Hidden Gems

 By Brenda Shafer

 


White foam bubbles up as clear, sparkling water meets the hot glistening sand. A cool breeze tickles your skin as you sink your toes into perfection. This must be paradise.

Dream of blue skies and carefree afternoons as you peruse our exclusive selection of Southern beaches. We’ve chosen the most authentic beaches – those undisturbed by mass tourism, unspoiled by overdevelopment, and untouched by time.

                               

Rosemary Beach

Florida

Photos Courtesy of Visit South Walton


A romantic small town in South Walton, Florida, Rosemary Beach is the ideal destination for a getaway. Once you arrive, you’ll park your car and won’t use it again until you leave – if you ever do. Rosemary is a bike town with narrow lanes and beautiful, native vegetation lining the streets. Stunning, historic homes in old-fashioned neighborhoods transport you to another time, while neighbors relax on their wide porches and open patios, sipping sweet treats from a local shop. With everything in a 10-minute walking radius, you can easily explore the town’s luxurious boutiques and award-winning restaurants after a relaxing day at the beach.

St. Simons Island

Georgia

Photos Courtesy of goldenisles.com


Full of charm, this picturesque community boasts an unhurried lifestyle. The northern part of the island features a nature preserve containing trails, historical ruins, and an undisturbed maritime forest. The southern end of the island is dotted with quaint bookstores, boutique clothiers, and fine dining. Rich in natural beauty and history, St. Simons contains the historic sites of the Bloody Marsh Battle, Christ Church, First African Baptist Church, Fort Frederica National Monument, and Gascoigne Bluff, all set amidst a stunning landscape untouched by time.

Jekyll Island

Georgia

Photos courtesy of Jekyll Island Authority


Cleanse your soul from the rush of city life, as you sink your toes into the pearl-white sands of Jekyll Island. A barrier island off the coast of Georgia, Jekyll features ten miles of wide-open beaches, marshes teeming with life, and live oaks draped in Spanish moss. You can take a tour of the maritime forest, visit the endangered sea turtles rehabilitation center, or explore the historic district. Need more to do? Horseback riding, kayak rentals, and dolphin cruises will keep the whole family engaged.

Seabrook Island

South Carolina

Photos Courtesy of Seabrook Island Club


A barrier island near Charleston, Seabrook features three miles of unspoiled beaches. Every year, the island hosts hundreds of avid bird watchers during the North American Bird Watching Open. More than 80 species of birds are routinely sighted on the island. Seabrook is also one of the few beaches where horseback riding is allowed. There is an equestrian center that offers guided beach rides, horseback riding trails, and lessons. Other amenities include pristine golf courses, tennis courts, and bike rentals.

St. George Island

Florida

Photos Courtesy of Franklin County TDC and Lane Autrey


Beautiful and serene, the white sand beaches of St. George provide escape from daily life. Along with numerous restaurants and shops, untouched nature abounds on the island – from nesting sea turtles to blue herons to the shells and sponges that dot the shoreline. More than 300 species of native and migratory birds can be sighted throughout the year. On the eastern end of the 28-mile-long island is the St. George Island State Park, with nine miles of undeveloped beaches, dunes, and forests of slash pines and live oak hammocks.

Amelia Island

Florida

Photos Courtesy of Amelia Island Tourist Development Council


Off the northeast coast of Florida, Amelia Island features 13 miles of beautiful beaches and abundant native wildlife. If you visit during the months of December and January, you might see the rare North Atlantic right whales, who migrate over 1,000 miles to the waters off Amelia Island to give birth to and nurse their young calves. Annual festivals also bring in visitors, including the Concours d’Elegance, an exclusive classic and rare car collectors’ festival. For the active tourist, there are seven golf courses
to enjoy.

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