A Southern Road Trip to Sapelo Island & Darien, Georgia

A Trip off the Coast Sapelo Island Marshland

There is something about a road trip that is both nostalgic and freeing. In a world that moves quickly, there is much to be said about packing up the car and taking in the view. ROSE & IVY’s Monica Picca did just that by taking in the sights of Sapelo Island, a barrier island located off the coast of Georgia and Darien, a charming southern town that is nestled at the mouth of the Altamaha River.

A Trip off the Coast Sapelo Island Tree
A Trip off the Coast Sapelo Island Woods

Sapelo Island

Sapelo is a relatively untouched and untamed barrier 11-mile island that sits off the coast of Georgia to the south of Savannah. The island can only be reached by ferry in either a group or private tour. We recommend JR Grovner’s private tours that can be booked through toursapelo.com. The reserve is situated in an estuary where the Doboy Sound and the clean, clear waters of the Duplin River meet. 

A Trip off the Coast Woods
A Trip off the Coast Sapelo Island Wildlife
A Trip off the Coast Sapelo Island Old Light House

Once you have arrived on the island, there are extensive trails that run through Sapelo’s lush and varied forests, marshes, tidal creeks, expansive dune systems and untouched beaches. One of the most beautiful locations on Sapelo is Nanny Goat Beach that serves as a pristine gateway to the sea with white sand stretching the length of one side of Sapelo. It is a quiet oasis of true tranquility and the perfect place to catch some sun. 

A Trip off the Coast Sapelo Island Nanny Goat Beach
A Trip off the Coast Sapelo Island Nanny Goat Beach Pier
A Trip off the Coast Sapelo Island Nanny Goat Beach Wood

If you wander deep enough through the island, the remains of an old plantation still stand near a field in the forest. If you climb the stairs of the old barn house, the only structure that still remains in tact, you can get a glimpse of the shimmering, blue edge of the the sea peaking out beyond the thicket of the woods.

A Trip off the Coast Sapelo Island Plantation
A Trip off the Coast Sapelo Island Plantation Butterfly
A Trip off the Coast Sapelo Island Plantation Ruine
A Trip off the Coast Sapelo Island Plantation Barn
A Trip off the Coast Sapelo Island Reynolds Mansion
A Trip off the Coast Sapelo Island Botanical Garden House

Sapelo Island is also home to the historic Reynold’s Mansion a beautiful estate that is only accessible for visitors who book a room. You can however, still glimpse a bit of its splendor just outside its doors. The architecture of the structure is elegant but modest with a small garden and fountain grace its front doors. The Reynold’s Botanical Gardens are open to the public and are comprised of swampland, not too far from the mansion, with thick hanging moss, untamed, tropical flowers and water thick with algae.

A Trip off the Coast Sapelo Island Botanical Garden Swamp

Further down the Island is Sapelo Lighthouse, a historic landmark that stands erect amidst wide, open sea marshes. The lighthouse is rarely open to the public, but is worth visiting if you have the time. 

A Trip off the Coast Sapelo Island Red Lighthouse

To plan your visit to Sapelo Island check out the Sapelo Island Research Reserve

To book a private tour with JR Grovner visit toursapelo.com


Darien, Georgia

A Trip off the Coast Darien Georgia House
A Trip off the Coast Darien Georgia Dock
A Trip off the Coast Darien Georgia Water

Where to Stay

Darien Waterfront Inn | 711 Fort King George Dr, Darien, GA 31305

Darien, Georgia is one of the most charming little towns with easy access to Sapelo Island. The Darien Waterfront Inn is a picturesque place to stay. The rooms are decorated in subtle nautical tones of clean coastal blues and whites. Each room has access to a balcony that boasts a panoramic view of the Darien River with miles of salt water and marshlands. At the golden hour, it is absolute splendor, especially with a glass of wine in hand. 

To book your stay visit darienwaterfrontinn.com

A Trip off the Coast Darien Georgia Darien Waterfront Inn
A Trip off the Coast Darien Georgia Darien Waterfront Inn Room

Where to Shop

Turnip Greens | 109 N Walton St, Darien, GA 31305

Turnip Greens is a cozy, little store located in the heart of Darien. The store is filled with local produce, handmade products and artisan goods all made in Georgia. It is the perfect place to pick up a heartfelt gift to bring home. 

A Trip off the Coast Darien Georgia Turnip Greens

Where to Eat

Skipper’s Fish Camp | 85 Screven St, Darien, GA 31305

Skipper’s Fish Camp is a local eatery with the best, fresh caught fish and casual, waterside dining. We recommend the peal and eat shrimp drenched in garlic sauce with a side of sweet tea, its the perfect staple for a warm southern night.  

To check out the full menu online visit skippersfishcamp.com

A Trip off the Coast Darien Georgia Skipper's Fish Camp

Photography & Words by Monica Picca / Edited by Alison Engstrom