Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- 1. Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island
- 2. North Beach, Tybee Island
- 3. Cumberland Island National Seashore
- 4. St. Andrews Beach, Jekyll Island
- 5. East Beach, St. Simons Island
- 6. Little St. Simons Island
- 7. Nanny Goat Beach, Sapelo Island
- 8. Cabretta, Sapelo Island
- 9. Glory Beach, Jekyll Island
- 10. Sea Island
- 11. John Tanner State Park Beach
Planning a 2023 beach vacation? Come to Georgia! The Peach State is home to more than 100 miles of stunning shoreline and 15 barrier islands, boasting white sand, rolling dunes and forested coastlines. Travelers will find sandy beaches alongside vibrant beach towns as well as secluded shorelines tucked into protected forests.
From the family-friendly shores of Tybee Island to the exclusive Sea Island beaches, Georgia beaches cater to beachgoers of all kinds. Take photos alongside the whimsical weathered trees on Driftwood Beach or watch wild horses on the beaches of Cumberland Island. These are the 11 best beaches in Georgia.
Read More: Complete Beach Vacation Packing List
1. Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island
Located off the coast of Georgia, Jekyll Island is full of fantastic beaches. But Driftwood Beach, located on the north side of the island, is our personal favorite. Once a maritime forest, the beach is decorated with gnarled and weathered driftwood, giving the beach an otherworldly appearance. Visitors can stroll along the shore and photograph the fascinating wood formations that dot the beach.
To access Driftwood Beach visitors can park in designated areas along North Beachview Drive. While there are no restaurants on the beach, visitors can explore dining options within a short distance from the beach. The beach is also free to visit, but there is an $8 fee to visit Jekyll Island.
2. North Beach, Tybee Island
Located 20 minutes outside Savannah, Tybee Island is a popular beach destination among tourists and locals alike. The island is home to restaurants, shops, cafés, boutique hotels and five distinct beaches, three of them overlooking the Atlantic.
While South Beach is the island’s most popular beach, North Beach is larger and offers a more secluded, relaxing beach getaway. The beach features rolling dunes and unique shells that wash up on the sand. The beach is also conveniently close to several popular attractions and historic landmarks, including the Tybee Island Lighthouse and the Tybee Island Marine Science Center.
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North Beach is located in a more residential area, though there is a parking lot, a restroom and some local shops nearby. Visitors can grab a bite to eat at the North Beach Grill, or rent bikes and umbrellas at nearby vacation rental stores.
3. Cumberland Island National Seashore
Cumberland Island National Seashore preserves Georgia’s largest barrier island. The island is sprinkled with maritime forests, tidal creeks, marshland, sand dunes and rich wildlife, including wild horses, armadillos, sea turtles and wild turkeys. The island makes for a perfect day trip, but there are campgrounds for anyone staying the night. To get to the island, visitors can take a ferry that departs from the Cumberland Island Visitor’s Center in St. Marys.
The island also features a variety of pristine beaches. In fact, the island’s entire Atlantic coast is wide-open beach. These can be accessed via paths marked with black-and-white posts. Visitors can walk along the endless coastline and enjoy unspoiled beaches.
Due to the remote location of these beaches, there are few amenities, but visitors will find restrooms at Sea Camp Campground and Stafford Campground. There are also no concessions on the island so plan ahead.
While you’re on the island, make sure to visit the Dungeness Ruins, which was once a mansion that belonged to Thomas Carnegie (brother of Andrew Carnegie) and his family. The mansion burned down in 1959 but the ruins remain a popular attraction.
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4. St. Andrews Beach, Jekyll Island
St. Andrews Beach is another must-visit beach on Jekyll Island. This secluded beach is walking distance from Jekyll Point, the southern tip of the island, and is known for its great wildlife viewing and shelling opportunities.
The beach is particularly popular among birdwatchers, as there are many migratory birds that pass through the area. There are opportunities to see dolphins. In addition to wildlife viewing, visitors can swim, picnic, sunbathe, fish and go for leisurely walks on the beach. There is parking at the St. Andrews Picnic Area.
Near the beach there is a two-story wildlife viewing platform as well as a hiking path called the Wanderer Memory Trail. The trail is a designated UNESCO site that commemorates America’s last known slave ship. Exhibits along the trail tell the story of Umwalla, an African boy who was aboard the ship.
5. East Beach, St. Simons Island
While Little St. Simons Island is privately owned and exclusively for resort guests, St. Simons Island is free and open to all. It is the largest of the Golden Isles and is a great place for history as well as nature. The island is home to a historic lighthouse and a corresponding museum. Visitors can see remnants of a fort and visit a WWII museum.
The most popular beach on the island is called East Beach. The beach is located on the eastern side of the island and is surrounded by a charming beach town atmosphere, with various restaurants, cafes and shops. This soft sand beach invites its visitors to sunbathe, kite surf, bike, swim or play beach volleyball. Just try to avoid going too deep in the water during high tide, as there can be rip currents.
Take a break from sunbathing and walk to the northern tip of the beach, where you’ll find an area called Gould’s Inlet. This area is not so much a beach destination as a protected wildlife area, great for birdwatching and fishing. Check out the local wildlife and chat with the folks fishing along the boardwalk.
6. Little St. Simons Island
Little St. Simons Island provides the ultimate secluded beach experience. This privately-owned island is home to 11,000 acres of undeveloped wilderness and seven miles of private beaches. The island is only accessible to those staying at the island’s all-inclusive eco-resort called The Lodge, which can accommodate up to 32 guests in six unique cottages.
Resort guests can embark on a virtually private beach adventure and walk along the coast, sunbathe, swim, collect seashells or fish. There are guided tours of the island as well as organized nature walks. Birdwatching is also a very popular activity, as more than 330 bird species inhabit the island. The resort also offers kayak and bike rentals.
7. Nanny Goat Beach, Sapelo Island
Sapelo Island is an enchanting barrier island with sprawling grasslands, extensive beaches, freshwater ponds, salt marshes and maritime forests. To get to the island, visitors will need to take a ferry from Sapelo Island Visitors Center in McIntosh County.
The island’s Nanny Goat Beach is known for its coastal sand dunes, which are the most extensive beach dunes on the Georgia Coast. The soft, powdery sand stretches for two miles against a beautiful backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. The beach is also dotted with shells and sand dollars, perfect for an afternoon of beachcombing. There are picnic tables, toilets and restrooms near the beach.
8. Cabretta, Sapelo Island
Also on Sapelo Island, Cabretta is a popular 3-mile beach just north of Nanny Goat Beach. Although still a part of Sapelo Island, the beach is in an area called Carbetta Island, which is separated from the island’s main body by a tidal creek.
Cabretta Beach is located near the Cabretta campground, so beach-goers can take advantage of the campground’s amenities. The beach is a beautiful place to go for a walk or spot wildlife. Visitors can expect to see whitetail deer, armadillos, raccoons and many shorebirds.
9. Glory Beach, Jekyll Island
Another Jekyll Island beach, Glory Beach is an enchanting stretch of coastline on the south end of the island. Parts of the 1989 civil war movie drama Glory were filmed here, and it’s no surprise why. The beach features windswept dunes, swaying sea grass and calm waters.
The beach can be accessed by walking down a boardwalk that starts near the Jekyll Island Soccer Complex. While walking down the boardwalk, visitors will cross dunes and freshwater pools. The beach is rarely crowded and a great place for a picnic, a beach walk or an afternoon kite flying. Just leave your furry friends at home, as pets are prohibited on the beach.
10. Sea Island
Sea island is a privately-owned resort island east of St. Simons Island. The island boasts a small selection of luxurious beachfront accommodations with golf courses, tennis courts, spas and upscale dining.
Albeit small, the island’s private beaches stretch for five miles. Only guests of the resort properties – The Cloisters or The Lodge at Sea Island – can visit these beaches, so they are extremely secluded. Guests can reserve a private set up with chairs, a table, an umbrella, a speaker, snacks and a cooler with drinks. There is also a beach club where guests can rent kayaks.
11. John Tanner State Park Beach
The 138-acre John Tanner State Park has something for everyone. Located in Carroll County, the park has a campground, a picnic area, pavilions, hiking trails and a delightful sand beach area. This is the largest swimming beach of any Georgia state park and is very family-friendly, due to the park’s abundant amenities.
When families aren’t relaxing on the beach, they can play volleyball, mini golf or horseshoe. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of water sports such as kayaking and paddleboarding. Those with a boat can cruise through the park’s lake or go fishing.