As you drive the four mile causeway into St. Simons, you will see why the marshes of the Golden Isles around St. Simons Island are our most distinctive feature. One third of the East Coast marshes, covering almost a half-million acres, are located in coastal Georgia. Four to eight miles of marshland estuary separate Georgia's barrier islands from the mainland. Located on the westernmost point of the South Atlantic Bright, the large inward curve that characterizes the coastline form North Carolina's outer banks to south Florida, this is the Atlantic coast's largest marshland expanse.
Poet Sidney Lanier was capivated by the beauty of the marsh. Read his poem, The Marshes of Glynn.
In late fall, the marshlands begin to lose their deep summer green color. By mid-winter, the grasses turn dormant and nearly completely brown. Nourished by springtime rains and warming temperatures, the marsh grasses quickly begin a rapid return to a nearly lime-green shade that turns to the beautiful green expanses that mark the summer months.
Beyond their magnificent beauty, the salt marshes of the Golden Isles play a critical role in the ecosystem that supports the area's multi-million dollar seafood industry. The sun's energy and the nutrients from the rivers are captured by the marsh grass, providing a major link in the food chains of shrimp, fish, oysters and crabs. In addition, raccoon, otter, marsh wren and rabbit call the marshes home. And, as a natural buffer, the marshes protect the coast from storms.
St. Simons Island's marsh habitat is great for birding in any season. There is a small park worth checking before you enter the causeway for Reddish Egret, Marbled Godwit, Red Knot, Gray Kingbird, Eurasian Collared-Dove, other shorebirds, gulls, terns.
As the official tree of the state of Georgia, the mighty Live Oak provides the backdrop for the natural beauty that makes St. Simons Island. Thousands of these giants are visible throughout the 12-mile stretch of land that makes up St. Simons Island. From the scenic oak groves that shade Gascoigne Bluff to the canopied drive down Demere Road, these beautiful trees - many as old as 150 years. Known locally as "Live Oaks," these gentle giants go beyond their innate ability to inspire awe.