For this weeks challenge, Ann-Christine has asked us to showcase a special spot. My special spot is a sandy beach.
I tried to pick a specific beach but couldn’t narrow it down to just one. Instead, I chose a few shots from some beaches here in my own home state of Georgia.
There are 15 barrier islands off the Georgia coast. Only four can be reached by road – Tybee Island, St. Simons Island, Sea Island, and Jekyll Island. The rest can only be reached by boat. Some of them are undeveloped, some are managed by the state of Georgia, and one is a National Seashore.
Sapelo Island is one of the barrier islands that is owned and managed by the state of Georgia. The island is accessible by ferry from Darien. You can see more photos from our visit there at Weekend Getaway on the Georgia Coast.
I can’t mention the Georgia barrier islands without including Cumberland Island, the largest and southernmost barrier island in Georgia.We spent a day there about 40 years ago but unfortunately, I don’t have photos from that visit. Cumberland Island is a National Seashore and can be reached by ferry from St. Marys. We’re hoping to make a return trip to the island this spring.
Of the eight large barrier islands off the coast of Georgia, only four can be accessed by a bridge. Sapelo Island is one of the islands that can only be reached by water and visiting it has been on my bucket list for years.
Sapelo is the fourth largest Georgia barrier island. Most of the island is owned by the state of Georgia. The state owned portion of Sapelo is home to the RJ Reynolds Wildlife Management area on the north end of the island, the University of Georgia’s Marine Institute, and the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve.
The remaining 434 acres is the privately owned community of Hog Hammock. Many of the 70 residents there are descendants of former African-American slaves. Today, some property owners live elsewhere and a few of the houses are managed as vacation rentals.
We spent Friday night in Darien so we wouldn’t have far to go for our early Saturday morning ferry. We enjoyed a delicious fried shrimp and crab cake dinner Friday night at Skippers Fish Camp on the Darien waterfront. During our after dinner walk beside the water we spied 3 baby alligators on the banks of the river and a manatee behind a shrimp boat.
On Saturday morning, it didn’t take long to get to Sapelo Visitors Center from Darien. After purchasing our tickets for the Sapelo Ferry we learned a little about the history of the island from the interpretive displays and enjoyed the views from the deck.
The ferry departed at 9:00, right on schedule. Pelicans were busy diving for fish as we made our way to the island.
Our guide Yvonne Grovner took us around the island in a small air conditioned van. Yvonne grew up on Sapelo in the Hog Hammock community and told us many interesting facts about the island. We went from paved roads to narrow dirt trails as we traveled around the island.
We climbed the 77 steps to the top of the Sapelo Lighthouse.
Our last stop before returning to the mainland was Nanny Goat Beach. It was a Saturday and there were a few people enjoying the white sandy beach. Our guide told us sometimes on weekdays there is no one else there.
If you are planning a visit to Sapelo Island, you must make reservations for the ferry in advance. Reservations are also needed to take the tour. If you would rather explore on your own, golf carts and bicycles are available for rent. A few homes are available for rent and group camping is available. Reynolds Mansion can also be rented by groups.
I’ve had many people ask about my favorite place and the answer is always the same.
There is no place else on earth I love more than my little peace of paradise here in coastal Georgia. This is where our children grew up and where Henry and I are growing old together. I have the best friends and neighbors anyone could ask for and there is beauty every where I look.
Want to go to an uninhabited barrier island? A boat or kayak will get you there.
Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins are a common sight in the waters.
Let’s not forget the birds.
Whether you cook it at home or eat out at one of the many great restaurants nearby, there’s nothing better than eating fresh caught seafood.
I love to travel and always enjoy our wanderings. Every trip ends the same way. I know I am almost home when I start smelling the salt marsh and seeing the creeks and marsh as we drive the last few miles.
No matter where you may roam, the best part is coming home – anonymous
One of the greatest joys as a grandparent is seeing our grand children’s excitement as they experience new adventures.
Our daughter is visiting us this week with her two children. At 12 and 10, they are our two oldest grandchildren. They live 400 miles away, surrounded by the Appalachian mountains, so coming to visit Nana and Papa near the beach is always an adventure for them.
On Memorial Day, we beached our boat on a deserted barrier island after a boat ride through rivers and narrow winding creeks surrounded by salt marsh. The adventure brought back fond memories for our daughter and made new memories for the grandkids. It is a ride we took on many weekends when our daughter was growing up and we are so happy we could share the experience with her children.