The Golden Isles of Georgia is a popular tourist destination due to its stunning beaches and charming coastal towns.
However, beyond the bustling streets and sandy shores lie some hidden gems – six nature trails that offer visitors a chance to reconnect with nature while exploring the diverse flora and fauna of the area.
For those interested in learning more about the local flora and fauna, there are also educational programs and guided tours available at some of these trails. These opportunities allow visitors to deepen their knowledge of the area’s natural environment while enjoying a scenic hike.
Moreover, many of these trails are also suitable for families with young children, making it a great option for a day out in nature. And for those seeking more adventure, several of the trails offer camping and picnic areas where you can spend the night under the stars.
1. Cannon’s Point Preserve Trail
Situated on St. Simons Island, this 4.5-mile trail winds through marshes, forests, and along the coast, providing spectacular views of the saltwater estuary and its inhabitants. This is also a great spot for birdwatching as over 200 species have been spotted here.
2. Jekyll Island Trail
Discover the breathtaking Jekyll Island Trail, a 24-mile-long route encircling this stunning island on Georgia’s enchanting coast. This exceptional trail weaves together loops and connecting paths, guiding you through pristine state parks, captivating beaches, lush forests, charming campgrounds and the renowned Historic Landmark District. The loop to the north is about 10 miles and the loop to the south is a bit less. A tower at the St. Andrews picnic area offers great views of wildlife and the landscape.
3. Fort King George Trail
At Fort King George State Historic Site in Darien, visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the 0.4-mile trail that meanders through a beautiful maritime forest and ends at an impressive colonial fort dating back to the 1720s. For more information, click HERE.
4. Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation Trail
Explore the grounds of this former rice plantation on foot with four miles of nature trail that winds through marshes, woodlands, and along the Altamaha River. Keep an eye out for alligators, bald eagles, and other wildlife. Leashed pets are allowed on historic site trails. For more information, click HERE.
5. Little Saint Simons Island Trails
Embark on an unforgettable adventure through the natural wonders of Little St. Simons Island. Explore 3000 acres of breathtaking upland landscapes by foot, immersing yourself in the untouched beauty that awaits. With a staggering 26 miles of trails and roads to choose from, every hike promises a unique and awe-inspiring experience. Whether you choose to join a knowledgeable Naturalist or venture out on your own, prepare to be captivated by the wonders of the wilderness.
6. Wanderer Memory Trail
Discover the untold story of the Wanderer, America’s last known slave ship, on the immersive Wanderer Memory Trail. Step into the shoes of Umwalla, a young African boy who embarked on a life-altering journey to America. Along the picturesque banks of the Jekyll River, explore a series of interactive exhibits that guide visitors of all ages through Umwalla’s path from capture to freedom. Immerse yourself in nature and be a part of history in this educational experience. For more information, click HERE.
7. The John Gilbert Nature Trail
This is the most popular trail on St. Simons Island, frequented by hundreds of visitors every week. Discover the trail’s highlights, including bridges and a boardwalk that gracefully traverse wetlands, leading to a viewing deck with breathtaking views of the eastern marsh and Sea Island. And at the heart of the trail, marvel at the majestic 200-year-old oak tree known as “John’s Oak.” For more information, click HERE.
So next time you visit the Golden Isles, don’t just stick to the beaches – make sure to venture out and experience all that these beautiful nature trails have to offer. You never know what wonders you may discover along the way! Happy exploring!