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Is the beach your happy place? Scientists support this statement. Research has found that visiting or living near the beach contributes to positive physical and mental health.
The sound of the surf and the view of the sea calms your parasympathetic nervous system, making you feel more relaxed and at ease. Walking with bare feet in the sand can help you feel more grounded.
You probably didn’t need to be convinced to go to the beach, but it can help knowing that the amazing restorative effect isn’t just your imagination at work.
When you think of a beach, you might have a particular destination in mind. Perhaps it’s a place you live near or have regularly visited.
Yet, there are many incredible beaches in the United States that you might not have considered. Some of them can be found in Georgia, the state I call home.
Does Georgia Have Any Good Beaches?
When you think of the state of Georgia, you might not think of good beaches, but there are several incredible beaches along the 100+ miles of coastline.
Georgia’s coast is sandwiched between South Carolina and Florida. While the beaches might not be as well-known, you might want to consider visiting these coastal gems.
The Georgia coast contains a series of barrier islands, each with distinct attractions. You’ll find protected wildlife, unspoiled beaches, and a serious effort to conserve the natural beauty and diverse ecosystems.
These beaches aren’t known as party destinations, although some of the more popular ones do get their fair share of that.
However, the main attraction to the beaches along the Georgia coastline is that every effort is being made to keep them clean, preserve natural habitats, and protect the endangered creatures that call these beaches home.
You can enjoy a relaxing beach vacation while knowing that the places you visit are making every effort to protect the environment for your future visits.
You’ll also be glad to know that the majority of these beaches are conveniently located near restaurants, shops, museums, and other attractions.
While the beach is clearly the headliner, it’s nice to know that other entertainment is available if you don’t get the best weather for your trip.
Fans of nature, history, ghosts, and wildlife will find something to see and do along the Georgia coastline.
9 Best Beaches in Georgia
While I haven’t been to every single beach in Georgia, I’ve been to most of them. I have personal favorites, but I’ll give you a rundown of them all and let you decide for yourself which one you want to visit.
After all, every beach on the list comes with the positive health benefits I mentioned before. No matter which one you choose, you just might find your troubles melting away when faced with the sea, surf, and sand.
1. Tybee Island
You’ll find Tybee Island located a mere 20-minute drive from Savannah, Georgia. Savannah is easily one of my favorite cities here, and part of the attraction is its close proximity to the beach.
You can visit one of the most romantic cities in the South and also combine it with the beach vacation of your dreams. For such a small island, you might be surprised to know that there are five beautiful beaches to visit.
- North Beach
- South Beach
- Back River Beach
- Little Tybee Beach
Each beach on Tybee Island has different amenities to offer. North Beach is peaceful but in close proximity to restaurants and shopping. South Beach is located by Tybee Pier and Pavillion.
It’s the busiest beach, perfect for those who want to socialize and enjoy the ocean view. Mid-Beach offers the best of both worlds — peace with close access to everything else.
Back River Beach is far less populated and a great place to spy dolphins and relax. Little Tybee is only accessible by boat and is the perfect getaway for the adventurer. This uninhabited beach might be called “Little”, but it’s actually twice the size of Tybee!
There are things you should know before visiting the beach. It’s a non-smoking area, and it also isn’t pet friendly.
This policy helps protect the endangered migratory birds and loggerhead turtles that call these beaches home. You’ll also want to remember that parking isn’t free, but it is convenient with the Park TYB app.
2. St. Simons Island
St. Simons Island is easily one of my personal favorite beaches in the state of Georgia. In fact, I recently wrote about the best things to do on the island when you visit. Visiting the beach is certainly one of the most popular activities — and with good reason.
It’s one of the largest Golden Isle barrier islands in Georgia and was immortalized in Georgia Poet Laureate’s The Marshes of Glynn. There are two main beaches on St. Simons Island.
- East Beach
- Gould’s Inlet
East Beach is the most popular — and my personal favorite. You’ll find convenient free parking, and the beach is dog friendly. You’ll even find conveniently placed trash and recycling receptacles so you can keep this white sand beach as pristine as possible.
This beach is great for couples, solo travelers, friend groups, and families. Later, I’ll talk about what you’ll need to bring with you for the ideal beach vacation, but for now, let’s focus on the beaches to choose from.
Up next is Gould’s Inlet, which isn’t your usual beach destination. Instead, it offers bird-watching, fishing, and ocean views. It’s a river inlet with a view of the southernmost end of Sea Island. Gould’s Inlet is considered a Wildlife Beach, and dogs must be kept on leash at all times.
If you want to check out the beaches for yourself, there’s a live webcam that will give you a glimpse of the coastline.
For more ocean views, you can head to the pier and enjoy shopping, dining, and a family-friendly park with a playground and small waterpark. There’s even a local lighthouse that will give you the ultimate view of St. Simons Island.
3. Little St. Simons Island
You don’t want to miss Little St. Simons Island when considering a beach getaway in the state of Georgia. This is the ideal beach for nature-lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.
It’s got 11,000 acres of untamed wilderness and offers naturalist-led adventures. It’s considered a part of the Altamaha River delta and is considered a saltwater estuary habitat.
You’ll want to keep in mind that alligators are just one of the many types of wildlife you’ll find on St. Simons Island and Little St. Simons Island.
While sightings might be rare, you can, at times, find them swimming along the Georgia coastline.
In my experience, you’re more likely to find jellyfish, depending on when you visit, but it’s always best to be cautious and observe your usual safety practices when it comes to natural environments.
4. Jekyll Island
Jekyll Island is another popular beach destination and also a personal favorite. There are seven beaches to choose from spanning 10 miles of shoreline. While there’s plenty to see and do on the island, the beach is easily one of the favorite activities.
- Driftwood Beach
- Oceanview Beach Park
- Glory Beach
- South Dunes Beach Park
- Corsair Beach Park
- St. Andrews Beach Park
- Great Dunes Beach Park
Driftwood Beach might be the most well-known thanks to its many film and television credits, which include The Walking Dead, The Menu, X-Men First Class, Glory, Magic Mike XXL, The Legend of Bagger Vance, and many more.
Driftwood Beach has been voted many times by TripAdvisor as one of the “Best of the Best Beaches”.
You’ll see why it has its name when you visit and note the many natural driftwood formations dotting the landscape. You might find it equally beautiful and haunting, but you’ll certainly want to make time to visit this unusual beach.
You’ll find beautiful white sand beaches at both Great Dunes Beach Park and St. Andrews Beach Park. South Dunes offers 20-foot sand dunes with an elevated boardwalk leading to the beach.
Glory Beach showcases sea oats and sand dunes offsetting the glorious (pun-intended) beach views. Corsair Beach Park is located near the shopping at Beach Village, and Oceanview Beach Park is a popular choice for direct access to sand and sea.
Jekyll’s pristine beach comes with rules for visitors to keep it that way. You can’t use flashlights on the beach unless they are turtle friendly, and the island does not allow motorized vehicles, recreational drones, fires, fireworks, cooking, grilling, or open flames on the beaches.
You can’t bring glass containers, metal or mineral detectors, or camping gear to the beach. Additionally, no pets are allowed between South Dunes Picnic Area and 2,000 feet northeast of St. Andrews Picnic Area or on the sand dunes.
5. Sea Island
You should know that visits to Sea Island are only possible if you’re staying at Sea Island Resort or if you’re a Sea Island Club member.
The resort is a 65-time recipient of the Forbes Five-Star Award.
If you’re lucky enough to visit and stay there, you can expect to enjoy private beaches at a gated club with luxurious accommodations and access to plenty of beach and ocean adventures. It’s considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Georgia.
6. Wassaw Island
Wassaw Island is known for being the only truly unspoiled island on the Georgia coast. It’s had little in the way of human intervention, and the forests have been left undisturbed. You’ll find six miles of beautiful beaches on Wassaw Island.
It’s considered a National Wildlife Refuge, and you’ll find that 200 bird species, alligators, Southern bald eagles, loggerhead turtles, osprey, and bottle-nosed dolphins call this island and its surrounding waters home.
You’re welcome to visit, but you’ll want to leave your dogs at home as this area is a protected sanctuary for wildlife.
7. Sapelo Island
One of the lesser knowns but no less beautiful beaches in Georgia include Sapelo Island’s Nanny Goat Beach and Cabretta Beach.
It’s the fourth-largest barrier island on the Georgia coastline.
It is managed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, which operates the ferry and assists the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve, the University of Georgia Marine Institute, the civilian Hog Hammock community, and the 70 full-time residents who are descendants of the slaves of Sapelo’s plantations.
Both Nanny Goat Beach and Cabretta Beach are considered some of the most isolated and pristine beaches on the East Coast of the United States. These beaches are ideal for nature and wildlife enthusiasts.
8. St. Catherine’s Island
You might not have heard of St. Catherine’s Island, but it is one of the barrier islands along the coast of Georgia.
You’ll find it 42 miles south of Savannah and contains beaches on the northeast and south sides of the island.
These are some of the most beautiful beaches in Georgia — but there’s a catch. It’s owned by Saint Catherines Island Foundation and is not open to the public.
Don’t worry! The state of Georgia requires all beaches to have public access, so you can visit the beach but not the island interior.
It’s considered a National Historic Landmark, and you might just be able to visit if you sign up for an outreach or grant tour of the island. While it’s one of the most beautiful, it’s not meant to be one of the most visited, as the island’s aim is conservation free from human inhabitants.
9. Cumberland Island National Seashore
I have to admit that Cumberland Island National Seashore vies for my favorite beach in the state of Georgia.
You can only get to it by ferry, but it’s an ideal destination for a day trip or for a camping adventure. There is limited public docking for boats, but most access to the island takes place by ferry.
You won’t find restaurants or shops on the island. Rather, you’ll discover extraordinary live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss and beautiful white sand beaches.
You’ll want to carry on the island everything that you’ll need to enjoy a beach day. You can travel the island by foot or by bike, and there are accessible trails available.
To get to the beach, you’ll have a half mile hike through the live oak forest. You won’t find lifeguards here, and visitors should take care to observe the surf currents for potential riptides.
Cumberland Island offers 17 miles of unspoiled, undeveloped beaches. It also has estuaries, sand dunes, oak and pine forests, salt marshes, and freshwater wetlands.
The island is home to 30 animals, 55 reptiles, 300+ bird species, and over 500 plants. You’ll find wild horses, alligators, armadillos, sea turtles, and more. Keep in mind that alligators in the sea might be a rare occurrence, but you’ll want to keep an eye out just in case.
You might be tempted to approach the wild horses on the island, but visitors beware! These are wild animals and, while beautiful, should not be approached or fed.
If you don’t happen to spy them down at the beach, visit the Dungeness Ruins for a possible sighting. At least, that’s been my experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best month to go to the beach in Georgia?
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, visitors flock to the beaches in Georgia. You’re sure to have plenty of hot weather to enjoy water activities. However, in my opinion, that’s not the best time to visit the beach.
April and May offer milder temperatures and less crowds for a visit, but I’d recommend an October or early November getaway to the beaches in Georgia for the absolute best weather.
Often, the temperatures will still be warm enough to enjoy the water while temperate enough to explore the area.
Spring and Fall are my favorites, but that doesn’t mean I’d rule out summer. Sure, the beaches are more crowded, and you might have a longer wait to be seated at a restaurant, but you’re sure to get great weather for swimming and beach time.
As long as you protect your skin and bring some shade in the form of a beach tent or umbrella, you can safely enjoy the beach even when the temperatures rise.
Are there white sand beaches in Georgia?
The state of Georgia only has about 110 miles of shoreline.
You’ll be delighted to know that there are plenty of white sand beaches in Georgia to choose from as the majority of the barrier islands in the state possess beautiful white sand beaches for residents and visitors alike to enjoy.
Some of the most popular destinations include St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island, Tybee Island, and the Cumberland National Seashore.
What beach has the clearest water in Georgia?
You’ll find that the clearest water off the coast of Georgia is on East Beach located on St. Simons Island.
This beautiful stretch of coastline is renowned for white sand beaches and the clearest water in Georgia. It’s one of the most popular beaches to visit.
For the bluest water, you’ll want to visit neighboring Tybee Island’s North Beach.
Does Lake Lanier have a beach?
You’ll find Lake Lanier mentioned as one of the best beaches in Georgia, but it’s noticeably absent on this list. That’s not an accident.
LandShark Beach is open year-round, but this lakeside beach isn’t just known for beauty.
It’s also known for claiming over 200 lives since 1994. Some believe that the area is haunted as the lake was once a thriving Black community known as Oscarville before it was flooded to create Lake Lanier.
This incident of racial cleansing is brought up with each new death at the lake. Recent deaths include boating fatalities, drownings, and even an electrocution.
While not as well-known to some as Lake Lanier, it has a much safer reputation and plenty of shops and restaurants to enjoy. It doesn’t have a beach, but it does have plenty of water activities for a relaxing getaway.
Robin Lake Beach is located at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia. This lakeside beach offers a floating obstacle course called Aqua Island, volleyball, and beach activities for all ages.
You can even rent beach essentials like cabanas, beach chairs, beach umbrellas, and paddleboards. Plus, you can stay at the Callaway Gardens Resort.
Don’t worry. You don’t have to stay at the resort to visit Robin Lake Beach. Garden guests and annual members can also visit. The beach doesn’t allow any pets.
Service animals are allowed. No alcohol is allowed on the beach, and picnic tables at Beach Pavilion and Beach Bar are for dining guests only. You can bring your own towels or buy them on site.
Are Georgia beaches accessible?
Many public beaches in Georgia are accessible to those with disabilities. You’ll find a large mat pathway at the U.S. Coast Guard Station beach on St. Simons Island, at Great Dunes Park (crossover #32), and at Beach Village (crossover #38) on nearby Jekyll Island. With changing tides, the mats may not always extend to the hard-packed sand.
You’ll find ramps on St. Andrews Beach and on Oceanview Beach Park on Jekyll Island. You can rent beach-going wheelchairs on Jekyll Island by calling (912) 635–2368.
Guests of the Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham Jekyll Island hotel can also borrow beach wheelchairs.
Mobi mats are also available on Tybee Island, and beach wheelchairs are available for free on a first-come, first-served basis at the lifeguard station beside the Tybee Island Marine Science Center behind the Pier.
You can check availability by calling (912) 786–4573, ext. 119.
Visiting the Best Beaches in Georgia
These nine beaches are easily the best beaches in Georgia. No matter which one you choose to visit, you’re sure to find something to delight you.
You might think I’m biased since I call Georgia home, but I do recommend these beaches for anyone looking for a beautiful coastal destination that values conservation and protects its beaches.
For an ideal visit to the beach, consider bringing a large-wheel beach wagon, pop-up beach tent, and reef-safe sunscreen.
When traveling with children, be sure to bring toys to build sandcastles. When traveling with a special someone, consider packing a beach picnic. Anyone can enjoy a kite at the beach, and you can also bring your own board if you want to paddle out and enjoy the water.
Just be sure that whatever you bring in, you take back out. It’s important to protect your skin and stay hydrated when visiting the beach.
Check the local weather and surf updates for safe swimming in the ocean, and don’t forget to respect local wildlife habitats while you enjoy these gorgeous coastal beaches.
With a little advanced planning, you can enjoy a perfect beach day.