GETTING THERE: St. Simons Island, Ga., is roughly equidistant from the airports of Savannah, Ga., (to the north) and Jacksonville, Fla., to the south -- about an hour's drive from either. That gives you two destinations for your airfare search. US Airways currently has a round-trip fare of $223 from BWI to Savannah (via Charlotte) and Delta has BWI to Jacksonville for $135 round trip (through Cincinnati). Delta also flies nonstop from National to JAX for $184.
GOLFING THERE: The 6,000-yard Hampton Club course wraps appealingly around the live oaks and salt marshes at the northern end of St. Simons. The signature feature is a set of four holes on a marsh island, connected by an 800-foot elevated wooden cart causeway. A round during the summer costs $79, including cart. Greens fees drop after Sept. 1, but the fall rates haven't been set yet Info: 912-634-0255, www.hamptonclub.com.
There is a range of courses in the area, including those on adjacent Sea and Jekyll islands. On St. Simons, there are the three modest but beautiful nine-hole courses at the Sea Palms complex (800-841-6268, www.seapalms.com), and the stunning and pricey ($230 a round) Seaside course, a branch of the Sea Island resort (see below) .
WHERE TO STAY: The sweet and modestly sized King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort (800-342-0212, www.kingandprince.com) is a longtime fixture on St. Simons. And after a recent major renovation, it ranks as one of the most attractive small resorts on the Georgia coast. High-season summer rates begin at $190 a night and go to $269 for oceanfront cabana rooms. After Aug. 8, prices drop to $175 to $245. Two- and three-bedroom villas are available from $349 in the summer. The King and Prince owns the Hampton Club and offers summer golf packages for two -- including room, a southern buffet breakfast and a round of golf with cart -- starting at $320 a night, or $280 after Aug. 8.
For tighter budgets, the Sea Palms Golf and Tennis Resort (800-841-6268, www.seapalms.com), a few miles up the island, offers rooms, suites and villas starting at $159 in the summer and fall. Closer to the lighthouse and beach district -- but with no golf course -- is the Village Inn and Suites (500 Mallory St., 888-635-6111), a converted and expanded cottage nestled in the live oaks. Rooms start at $150, or $130 after Labor Day.
WHERE TO EAT: Georgia's coastal cuisine is all about seafood and barbecue, oysters and grits, fried chicken and collards. St. Simons is crowded with restaurants, but two reliable outlets for this heavenly board are the Blue Water Bistro (115 Mallory St.), a fun, pubby restaurant housed in an old bank near the public pier, and the Blackwater Grill (260 Redfern Village), which gathers low-country influences from the Georgia coast to the Louisiana Bayou.
INFO: Brunswick and the Golden Isles Convention and Visitors Bureau, 800-809-1790, www.bgicvb.com.
-- Steve Hendrix