St Simons is the largest of the barrier reef islands off the Georgia coast. Along with Sea Island, Jekyll and the privately-owned, Little St Simons Island, these islands comprise the “Golden Isles.”
Halfway between Savannah, Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida, these outer banks are rich in history. Originally the territory of the Creek Nation, in 1732, King George II of Britain granted St Simons to a British politician, who envisioned a refuge for released debtors and the poor.
In time large cotton and rice plantations, worked by slaves brought from the West Coast of Africa, covered St Simons. After the Civil War, these peoples, largely from Angola, Senegambia, the Windward Coast and the Gold Coast, stayed on the land where they had been enslaved, and until today actively seek to keep alive their West African Culture through their Gullah language, arts, crafts and beliefs.
Today, St Simons is home to over 12,000 permanent residents, tourism swells the population during spring and summer. In addition to the wide and popular beaches, on the northern part of St Simons a large nature preserve is open to the public and includes marsh and woodlands, home for many birds and wildlife. Open to the public, it also contains many hiking trails and historical ruins