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The islands in Georgia- 12 things to know before you go

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The islands in Georgia are definitely worth visiting. But why are these islands so impressive and what do you need to know before you go? Find out in this article…

Things To Know About The Islands In Georgia

A trip to the islands in Georgia can provide you much-needed peaceful escape with its warm sunshine, fresh cuisine, and tranquil beaches. But before you pack your bags, there are a few things to know to make the most of your trip.

From selecting the island that suits your interests to trying out the delectable cuisine and ensuring you have enough cash, you must consider a few key details. So let’s dig deeper into 12 things you need to know to prepare for a perfect escape to the islands in Georgia.

12 things to know before visiting the islands in Georgia

1. Choose the Right Island for Your Interests

Georgia is home to 15 epitome of natural beauties, and choosing one from them to visit for your next trip can be challenging. However, with some research and planning, you can find the ideal destination that suits your interests. You can compare different factors of all the major islands, including the activities offered, accommodation and transportation facilities, and weather, to come to a decision.

Also, it is essential to determine which type of experience you are looking for. Are you seeking adventure and outdoor activities like jet skiing and snorkeling, or do you want a more relaxed vacation on beautiful beaches? Once your priorities are sorted, narrowing down the options can get simpler.

2. Research About the Transportation Mode

When exploring the stunning islands in Georgia, it is crucial to understand the available transportation options. Only four islands, including Jekyll, St. Simons, Sea, and Tybee, are accessible by car. However, renting a vehicle from a branded company to reach the island can be costly. Hence, searching for local agents who provide affordable services for longer trips, including insurance, is recommended.

If you are planning to visit the unspoiled islands in the city, keep in mind that they can only be reached via boat. So, to avoid last-minute issues, you must book your ride in advance.

3. Know the Best Time to Visit and Pack Smart

12 things to know before visiting the islands in Georgia

The weather on the islands in Georgia is mostly mild, with gentle ocean breezes that lead to warmer winters and cooler summers. However, you should avoid visiting in the summer months, like July, as it is a peak season when a large number of visitors come.

With so many tourists in the region, chances are you will face accommodation and transportation issues. Moreover, the prices of hotels also reach high during this season. Hence, you should consider visiting in either late spring or fall. During mild temperatures, you can also witness blooming flowers, and there would be a minimum crowd on the island.

Regardless of the time you decide to visit, your packaging strategy must be smart. Always double-check your electronics, toiletries, first aid kit, and personal comfort items. Here are some tips that can help:

  • Research the weather before packing. If it is hot, go for lightweight and breathable clothing. If there are chances for rain, then keep a rain jacket and some layers.
  • Don’t forget to keep comfortable shoes as you will be doing a lot of walking on the island.
  • Keep essentials like sunscreen, insect repellents, sunglasses, hats, etc.
  • Have a small backpack for carrying water, snacks, and a camera while exploring the island.
  • Do not overpack and leave some room for souvenirs.

4. Book Accommodation in Advance

Booking advance accommodations before visiting islands in Georgia must be one of your top priorities, especially for those on the Golden Isles. These islands are popular tourist destinations and might have limited accommodations, typically in the peak season. If you wait till the last minute to book your stay, it may result in finding options with limited facilities, or you may have to pay extra.

Moreover, if you are considering booking a lodge after landing, it might give you a tough time. And spending hours looking for a hotel instead of enjoying your trip can be quite frustrating. You can find many options from beach hotels to riverside accommodations and luxurious resorts. Just be mindful of booking beforehand to get a stay in one that matches your preferences and budget.

5. Discover the Diversity & Resilience of Georgia’s Culture

12 things to know before visiting the islands in Georgia

Georgia’s culture is one of the most diverse in the world, having elements of multiple ethnicities. You can find traces of Persian, Arabian, Ottoman, Anatolian, and European cultures in it. To explore the resilience of their culture, you must get involved in local celebrations on your trip.

For instance, you can become a part of Supra, a ceremonial feast organised in Georgia on occasions like birthdays, death days, and religious holidays. Starting in the early afternoon, this gathering lasts almost till morning, and there are a lot of light conversations, political discussions, and singing. Moreover, different types of local cuisine and wines are served.

Also, exploring their music with advanced choral rhythm, religious writings, paintings and sculptors, and theater on your trip to the islands in Georgia will be worth it. With these activities, you will not only have an interesting time but will also get a chance to cherish ever-green Georgian customs.

6. Explore the Natural Wonders

Each island in Georgia hosts a plethora of wonders that will leave you in awe of the natural beauty. For example, Tybee Island, spread across a smaller region, is renowned for its extensive sandy beaches. And it is located just 20 miles from Savannah, so you can also trail in the calm and beautiful wilderness.

Similarly, Cumberland Island features plenty of protected beaches. Moreover, the Maritime Forest is a dominant woodland where you can find various fascinating hardwood types. You may also come across wildlife while exploring this natural wonder. Foxes, deers, tree frogs, and raccoons are to name a few.

If you are an animal lover, visiting the Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island must be on your list. Here you can witness the world’s many endangered animals closely. Moreover, tourists also love visiting Little Saint Simons Island to see 250 species of birds.

Irrespective of the island you are visiting, spending a day on sandy shores, exploring wildlife, and trailing through the wilderness are a few things you must do.

7. Be Sure to Try Georgia’s Coastal Cuisine

Visiting the Islands in Georgia and not trying out the coastal cuisine? You will surely miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime experience. From hearty stews to classic shrimps, there are various delicious seafood to relish. One of the tourists’ favorites in the region is the snapper and grouper fishes that are caught daily and cooked fresh.

You can also indulge in the heavenly experience of tasting fresh oysters in a local eatery. The delicious steamed oysters in home-cooked sauces are something your taste buds will never get enough of.

Even among local drinks, there are a lot of interesting options to explore. If you want to opt for something healthy, then Lagidze Water, a natural soda, will be a good option. And then there is the Compot, Georgia’s popular fruit-based drink with a thick texture and rich and sweet taste. You can also try iconic wines and beers, including Amber, Qvevri, Natakhtari, Argo, Kayak, etc.

8. Connect with The Locals

When exploring the beautiful islands in Georgia, be sure to take the opportunity to connect with the locals. It will be a delightful experience, and you will gain a deeper insight into the island’s culture, history, and the locals’ way of life.

The natives of Georgia are extremely friendly and known for their hospitality. Also, there are chances that they will even invite you to their home for lunch or dinner.

In fact, you can also learn how to cook the local cuisines from them, and they might share their favorite recipes with you too. Other than that, visiting the local markets on the island can also give you opportunities to look at their way of living closely.

9. Respect The Environment

12 things to know before visiting the islands in Georgia
A group of king penguins, Aptenodytes patagonicus on South Georgia Island.

Islands in Georgia are not only tourists’ heaven but also play a vital role in protecting the mainland from harsh weather conditions. Therefore, visitors need to respect and preserve the integrity of these lands. Here are some things that you can do on your trip to fulfill this responsibility:

  • Do not litter around the region and dispose of all the waste properly.
  • You must avoid using disposable items like plastic straws or thermocol utensils. Also, it is better to carry a reusable water bottle.
  • Conserving the water should also be your primary responsibility, as its supply in such remote areas is already minimal.
  • On your journey to islands in Georgia, you will spot a wide range of wildlife, flora, and fauna. It is your utmost responsibility not to disturb or harm them.
  • Instead of renting a car, use more eco-friendly modes like bicycles.

Besides these basic rules, you must also be mindful of the regulations of the island you visit. For example, do not fish or surf in restricted areas, and you should also avoid smoking, as most islands in Georgia are now smoke-free. So using cigarettes or vapes can put you in great trouble, and you may be fined.

10. Stay Safe While on The Islands

12 things to know before visiting the islands in Georgia

Almost all the popular islands in Georgia are safe for tourists, with low crime rates. However, it is always recommended to take some necessary precautions while traveling.

For example, you must stay vigilant of your surroundings, avoid visiting isolated areas in the dark, and take care of your belongings. Also, some regions in Georgia may have higher crime rates than others, so remember to investigate it from local authorities or a tourism office before visiting.

Moreover, if you decide to swim in the island’s surrounding waters, remember to check the area’s coastal advisory first. The Georgia Health Department has issued almost 200 advisories since 2007 that restrict tourists from swimming. It is because the waters are contaminated with fecal bacteria, which might lead to multiple diseases, including sore throat, ear infections, etc.

Additionally, staying aware of your surroundings is crucial to avoid potential animal encounters. Since islands in Georgia are home to a diverse range of wildlife, you can find different reptile species here. Other than that, there may be disease-carrying mosquitoes and ticks, so you must use insect repellent and wear full sleeves clothing.

11. Take Advantage of Outdoor Activities

The islands in Georgia not only represent the natural beauty at their best, but they also offer a range of outdoor activities that can make your trip unforgettable. Tybee Island, for instance, is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts.

You can kayak or paddleboard in the crystal clear waters or interact with the adorable creatures on a dolphin tour. Biking around the sandy beaches is also a popular activity here, allowing you to experience the breathtaking views in the fresh air.

If you are seeking an adrenaline rush, Cumberland Island is the place to be. Here you can rent a jet ski and explore the views of intercoastal waterways, low country, and rivers. Similarly, Jekyll Island is also a treasure trove of outdoor activities. You can travel around the island by renting a bike at Jekyll Wheels. Or exploring the Indian Mound Cottage is also an excellent idea, as this museum homes an impressive collection of historical artifacts. 

Every island in Georgia has several thrilling outdoor activities to explore. So while you enjoy the natural beauty, do not forget to get some adrenaline rushes to make the most of your trip.

12. Always Keep Some Cash

12 things to know before visiting the islands in Georgia

Georgia is a modern city that offers the convenience of accepting credit card payments almost anywhere. The availability of ATMs also ensures that cash is never too far in case of urgent needs. However, if you plan to explore more remote areas like islands in Georgia, it is wise to carry some cash.

While four islands on the Golden Isles are well-established and cater to tourists, ten of them remain undeveloped yet. If visiting any of them, chances are you will come across small local businesses that only accept Lari, the official Georgian currency. It may include restaurants, shops, bars, and other establishments that are not a part of the mainstream tourism industry.

Summing Up

Islands in Georgia have become popular tourist destinations for many reasons. With their pristine beaches, thrilling outdoor activities, and rich local culture, visitors can have the time of their lives.

However, there are a few important things to keep in mind before embarking on your island adventure. By knowing the key details outlined in this article, you will definitely have one of the most enjoyable and memorable trips.

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