August 19, 2021

My 3 Favorite Beaches on St. Simons Island for Photos | St. Simons Island Photographer

So, you’re planning to have photos done, or maybe you’re gonna take them yourself, but regardless, you want to do them on the beach on St Simon’s Island. The island has lots of coastline so it seems reasonable that you could just pick any access and it would be fine, right? While you could do that, I’m going to show you my favorite spots & tell you why you should consider them first!

1. Driftwood Drive Beach Access

Driftwood Drive is located a few blocks from Coast Guard Beach. It’s my absolute favorite beach access on the Island for a few reasons.

  1. It’s always pretty quiet and there aren’t a ton of people there. This makes it way easier for taking photos, because there is nothing worse than having to keep moving over while people pass, and some people are just shy about taking photos. It can get busier at sunset, but if you choose this spot to watch the sunrise, you’ll be one of the only people there.
  2. Do you see the field?! Seriously, this access has so many different locations for you to take photos in front of besides just the beach. Starting with the actual walkway, it’s line with lots of plants from palms to pampas grass, and it makes for stunning images. Then when you get to the edge of the beach around the dunes, you’ll see what looks like some kind of field. Now, these photos were taken in July so this would all look a little different in a different season.
  3. The beach itself. What I mean by that, is this is a very expansive beach, regardless of the tide. If you aren’t familiar with the tides in the area, they can be very drastic and sometimes high tide will completely cover the beach. At this location, the beach is so wide that even at high tide, theres still some for you to run around on and play!

There are a some things you should know before you visit. I would recommend some bug spray, especially if you’re visiting at dusk or dawn. The mosquitoes & sand gnats will eat you up otherwise, especially on the walkway because it’s thick with plants. If you arrive at sunrise, depending on the time of year the gate may be closed. An officer opens it every morning at 6:30 a.m. so plan accordingly! There is also limited parking which isn’t usually a problem, but if you visit during the busiest times you may find yourself with nowhere to park.

2. Fifth Street Beach Access

Fifth Street is located a few miles from the pier & Mallery Street. It’s my second favorite beach access on the Island for a few reasons.

  1. The Rocks!! Most of our beaches around here don’t have a whole lot going on, they’re just your typical beach. However, theres a stretch in front of houses where rocks have been hauled in to help with erosion. While these aren’t naturally there, they are still very beautiful to take photos on. Be careful though, sometimes they can have barnacles & oysters on them, so they could cut you.
  2. The houses overlooking the beach. I know, that probably sounds like a weird thing because we’re taking photos right? But these little beach houses lining the coast give me California vibes and I LOVE IT.

As with Driftwood, there are also some things you’ll want to keep in mind if you choose this access. The first one being that it is HIGHLY affected by the tide. If you visit this location at dead high tide, there won’t be much of a beach, it goes up past the rocks, and sometimes all the way up to the concrete barriers by the road. You can pull up tide charts online to see when high/low tide is a few days before your trip to plan accordingly. The parking here is also very limited and fills up quickly. I usually shoot at sunrise here so there’s not many people, but as the day goes by it gets very busy.

3. Gould’s Inlet/East Beach Access

Last, but certainly not least is Gould’s Inlet, also called East Beach. This is the Northernmost access on the island without going to Sea Island. It sits on a small inlet that runs between Sea Island & St. Simon’s Island. This is why you should give this place a visit!

  1. This beach has room for everyone. When you first arrive you’re more on the inlet side of it, but if you walk for about 10 minutes, you’ll find yourself at the ocean. Because it is so massive, it’s easy to get away from other beach goers.
  2. The sunsets. In my opinion, this is the best beach location to watch sunsets on the island. It actually sets over the water during some parts of the year because the river runs up into the marsh. Sunrise is also very nice because this is one of the eastern most beaches so you have a nice, unobstructed view
  3. The dunes. Although the dunes are protected and you can’t walk through them, you can still take photos in front of them & they’re very beautiful. There’s a wide stretch of the dunes as you walk to the ocean.

Of course, there are also some things you’ll want to keep in mind if you choose this access. The first one being that it is also affected by the tide, not quite as much as Fifth Street but still something to plan for. If you arrive a low tide, you may notice there’s a sand bar you can walk to if you walk a good ways. I do not recommend doing this, because people get stranded there every year and end up having to be rescued. Remember those drastic tides? The way you walked before that had no water, or was only about ankle deep, could now be over your head. And, because it’s an inlet, the current is swift; so it’s best to just admire this from afar. The parking situation here is also very limited and it stays busy, mostly because it’s local hangout for not only beachgoing, but kayaking & fishing.

If you had no clue where to take photos, I hope this had made the decision easier for you! Remember, although I mention some places being busier than others, if you visit at the height of tourist season, it will probably be crowded. As I mentioned a few times, the best time to plan for photos would be sunrise to avoid this, and you get to watch the sun rise over the ocean as well. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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