grand entrance to the Sea Island Golf Club. Follow the drive around the magnificent double row of 160 year old live oak trees which create the Avenue of the Oaks.
The A.W. Jones Heritage Center is the headquarters of the Coastal Georgia Historical Society and is an educational and cultural center for the community. The Society is responsible for the iconic historic structures entrusted to its care – the St. Simons Lighthouse and Keeper’s Dwelling and the Historic Coast Guard Station at East Beach. The Society operates the St. Simons Lighthouse Museum, and will open a new World War II Home Front Museum at the Historic Coast Guard Station in December 2018. The Society also offers lectures, tours, and field trips throughout the year to its members and the public. The first floor of the Heritage Center includes an entrance gallery with rotating exhibits, the Museum Store, and an event hall available for rent for weddings, special occasions, and corporate and civic events. The second floor includes the Society’s administrative offices, a research library accessible by appointment, and the Society’s vast collection of artifacts, manuscripts, and photographs from hundreds of years of Coastal Georgia History. The Museum Store offers a large selection of collectibles, keepsakes, and gifts for all ages. There is a variety of books, replicas, uniquely branded apparel, and decorating items, as well as gift items that will remind you of your visit to the Golden Isles.
At the Bloody Marsh Battle Site on July 7th, 1742, an outnumbered force of British troops ambushed and defeated Spanish troops, halting a planned attack on Fort Frederica. Markers and information panels at this outdoor observation site explain the battle, which once and for all ended Spain's claims to the Georgia territory. The Bloody Marsh Unit is located on St. Simons Island, off of Demere Road. It is open 8:30 am to 4:00 pm, 7 days a week, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Years Day. This site is managed by the National Park Service as part of Fort Frederica National Monument.
Christ Church, one of the oldest churches in Georgia, was founded on St. Simons Island nearly 70 years after the island was first settled by English colonists. Worship has been continuous since 1736 in Christ Church Parish, established by English colonists at Frederica under General James Oglethorpe.
Three years after founding Georgia in 1733, Gen. James Edward Oglethorpe established Fort Frederica to defend the fledgling colony against Spanish attack from Florida. Initially, the purpose of the Georgia colony was not so ambitious. Its founders, General Oglethorpe and twenty other trustees saw it as a social experiment, a humanitarian mission to relieve unemployment and relief to those who crowded England's squalid debtors prisons. This altruistic goal eventually expanded to include the more pragmatic purposes of expanding trade for the mother country and providing a buffer colony on the southern frontier.
Hours: Wednesday–Sunday 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
This beautiful plantation represents the history and culture of Georgia’s rice coast. In the early 1800s, using enslaved African-American laborers, William Brailsford of Charleston carved a rice plantation from marshes along the Altamaha River. The plantation owners were part of the genteel low-country society that developed during the antebellum period.
The completely renovated and reimagined Jekyll Island Museum guides you through the rich cultural and natural history of Georgia’s most intriguing barrier island. In-depth and interactive exhibits draw you in, while stunning visuals and audio tell the tale of this magical island. The new museum, Mosaic, features more exhibit space, more artifacts, and a new multi-purpose room. Constructed completely within the existing footprint of the historic stables building, the new design highlights the building’s construction with high lofted ceilings and open space.
Jekyll Island Historic Tours & Gift Shop offers a variety of tours for the whole family. Take a guided tour and step back in time as each historic building’s story unfolds, and the Jekyll Island Club and the National Landmark Historic District comes alive.
During the renovation and construction of the new museum, historic tours and the museum gift shop will operate from the Infirmary at 101 Old Plantation Rd.
Explore the St. Simons Lighthouse Museum in the Keeper’s Dwelling and discover the fascinating history of Coastal Georgia through colorful exhibits of rare artifacts, historical photographs, and interactives designed for the whole family.