Since Chase had a half-day of school on Friday, we took advantage of his early dismissal and made the 5-hour drive south to St. Simons Island in Georgia to begin our spring break at the beach.
Though this was our first time staying on St. Simons Island, we’re familiar with this part of Georgia since we’ve visited Jekyll Island a few times in the past and Jekyll is located 30 minutes south of St. Simons Island (by car — it’s closer by boat)! In terms of location, it’s a great spot for us since it’s drivable from Charlotte and also very close to my family in Jacksonville, Florida. Our pit stop in St. Simons Island was a great way to break up our drive to Jacksonville and enjoy some time with our own little family unit, too!
Though we arrived on Friday evening, we didn’t really have the chance to explore St. Simons Island too much because Rhett was D-O-N-E for the day and desperately needed an early bed time. Rhett straight up refuses to nap in the car even on long car trips. He has never napped on any of our 6+ hour drives to and from Jacksonville which blows my mind. One we checked into our room on Friday night, he practically lunged for his pack ‘n’ play and was sound asleep by 6:30 p.m.
A solid night’s sleep did wonders for Rhett while Chase and Ryder loved sharing a big queen-sized bed at our villa at the King and Prince Resort on the island. (We were invited to stay at the resort as part of an Instagram collaboration. It was an awesome spot both from a location standpoint and a family-friendly resort standpoint and I’d highly recommend it.)
Our villa was walkable to a number of restaurants, pools and the beach and worked well for our family. We stayed in a two-bedroom villa and Ryan and I once again raved about the benefits of separate sleeping accommodations for us and the boys. Chase and Ryder shared a room while Rhett slept in a pack ‘n’ play in a large closet and it was perfect! A well-rested family is a happy on vacation, I’m tellin’ ya.
The weather on Saturday morning was a bit on the chilly side for the beach (upper 50s) so we eased into the the day at The Cottage, a small coffee, pastry and custard shop located a short 90-second walk away.
We paid quite a few visits to The Cottage during our trip because of its proximity but also because of the castle playground, oversized Connect Four game and turf area the boys loved to run around on. (Bonus: This area was fenced which was especially awesome since 19-month-olds love to wander anywhere and everywhere.)
Once I had a hot latte in my possession, I was ready to dive into spring break and Ryan and I took the boys to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, a sea turtle education and rehabilitation facility our family has been to a number of times and loves.
It’s a fairly small facility but fully engages our boys and they love learning about the sea turtle patients and all of the care that goes into trying to make them well enough to be released back into the wild. During Saturday’s visit the boys were also able to watch them care for a barred owl that was hit by a car and were seriously in awe of the team as they tube-fed the bird and gave it fluids. We stayed long enough for the sea turtle feeding in the late morning before making our way to a little park where the boys could play for a bit before lunch.
Lunch was a huge highlight of the day as we followed your Instagram recommendations and made our way to Southern Soul Barbeque, a former gas stationed that was revamped into an incredible barbeque joint.
It did not disappoint and as someone who loves good barbeque, I can confidently say this place deserves the hype! 10 out of 10! Ryan and I shared the smoked chicken, pulled pork and ribs along with an assortment of sides that included collared greens, Hoppin’ John and the stew which absolutely blew me away.
After lunch, Rhett went down for his nap and the big kids were itching to get to the pool despite temperatures in the mid-60s. Ryan took one for the team and took them swimming in the heated pool while I hung back with Rhett.
Rhett’s nap was on the short side so once he was up, we joined the big kids and Ryan at the pool before making our way out to the beach for some fun in the tide pools.
As we headed back, we stumbled upon a little area of turf with a soccer ball and naturally had to stop for almost an hour of barefoot soccer because soccer is Chase’s current obsession.
Eventually we made it back to our room to change and head out for an early dinner. We walked a little more than a mile to St. Simons’ Pier Village, a charming area peppered with lots of restaurants and shops located on the south end of the island. We figured we could grab food at a local spot and eat a picnic at Neptune Park which worked well for the most part. It was incredibly windy which seemed to really bother Rhett so our evening was filled with a mix of fun playtime and fussy baby stress.
I think the highlight of everyone’s evening occurred when we popped into St. Simons Sweets for some treats after dinner!
I opted for the ooey gooey butter cake while the boys selected Easter chocolate pizza and Ryan picked a chocolate covered graham cracker filled with Biscoff. We all agreed my selection took the top prize and now I think I need to figure out how to make gooey butter cake at home.
We managed to get everyone back to our room and in bed a little after 7 p.m. on Saturday night which is no small feat on vacation, especially after downing a decent amount of sugar!
On our walk back to our villa on Saturday night, Ryan and I told the boys we were going to have a “Yes Day” on Sunday where every person in our family could select one thing they wanted to see or do for the day and we would all have to say yes. (Chase read the book Yes Day at school and told us all about it earlier this week which prompted this idea. I haven’t read it so I cannot speak to it but he clearly thought the concept was awesome!)
My “Yes Day” wish was granted first as I said I wanted to enjoy a family breakfast together.
Ryan and I used to love going to brunch pre-kids but now going out to eat isn’t the most relaxing experience so it’s not something we do very often. Thankfully everyone was a good sport about my “Yes Day” wish and we ate a delicious brunch overlooking the ocean at Echo!
The cinnamon-sugar doughnuts stole the show for our crew and Ryan earned bonus Dad points for taking Rhett on a tour of the pool so he could say “hi” to 100 strangers since sitting in a highchair for more than an hour is a virtual impossibility for a 19-month-old.
After breakfast, we walked past The Cottage on our way back to our room and had to make a pit stop so the boys could play on the castle playground again! (This was Chase’s “Yes Day” request along with small alligator and sea turtle hatchling toys for him and his brothers from The Cottage gift shop.) Having access to such a great little play area so close to our room was seriously SO handy and I think we popped in and out of The Cottage at least 5 times during our stay.
Once we were back in our room, the boys seemed content to play with cars for a little bit while Ryan and I rounded up our gear for a morning at the beach and an afternoon at the pool. We made our way out to the beach and the boys played in the tide pools until it was time for Rhett’s nap again. I wanted some solo work time, so I took care of the Nap Trap again while Ryan took the big kids to the pool.
The pictures Ryan sent my way had me cracking up because apparently virgin daiquiris are their new favorite thing in the whole world…
On Saturday a generous mom bought the daiquiris for a bunch of the kids at the pool who were playing together and Ryan returned the favor on Sunday. Clearly they were a HIT. (The pool + a virgin strawberry daquiri = Ryder’s “Yes Day” request!)
After the boys were done at the pool, they joined me and a sleeping Rhett back at the villa for some snacks and downtime. We spent nearly two hours chilling at our villa which was a much-needed recharge for our crew.
Our early evening activities took us to Fort Frederica where we wandered around outside for a bit before making our way back to The Cottage where the boys played with Ryan and I walked over to Crabdaddy’s to pick up a seafood dinner to-go.
After dinner, Ryan cashed in on his “Yes Day” request and we headed back out for dessert! We made our way back to St. Simons Sweets for ooey butter cake and more treats and I realized they had ooey butter cake ice cream!!
You better believe I got myself a waffle cone of that magic!
Eventually we made our way back to our villa and Ryan and I got everyone in bed before crawling into bed ourselves. Now I’m off to help pack up our stuff and wrangle our boys and head to Jacksonville Beach to spend the rest of the week with my parents and my sister and her family. I’ll try to check in again soon but until then, I hope you enjoy your week, my friends!