Greatest Destinations 2021: Golden Isles

The Horton House is one of the oldest tabby buildings in Georgia, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tabby is a distinctive type of concrete made by burning oyster shells to create lime, then mixing it with water, sand, ash and broken oyster shells. The site also includes the cemetery of the DuBignon Family, which owned Jekyll Island from 1790 to 1886 and occupied the house as their home from 1790 until sometime in the mid-1800s.

South present’s our hotly anticipated, annual guide to the Greatest Destinations of 2021. Each year, South produces the definitive list of the best places to stay, play, eat and shop in Charleston, Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, Savannah and Jacksonville. This year, we’ve added some new locations for an exhaustive guide to the Coastal South.


South’s Greatest Destinations serves as an annual guide to the best locations in the coastal South from Charleston through Jacksonville. The list includes the premier places to stay and the hottest spots to play, as well as the best bites and top shops. In the past year, the Southeast saw continuous visitors—despite recent restrictions—proving there is just something inexplicably hospitable about our beautiful region. Without further ado, here is South’s definitive guide to the greatest destinations.

The Golden Isles

That golden hour feeling is perpetual throughout Georgia’s Golden Isles: Jekyll Island, Saint Simons Island and (private) Sea Island. A history of prestige and luxury run deep along the enviable coastline, but visitors nowadays discover the islands’ raw beauty at every turn.


Jekyll Island Club Resort 

The Jekyll Island Club was named “the richest, the most exclusive, the most inaccessible club in the world” all the way back in 1886. Choose your luxury accommodation from the historic Jekyll Island Club, mansion-sized cottages or the upscale Ocean Club with waterfront views.

Photo: D. Paul Graham

Jekyll Island Campground 

The most candid way to experience the natural beauty of Jekyll Island is to pitch a tent. Encounter the wilderness to varying degrees with the option for full hook-up or bare-bones living, with plenty of available amenities like washers, bathhouses, central pavilion, free WiFi, and pet-friendliness.

Jekyll Island Campground

Photo: Jekyll Island Campground

The Cloister at Sea Island 

The properties at The Cloister offer a Forbes Five-Star, private-island getaway, complete with exceptional dining, a serene spa and fitness center and unlimited potential for coastal adventures. A stay at The Cloister is also the only way to access the property’s prestigious golf courses.


Georgia Sea Turtle Center 

As Georgia’s only sea turtle education and rehabilitation facility, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center offers the public a chance to learn about sea turtles in action with a host of interactive exhibits and experiences.

Photo: Miranda Osborn

Golf at Sea Island Resort

These world-class, sublime golf courses are a main attraction on Sea Island and can only be accessed by staying at The Cloister or a PGA tour player at the RSM Classic. So, book a stay or start practicing your swing!

Sea Island Golf

Photo: Sea Island Golf

Hit the Trail 

Jekyll and St. Simons foot and bike trails offer over 20 miles of paved trails each that wind through maritime forests, past historic landmarks, and along pristine beaches. 

Photo: Miranda Osborn



Nashville hot chicken has landed in St. Simons. After years of rasslin’ recipes and tussling with temperatures, the guys at Porch have brought the perfect basket of fried goodness to the Golden Isles.

Porch Ssi

Photo: Porch

The Wharf 

Once the gateway to Jekyll Island’s historic district, The Wharf continues to usher in an incredible waterfront dining experience. Enjoy live music, indoor/outdoor dining, and some of the South’s favorite down-home dishes.

Thewharf 3

Photo: The Wharf


Formerly a Naval air station, Echo pays homage to it’s past with nautical themes and cuisine. As the island’s only oceanfront dining venue, Echo hosts stunning views and a relaxed atmosphere.

Echo Ssi

Photo: Echo


Golden Isles Bracelet Company 

Golden Isles Bracelet Co. hand crafts, casts and creates beautiful pieces from genuine silver and gold. These stunning custom works—from bracelets to pendants and more—are the perfect keepsake and make meaningful, original gifts.

Island Dog 

Dogs shop, too! The pet care specialists at Island Dog treat your fur-baby like royalty and offer personalized recommendations with the highest quality products on the market. They are part of what makes the Golden Isles an ideal pet-friendly destination.

Two Brothers Bike Shop 

Because you might need a bike to cover over 40 miles of island trails, Two Brothers Bike Shop has you covered. At the number-one source for all bicycle needs on the islands, rent, service or purchase a bike and you’re ready to roll!

Two Brothers

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