20-min. boat ride from St. Simons Island

The ideal place to savor the wild beauty of Georgia’s coast is still untouched by commercial development. Reached only by boat, Little St. Simons Island—6 miles long and 2- to 3-miles wide—remains one of the last privately owned islands off the Georgia coast. The Berolzheimer family used the island as a private retreat from 1908 to 1978, when they opened it to the general public, with only a few accommodations and a maximum of 32 people per night. To visit you’ll have to be one of them and stay the night at the pricey Lodge, or opt for a much cheaper, if not quite as romantic, day-trip. These include a guided island tour and interpretive program led by an experienced naturalist, and a lunch of Lowcountry specialties. The cost is $95 per person, and includes the ferry.

The island is a haven for naturalists and for those seeking a secluded getaway. (But be warned that mosquitoes are a serious problem in summer.) Activities on Little St. Simons include shelling, swimming, and sunbathing along 7 miles of secluded beaches; hiking (watch out for snakes); and horseback riding through acres of ancient forest. There are also canoeing and fishing in the island’s many rivers and creeks, plus bird-watching of at least 200 species. Guests can learn about the local ecosystems by joining naturalists on explorations.