When it comes to romantic things to do in St. Simons Island, it’s a magical place, there’s no doubt about it. Combine its quaintness, giant Live Oaks flocked with hanging Moss, and all-over island vibe with laid back locals and it’s a perfect blend for romance.
From delicious dining to leisurely drives, here are the 10 best romantic things to do in St. Simons Island for couples.
Disclosure: We were hosted by the fine folks at King and Prince Beach Resort & Golf Club. All opinions are my own!
True story: St. Simons Island (SSI) is one of my favorite places in the world.
I visited with my family at least five years ago and became instantly fascinated by how an island the size of Manhattan left such an impression on me. From the moment we drove across the causeway, the feel and vibe completely changed. The stress melted away, too. When we left, I promised myself I’d return.
Last month, my promise came true. Mr. Locke and I hit the road and head back to St. Simons Island for a romantic getaway. We had three nights, beach side, to take in all the fun, romantic things to do and see. Here’s my list of the top spots for date night on St. Simons Island and romantic getaways.
1. Take a Sunrise (or Sunset) Walk on the Beach
When I’m traveling, if I’m anywhere within walking distance of a beach, I’m all about getting up early to see see sun creep off the water. Happily, Mr. Locke is right there with me in my sunrise exuberance so we throw on some clothes, grab our flip flops, and head out the door.
On St. Simons Island, sunrise is the time locals head to the beach, too. When I visited, I found them right in the surf with their dogs, playing in the water. I couldn’t tear the smile off my face.
At sunset, the vibe on St. Simons Island is even more romantic. I mean, who can resist a walk on the beach as the sun falls into the water? It’s definitely one of the most romantic things to do in St. Simons Island, for sure.
2. Climb a Lighthouse
Search Google for photos of St. Simons Island and its famous lighthouse is right there at the top. I had the pleasure of taking a tour of the St. Simons Island Lighthouse Museum (attached to the lighthouse) and learned backstory, which is fascinating for an American history nerd like I am.
After the tour, we headed up the 129 steps of the lighthouse. If you’re concerned about a three-digit step number honestly, for me, it was fine. There are small landing about every 20 steps in case you want to take a breather. Also, each landing has a small window to peep out. So, if you’re not used to stairs, take your time and rest between flights.
But, once you’re at the top, the view is so worth it. The landing allows you to walk completely around the top of the lighthouse to spy gorgeous views of both the island and the ocean. Keep in mind, the St. Simons Island Lighthouse Museum closes daily at 5 pm.
3. Take a Walk on the Pier
Any time of day is pretty spectacular on SSI, but at night the views really amp up. St. Simons Island Pier, and Pier Village, really comes alive. Not only is there plenty of shopping & dining (more on that below), a walk out to the end of the pier is a must.
You’ll find locals fishing on St. Simons Island Sound, but for romance, there are benches to sit and a skyline to die for. And, while we’re talking about Georgia piers, the one on SSI is one of only three in the state. If you need a Google Maps location, look up Mallery Street.
4. Romantic Things to Do In St. Simons Island: Listen to the Ocean on Your Balcony
When we visited, we had the absolute pleasure of staying at King and Prince Beach Resort & Golf Club. It’s truly one of my favorite lodging properties in the U.S. for so many reasons – one of them the balcony views of the ocean and property.
During our visit, we stayed in the South Villas area. Our villa had two balcony entrances, a full kitchen, two bedrooms and baths, and a spacious living/dining area. Also worth noting: each villa has its own dedicated, covered parking space. While the space’s location was convenient, it was the covered area that was ideal for a much cooler car, especially during hot, sunny weather.
For the entire scoop of the resort, here’s our YouTube Tour of King and Prince:
5. See the Island with a Dolphin Watching Tour
I’ve always been a little leery of heading out to ocean on a small boat. It’s not the fact that I’m actually out IN the ocean, it’s the sea sickness, definitely not romantic. Having written that, calm cruises are the way to go for this gal. Plus, as long as I have a clear view of land, I’m good to go.
So, I hit the water on a Cap Fendig Dolphin Tour of St. Simons Island Sound and the east part of the island. He offers both daytime and sunset tours and, honestly, it was so much fun! We spied several groups of dolphins, sped by Bird Island, and even saw the famous Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island from the water.
Yeah, you’ll probably get sprayed with saltwater at some point, but it’s actually part of the experience. You’ll also have memories that will last you a lifetime.
Cap Fendig also has trolley tours that showcase St. Simons Island in only a way a true local can.
6. Channel Your Zen with a Yoga Class
Have you ever read the fact that couples that exercise together stay together? To quote Tomotoa from Disney‘s Moana, “Look it up.”
Mr. Locke and I like to hit the gym together frequently, so taking a Vinyasa Yoga class with Traci Jo Lee was lovely, especially since it was at the pool area of King and Prince. If you’ve never taken a yoga class, or tried yoga at home, yes, it’s challenging, but the positive rewards of doing something good for your body and mind make every sun salutation worth it.
Along with her dedicated East Beach Yoga studio on SSI, Traci Jo offers both group and private sessions and yoga retreats, too.
7. Romantic Things to Do In St. Simons Island: Dig into Local Cuisine
What you won’t find on St. Simons Island: chain restaurants. I can count them on one hand, actually. So, it’s really the mom and pop dining options that shine. Yes, there’s plenty of seafood on the menus, but you’ll also find chicken, veggie, and beef dishes playing a major menu roll. And delicious dining is definitely one of the romantic things to do in St. Simons Island!
Georgia Sea Grill
I’ve had a few writer friends visit SSI and one of the top picks is always Georgia Sea Grill. Located at Pier Village, ingredients are sourced both locally and regionally, and dishes are fresh and creative. The atmosphere is dressy/casual, so feel free to doll up and enjoy the atmosphere.
Yep, it’s a shop filled with fresh, infused olive oil and balsamic vinegar, but it’s a lesson in health, too. I learned that the faster olives are pressed, the healthier it is for you. The antioxidants are heavier and the flavor more intense. So, it’s restaurant is a fun spot to try dished infused with olive oil – including, my favorite, ice cream. Even if you’re not a fan of olive oil, some of the dishes have a very light note of it – definitely worthy of a taste test.
Southern Soul BBQ
You’ll find Southern Soul BBQ joint on plenty of “must-try” lists, so if smoked meats are your bag, do give it a go. It’s sides really shine and you’ll find both pulled and on-the-bone meats. As a gal that can’t resist BBQ chicken, if you’re a fan, it’s the way to go.
Beachcomber BBQ & Grill
I’m sure I’ll get some comments about this statement, but I enjoyed Beachcomber BBQ & Grill more than Southern Soul. For one, it’s just steps away from King and Prince property. Second, remember the show “Good Eats”? Its star, Alton Brown, has gone on record as saying its meals are some of the best food he’s ever eaten. So, we had to try it. It offers a “no shirt, no shoes, no problem” take on dining and is really no larger than a small cottage. But, it’s the BBQ and Brunswick Stew that will keep me going back.
8. Walk in the Path of History
Did I mention I was an American history nerd? History can be romantic, right?
In addition to its beaches, there are a couple of beautiful spots for walking on SSI: Fort Frederica and Avenue of the Oaks. Fort Frederica National Park is open 8:30am – 5:00pm daily, apart from major holidays. But, when you do visit, the scenery and historical beauty is just amazing. There’s a 23-minute movie about the Fort, if you want a respite from the heat. There’s also the route of taking a self-guided archaeological exploration, and that’s what we really dug. I wrote “dug”. Doh.
As for Avenue of the Oaks, it’s two rows of 160-year old oak trees – and a spectacular entrance to the exclusive Sea Island Golf Club.
9. Explore a Sandbar or Tide Pool
Hitting the beach makes me feel like I’m six-years old again, especially when it comes to hunting for beach creatures. During low tide, SSI has so many visible sea creatures along the water’s edge, in its tide pools, and on the sandbars. We actually walked out to a sand bar one afternoon. Yeah, it went against every safe bone in my body, but at low tide you can literally walk out a hundred feet into the water without a massive decline. It’s bananas, but it’s one of the major reasons why I love the east side beaches on the island. Note: always check the tide schedule for safety!
We filmed our St. Simons Island fun! Here’s our YouTube video:
In the morning, I found tons of clams, but the afternoon was the ideal time to go beachcombing. We found hermit crabs, horseshoe crabs, small fish, and sand dollars. as for shelling and beach glass, you’ll find smaller shells but no beach glass.
10. Romantic Things to Do In St. Simons Island: Say Cheers with a Local Cocktail
Back to King and Prince, but it’s worthy of mentioning several times because it has so much to offer guests. In the lobby is ECHO Bar and very talents cocktail creators. During our visit, we had a pre-dinner cocktail hour and learned all about the award-winning liquor delights from behind the bar.
Our pick? The Bourbon Melon Smash. WOODFORD reserve bourbon, lemon juice, basil simple syrup, fresh basil and watermelon make the drink sweet with a fun, spicy (not hot) kick. It’s like drinking a watermelon salad without the crumbled cheese.