Go birdwatching by kayak. As you paddle through the island’s saltwater marshlands, making your way up small rivers and tidal creeks, keep your binoculars ready for ospreys, snowy egrets, great blue herons, terns, and rails. Oh, yes, bring your bird guide: more than 70 percent of Georgia’s bird species can be seen in the sea islands.
Cumberland Island is only about an hour’s drive and a short ferry ride south of St. Simons, and this national seashore (established by Congress three decades ago) is a monument to natural preservation. You can bask on the beach (wild ponies seem to enjoy their time on the beach as much as visitors do), add to your bird count (wood storks, herons, and ibis), or explore the inland forests and marshes where the deer and the … alligators play.
Rent a beach cruiser. Not only are the low-tide strands perfect for cruising, but you can follow bike paths to most of St. Simon’s landmarks. At the southern end of the island, ride beneath a double row of live oaks that date to the mid-1800s, the Avenue of the Oaks, then head back and stop for an ice cream at the pier in St. Simons Village before visiting the St. Simons Lighthouse (1872) museum. Make your way up island to Bloody Marsh, where Spain lost interest in Georgia after a 1742 defeat at the hands of British troops, then take a leisurely, 8-mile tour of exclusive Sea Island, where southern life-style reaches full flower.