Are you looking for a quick, kid-friendly day trip less than two hours from Jacksonville? Look no further than St. Simons Island in Georgia’s beautiful Golden Isles! Located smack in the middle between Jacksonville and Savannah, she may be small, but she’s mighty. Our friends at St. SiMoms have rounded up the top kid-friendly activities you can do for free if you’re thinking of taking a little road trip up north to explore the coast of Georgia.
Spend a Day at the Beach
The beach is a big deal around here (we are on an island, after all). St. Simons Island has three glorious miles of continuous beaches. Whether you’re looking to view the sunrise, have an evening picnic, or spend a long summer day in the sun, a beautiful St. Simons Island beach is the perfect place to do that. Check out St. SiMom’s Parent’s Guide to Golden Isles Beaches and information on the tides in the Golden Isles.
Go on a Bike Ride
With over 20 miles of paved bike paths, St. Simons Island is fun to explore via bike. If you can’t bring your own, there are plenty of bike rental options on the island. Be sure to check out the map of St. Simons Island Biking Trails before you head out.
Burn Some Energy at a Playground
We recommend visiting the playground in Neptune Park. It’s located right on the St. Simons Sound (keep a look out for dolphins and the cargo ships that honk as they pass the pier!). The park was renovated and re-opened in January 2023 with a fun pirate theme and all-new play facilities. The park is adjacent to St. Simons Island Library and within walking distance of all the shops and restaurants in Pier Village, where you can grab lunch or a sweet treat. Be sure to check out St. SiMom’s full guide to playgrounds on St. Simons Island.
Grab a Bite to Eat at a Family-Friendly Restaurant
St. Simons Island has plenty of family-friendly restaurants. We’re not talking about chain restaurants, either. From fresh-off-the-boat seafood to mouthwatering barbeque, there’s plenty to choose from. Discover our complete list of family-friendly restaurants on St. Simons Island.
Go on a Tree Spirit Scavenger Hunt
According to this article, artist Keith Jennings decided to make his mark on St. Simons Island in the ’80s, carving about 20 faces on the island’s oak trees. Each unique face is hand-carved, taking 2-4 days to complete. In recent years, Jennings has brought his son Devon to the Island to collaborate on the newest Tree Spirits. Embark on a Tree Spirit scavenger hunt! Click here for a map of the Tree Spirits located on public property.
Take a Hike at Cannon’s Point Preserve
A 608-acre greenspace on the north end of the island, Cannon’s Point Preserve is an excellent place to view wildlife while also letting the kids burn off some energy. A few things to note:
- Make sure to check the website to ensure it’s open before you head out, hours vary depending on the season.
- View the historic ruins of John Couper’s plantation (note that it’s 5 miles roundtrip to the ruins and then back to the parking lot).
- Be sure to check out the marsh from the boat launch.
- Pets are not allowed.
- Only biking and walking are permitted after you park at Taylor’s Fish Camp.
- Bring bug spray.
- The restrooms are located near the parking area.
Discover the Island’s History at Fort Frederica National Monument
Fort Frederica is on the island’s north end and definitely worth a visit. The park is stunning, and kids will love exploring and learning about the history of the ruins. There’s even an option to become a Junior Ranger, complete with a badge! Stop by the visitor’s center desk to request a junior ranger booklet.
Feed the Horses at the Stables at Frederica
Feeding the horses at the Stables at Frederica is a fun activity on the island’s north end (plus the grounds are beautiful). Stop at Harris Teeter on the way for carrots or apples. Just park in the small lots on the right or left before the roundabout once you’re on the property grounds.
Explore the Island’s Two Shopping Areas
Pier Village – Pier Village is located on the south end of the island. There are many things to explore in The Village and within the direct vicinity, including shops, bars, restaurants, the fishing pier (where you might get lucky and see a cargo ship go by while blasting its horn), Neptune Park, which includes a playground, mini-golf and a public swimming pool (tickets must be purchased to access the pool), the lighthouse and a great sidewalk that winds along the water. Exploring The Village is an excellent option if the kids need to get some energy out.
Redfern Village – Redfern Village is just north of St. Simons Airport. It’s an outdoor restaurant and shopping district and is great for walking around and popping in and out of all the shops.
If you’re looking for additional resources for St. Simons Island and Georgia’s Golden Isles, check out the St. SiMoms website. St. SiMoms is a site dedicated to navigating Georgia’s Golden Isles with kids. From birthday party resources to community events and outdoor fun, you’ll find everything you need to ride this wave called parenthood in the beautiful Golden Isles.