By Linda Holloway, photography by www.larryhollowayphotography.com
Begin your summer family vacation by traveling to Georgia’s pristine St. Simons Island. The F.J. Torras Causeway is your path from the mainland where the kids will want to roll down the windows and enjoy the “dive show” along the salt marshes. Here, osprey, talons extended, dip into the bountiful grasslands for their fresh catch of the day. Dozens of marsh rabbits line the causeway to welcome guests, and be sure to slow down for the meandering diamondback turtles. The causeway provides stunning views of the Marshes of Glynn, immortalized by poet, Sidney Lanier. St Simons Island is also home to the legendary King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort, a family-friendly lodging paradise.
King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort
You will notice immediately King and Prince Resort has a sense of place—rightfully earned since the hotel opened in 1935 as a seaside dance club and became a hotel in 1941. During World War II, the hotel served as a naval coast-watching and training facility. A member of Historic Hotels of America, the resort has gathered an impressive list of celebrities and dignitaries. There is something grand about lodging at a restored historic hotel that can also boast modern upscale amenities. The resort’s accolades include being voted “Georgia’s Favorite Beach Resort” by the readers of Southern Living magazine, and winner of TripAdvisor “Certificate of Excellence, 2011 and 2012.”
Steps from the beach, the resort offers 14 different types of accommodations including the historic main building. The two and three bedroom Oceanfront Villas are popular with families—complete with all the conveniences of home. King and Prince Resort is the perfect place to recharge and reconnect as a family, but there is time for “me” time as well. Resort activities include pool and beach games for children with the Activities Coordinator. Be sure to check the lobby’s daily displays for times and locations of events. Coastal Outdoor Adventure Camps, for ages 6-14, is a fee based camp that is sure to keep the kids in tune with the rhythm of the island.
Enjoy The King’s Tavern Restaurant at the resort for sensational seaside dining with delectable low-country cuisine. In fact, the restaurant, with its breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, offers “The Best View from a Restaurant” by the readers of Elegant Island Living and boasts the only ocean view front dining on St. Simons Island. The Historic Delegal Dining Room, famed for its stunning stained glass window murals and ocean vistas, hosts the award-winning Southern Charm Sunday Brunch as well as a daily breakfast buffet. The Ocean Terrace Grille offers guests casual dining while enjoying the beach and pool.
Enjoy golfing at the award-winning King and Prince Gold Golf Course—known as one of coastal Georgia’s great courses. Located at the northern end of the island, the quiet location is surrounded by extraordinary beauty. The course has a Virtual Flyover Tour depicting hole-by-hole to the website visitor. Tennis anyone? If you are not a pro, Pride Evans offers private and group lessons on the resort’s har-tru courts. Pampering at The Spa, located in The Royal Treatment Cottage, will transfer you instantly to island time. Be sure and ask the concierge about kayak tours, fishing charters, and horseback riding. When it is time to relax along the beach, Barry’s Beach Service provides rental chairs, umbrellas, sailboats, banana bikes and kayaks.
The resort’s new contemporary state-of-the-art pool complex is a big hit with kids and adults. The complex includes three unique pools surrounded by various seating options for all generations. Toddlers will run for the wading pool that offers a water feature, shaded areas and castle-building space. The Lagoon-style pool features underwater benches for children to interact, and the spewing deck-jets add a competitive action element.
Adults linger at the formal relaxation pool with chaises and attentive food and beverage service. Eventually, the entire family will crash on the expansive Oceanfront
Deck—relaxing to the soothing sounds of cawing seagulls and crashing waves. If you never left the resort, you could boast you had a great vacation, but there is more… the exploration of St. Simons Island awaits!
St. Simons Adventures with “Cap” Fendig
To fully grasp the historic and Eco heartbeat of St. Simons Island, go to the expert, “Cap” Fendig, owner and operator of Lighthouse Trolleys. A lifelong resident of the island with family roots back to the mid-1800’s, “Cap” offers both land and sea tours. He also has the “scoop” on where to eat, shop, and have fun on this 18 mile island. The kids won’t even realize they are getting a great history lesson as trolley stops include Christ Church, which can trace its origins to 1776, and Fort Frederica, established by James Oglethorpe, in 1776. The site of The Battle of Bloody Marsh where Oglethorpe and his men defeated invading Spanish forces in the coastal woods in 1742 and shaped the course of colonial American history, is also on the tour.
“Cap” encourages families to enjoy an adventure on the St. Simons Dolphin Tours. Not only does the tour include numerous dolphin sightings, you are carried to view bird habitats, alligator haunts, shark watches and viewings of several Georgia islands. For information on all of “Cap’s” tours, visit “http://www.capfendig.com”
Around the Island
Rent a bike or surrey from the local bike shop, Ocean Motion, and travel the scenic St. Simons Island Trail System. Here, shaded by 200 year old live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, catch a glimpse of coastal wildlife and nature. A surrey, which holds up to 9 people, is great for a family excursion, and hiking becomes a family adventure while wandering among maritime forest and marshlands.
The Pier Village, located on the south end of the island, is the social hub for all ages. Neptune Park, with its Oceanside pool and facilities, miniature golf course, and playground, is popular with the younger set. There is also a playground, shaded picnic area, fishing pier and theatre. Shopping at the unique specialty Village shops is always on mom’s “to do” list.
The nearby St. Simons Lighthouse and Museum is a working lighthouse serving as a navigational aid to ships since 1872. Children are especially eager to climb the 129 circular steps to the top of the lighthouse where sweeping vistas of the coast are worth the effort. Make sure you pack the skateboards and head for Demere Park where kids and teens will enjoy challenging plaza elements such as stairs, ramps, rails, and ledges in addition to half pipes and bowl sections.
The Georgia Turtle Center
Travel to nearby Jekyll Island and visit Georgia’s first center for the care of sick and injured sea turtles. The educational stations in the Exhibit Gallery introduce visitors to the world of sea turtles, and the staff teaches visitors how to protect the turtles and their hatchlings. The hospital is in the rear of the facility where you take a close look at the current patients and learn how they are being nursed back to health. Once the turtles are rehabilitated and released back into the Atlantic Ocean, they are outfitted with a satellite transmitter.
Leaving is Never Easy
Best selling author, Eugenia Price, visited St. Simons Island in 1961 and lodged at King and Prince. Price was so captivated by the beauty and history of this ideal island that she moved here and was inspired to write numerous books including Beloved Invader. The novelist remained here until her death. Leaving the King and Prince Resort and St. Simons Island is never easy for anyone. There should be a warning sign as visitors enter the island: “One visit is never enough.”
For King and Prince Reservations, call 800-342-0212 and mention Kids Life for a complimentary “kid-approved” amenity (limit one amenity per night of stay-not per child.) Visit http:// www.KingandPrince.com. For local tourist information call 800-933-2627, or visit http://www.goldenisles.com.