By Brian Jewell
Although they share a common landscape and are separated by only 75 miles, each of the small communities along Georgia’s coastline has a distinctive identity. Groups that take the time to visit these places will find a variety of travel experiences, among them a quiet fishing village, a colonial fortress, a historic resort and a modern beach destination.
On the southern end of the coast, the Golden Isles are a string of islands that each have their own charm. A visit to Jekyll Island National Historic Landmark District takes groups back to the period between the 1880s and the 1940s when the island served as a private hunting club to the wealthiest elite of the day. Today, visitors can enjoy touring, eating and staying overnight in Gilded Age style. The Island is also home to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, where groups can witness veterinarians rehabilitating injured sea turtles.
Also part of the Golden Isles, St. Simons Island is a modern coastal vacation destination. In addition to its waterfront and ubiquitous live oak trees, the island features the oldest brick lighthouse on the eastern seaboard, where visitors can get a 360-degree view from its observation deck.
A short drive up the coast, Darien is a small, quiet fishing community. Groups that stop for a waterfront seafood lunch can also visit Fort King George State Historic Site, a replica of a 1721 English fortress that was built a decade before the colony of Georgia was established.
Further north, in the town of Richmond Hill, is Fort McAllister State Historic Park. The park preserves, an 1861 earthwork fortress constructed by the Confederate Army. The fort was the endpoint of Sherman’s March to the Sea near the end of the Civil War.