Nestled along the southeast coast of the Atlantic Ocean is a charming and luxurious Georgia beach resort called Sea Island. With world-renowned accommodations and chefs, not to mention the Beach Club, spa, and 3 golf courses, a trip to Sea Island is guaranteed to be lavish and relaxing. But with its multitude of activities just for kids, it’s also an ideal year-round family destination. The only resort in the world to receive four Forbes Five-Star awards for ten consecutive years begs the question…What are you waiting for?
I spend a lot of my vacation time at beach resorts, so I was excited to visit Sea Island. And for this Luxe TravelingMom, it didn’t disappoint. The rooms, food, and amenities were all top notch and the list of amazing things to do at Sea Island never ends. Not to mention everyone is incredibly polite and friendly! And we all know that over half of the experience of a vacation is the people. Sea Island exudes an honest southern charm that makes you feel both at home and taken care of. It gives you no reason to leave the property.
Sea Island: Georgia Beach Resorts at Their Finest
Located in the Golden Isles on the Georgia coast, Sea Island is roughly an hour and a half drive from both Savannah, GA and Jacksonville, FL international airports. It’s even closer to Brunswick Airport, making it a convenient seaside destination for those in search of southern hospitality. If you are driving from Atlanta you can get to Sea Island in less than 5 hours. For those flying private, St. Simons, Malcolm McKinnon Airport is literally minutes away.
My fear about Sea Island was the size, because I prefer smaller resorts. But with the layout, I felt alone in paradise. I should have known all would be well, because one of my favorite vacation spots is Sea Island’s sister property, The Broadmoor, in Colorado Springs.
With one step into the historic Mediterranean style property, I could feel the grandeur in the air. The décor of the main building and its accompanying wings is elegant, detailed, and heightens your overall experience within the epic resort. Think high vaulted ceilings, chandeliers, archways, oriental rugs, huge vases of blossoming flowers, cozy, plush love seats and chairs, and fireplaces.
Wandering the property, you come across room after room and space after space where you just want to hang out in. But my favorite room was the gorgeous sunlit solarium. The bright room filled with palms and colorful throw pillows is home to cheerful black-masked love birds. It’s the perfect room to get some peace and quiet and take a nap or read.
Another lovely area is the courtyard. It’s filled with 100-year-old oak trees covered in ivy and resurrection fern. This type of fern appears dead until it’s watered, at which point it quite literally comes back to life. I sat in both areas with a book and enjoyed. Then there’s the tranquil Sea Island Beach Club which is like a paradise of its own.
There are multiple types of accommodations at Sea Island. The Cloister, the main hotel, is lively and inviting. The Lodge, reminiscent of an English manor, is warm and distinctive and the place to be if you prefer being on the golf course. If a more casual and less expensive option is for you, enjoy the setting of The Inn. Choose the Cottages and you can have a place to call your own, which might be a good option for families. Or escape to the refined wilderness of Broadfield. Whatever brings you to Sea Island, they have the right space for you.
For me there really is only one choice and that’s The Cloister. You have romance and classics at The Cloister with well-appointed and super comfortable suites with plenty of space. There are 265 ornate guest rooms and suites. Most have idyllic views of the gardens or river and ocean. What makes it most appealing is that besides it’s 3 pools, situated within The Cloister is the Sea Island Yacht Club, the Spa at Sea Island, and the Sea Island Beach Club. Everything is right at your disposal for total enjoyment.
There is no need to leave Sea Island to eat. With twelve dining options and Chefs that are some of the best in the world, you will want to enjoy every bite. From Forbes Five-Star elegance at The Georgian to breezy beachfront charm at Southern Tide to an intimate steakhouse to a French Brasserie, you’ll always find a delicious dish.
Without a doubt, the best dining experience I had was at Black Banks River Bar and River Bar Lounge with the Executive Chef of The Cloister, Beach Club, and Sea Island Events, Bill Welch. I not only had the pleasure of eating at this elegant, yet laidback, eatery, but got to chat with Chef Welch. The restaurant features wood-topped outdoor seating, along with a view of the river banks. The food is ideal for sharing. I highly recommend the hearty 12-oz strip loin of beef paired with crispy hand-cut fries and the refreshing melon and crab salad with cantaloupe, honeydew, and marinated lump crab salad. Heaven!
But what I will remember the most is chatting with Chef Welch. He is a huge fan of the Georgia white shrimp and finds them “off the charts and the best shrimp you’ll ever have”. They get the shrimp fresh every other day, right of the boats. They even have their own fishing boats which is really awesome. Being into fly fishing these days, I love that anyone who goes out can bring their fish in to eat. The captains will clean it and then the Chefs will cook it and plate it with two sides. I mean does it get much better than that?
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But I’d be remiss for not mentioning the great options for dining during the day. If you’re hungry at the Beach Club, stop by Southern Tide, an ocean-side restaurant that overlooks the beach. You’ll get to feat on coastal Georgia cuisine like seafood towers, chilled mussels, fresh oysters, and hand shucked scallops.
If you are looking for fun foods for yourself or the family pool-side, check out Snack Shack. It features a nice variety of bites including salads, fish tacos, burgers, chicken tenders, and sushi. When it comes time for dessert, Wonderland is where you want to go. This sweet shop has over 65 types of candy and of course, has a tasty selection of ice creams, malts, and milk shakes.
Best Things To Do at Sea Island
I’m not sure where to even start here because there are so many best things to do at Sea Island. But, the Sea Island Beach Club is where I spent most of my time. With five miles of pristine private beach, 3 swimming pools, a waterslide, a splash pad, and everything you need to spend the afternoon kayaking, sailing, or paddle boarding, what else could you want? Oh, how about a private cabana, a yacht club, and a 65,000 square foot spa.
Above all at Sea Island is the Spa! From the minute you walk in you feel relaxed. The space is designed for pure relaxation and luxury. You are taken in not just by your eyes, but the smells and the calm. Your body just starts to melt away. I suggest a day at the spa with treatments between relaxing on the property. If you’re lucky to be staying a few nights, book an extra treatment like a massage before you leave. This will help to ensure a relaxing trip home.
I am all about taking in the full surroundings on my vacation and Sea Island was no different. The walk down the palm tree-lined entrance to the beach is unreal. Once you’re on the beach, there’s the powder white sand, the lounge chairs that line the shore, and water the perfect temperature to take a dip. And there’s no better way to take in your surroundings then on a bike and Sea Island even has its own full-service bike shop, PEDAL.
And Even More Best Things To Do
We certainly cannot talk Sea Island without talking golf. With three championship courses and a full golf performance center, it is perfect for the beginner to the pro. Generations have grown up on these courses.
While a trip to Sea Island Resort is guaranteed to be relaxing and posh, it’s also ideal for families traveling with curious kids. Sea Island has an attentive staff dedicated to crafting engaging activities for kids. Choose from “Under-the-Sea Workshops” and archery to junior naturalist programs and sea turtle expeditions. Not to mention kids of all ages can partake in athletic competitions, golf and tennis lessons, archery, and more. There is a playground, a basketball and volleyball court, and a special area just for teens called the Waterfront Lounge.
But perhaps my favorite activity for kids 3-12 is Kids’ Night Out. The staff of Sea Island entertains them for a whole night while you can go off on your own for a little dinner and alone time!
Rates vary by accommodation type and there are multiple packages available like golf and romance. The Cloister runs $400 – $900 a night. But then look at all the barefoot luxury you get!
If you’d like to see more southeast seashore vacations, check out Cumberland Island.