Little St. Simons Island is the least developed of Georgia’s barrier islands, located along the Atlantic coast between Savannah and Jacksonville. Flanked by the Hampton River to the west and the Altamaha River to the north—with a golden stretch of beach embracing the Atlantic Ocean eastwards—this secluded slice of subtropical wilderness has remained virtually untouched over the centuries. Today, Little St. Simons Island is in permanent conservation easement with The Nature Conservancy, keeping a check on future development and preserving critical habitats and endangered wildlife for generations to come.
Little St. Simons lies at the delta of the Altamaha River, the longest free-flowing river on the eastern coast of the United States. A significant portion of the island’s 11,000 acres is made up of glistening salt marshes, while swathes of maritime forest occupy the center. Recognized as an Important Birding Area (IBA) by the American Bird Conservancy, the island is located on the Atlantic Migratory Flyway and is home to more than 330 avian species. Freshwater ponds shelter a healthy population of alligators, and the island’s tidal creeks abound with fish; dolphins and river otters are also frequent visitors. Loggerhead sea turtles nest on the beach every year, and rare North Atlantic right whales come to these coastal waters to calve.
Georgia’s Golden Isles were settled by the Guale and Mocama Indians around 2,500 B.C.—shell middens found on St. Simons and Little St. Simons Islands attest to ancient fishing activity. Many different peoples have passed through the region since, weaving their stories into the Golden Isles’ rich cultural tapestry—from British colonists who took the area from the Spanish to West African slaves brought to work on rice and cotton plantations. Little St. Simons itself has been privately owned since 1760, and remains largely uninhabited.
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