Doggin' The Golden Isles
The Georgia mainland is completely protected by a chain of barrier islands that march down the coastline. So the mainland is comprised of salt marshes and the beaches are on the barrier islands. Several of the islands are wildlife refuges. The northernmost, Tybee Island, is the playground for Savannah and dogs aren't allowed there. The southernmost, Cumberland Island, is a national seashore reached only by passenger ferry. No dogs allowed there either.
For dog owners that leaves only one target - the Golden Isles.
The Golden Isles are four barrier islands centered around the historic port town of Brunswick. They are easily differentiated for the visiting dog owner. There is no land access to Little St. Simons Island. Sea Island is private and also has no access. St. Simon Island is heavily residential with a sandy beach that swings around its southern tip. The beach is backed by small dunes, beach houses and high rises. Dogs are allowed to trot the beach anytime except during the high season from Memorial Day to Labor Day. In the summer you can hike the beach before 9 am and after 6 pm.
Most dog lovers visiting the Golden Isles will want to head straight for the fourth barrier isle, Jekyll Island, billed as Georgia's jewel. First developed in the late 1800s as a playground for America's riches families, today the entire island, including 11 miles of Atlantic Ocean beach, is a state park. Dogs are allowed on all the beaches anytime.
The beaches around Jekyll Point at the south end are undeveloped and you can hike with your dog for hours beside natural wind-sculpted dunes. At the north end is Driftwood Beach where the forests come right down to the beach. Here the sands are harder and the surf gentler. A great beach for strolling with your dog.
Away from the beaches there is no trail hiking for your dog in the Golden Isles, unless you like yo travel on paved bike paths. On Jekyll Island you can walk your dog through the 240-acre historic district anchored by the opulent Jeykll Island Club. You will wander on carriage roads around fantastic cottages built by the Vanderbilts, Morgans, Rockefellers, Goodyears, Pulitzers and so on.