Sea Island is an easy island escape (to the Golden Isles of Georgia that is) that perfectly blends Southern hospitality at its finest with magnificent settings, adventure and exploration, and relaxation and rejuvenation. It is impeccably both luxurious and very family-friendly. Sea Island brings to life a grand family vacation complete with elegant accommodations, a private beach, fine Southern cuisine, world-class golf, and the new Sea-Fari program and that’s just the start.
From the lovebirds chirping hello each morning to breakfast pastries and afternoon cookies and sweet tea, Southern Charm is the theme of Sea Island. They have the science of keeping everyone as busy as they want to be down pat on Sea Island.
Each time of the year has something compelling that draws families to Sea Island. At Christmas, instead of the usual gingerbread house, there will be a life-size remake of the original Hudson Car placed in the cloister as a nod to Howard Coffin, co-founder of Hudson Motor Car Company and visionary founder of Sea Island. There is also a full schedule of Santa, cookie classes, and egg nog for all. During the summertime, there are parades and another full agenda of fun for the Fourth of July. They also have the Creativity Conference, which brings together the brightest thinkers in the world to share ideas. But even when there’s not a special holiday or conference, no one ever grows bored on Sea Island.
What to Do on Sea Island
Go on a Sea-Fari
Kids of all ages will love the Sea Island Sea-fari, the resort’s coastal spin on a traditional sightseeing safari. The Sea Island Sea-fari promotes nature exploration and family fun on land and water. Kids carry their specially designed ‘Sea-fari Passport’ to document their adventures. The goal is to earn stamps as they embark on adventures that center around family-friendly nature activities. It encourages young adventurers to observe and experience the Sea Island “Big 5”. Here the Big 5 include falcons, horses, dolphins, turtles, and shorebirds, which you find with Sea Island’s naturalists and experts. Bonus: once nature explorers earn a stamp in each of the Big 5 categories, they can redeem it for a legendary Gold Brick Sundae from Wonderland, the resort’s ice cream and candy emporium.
Sea Turtle Dawn Patrol
Sea Turtle Dawn Patrol is a must. Join the Nature Team at sunrise where the discoveries are more than worth the early wake-up. Families patrol the beach with the Nature Team for nesting female turtles, newly laid nests, and hatchlings. Loggerhead turtle tracks are waiting to be found and those lucky enough will find a nest with freshly laid eggs. They may look like ping pong balls but hold much more treasured turtle hatchlings from these endangered turtles. Big and little explorers will make memories while engaging in the sea turtle conservation program.
Go Catch A Fish
A Kid’s Family Fishing Trip is the perfect way to start the day. Book a trip with Captain Ryan and families will observe and learn all about marine life and fishing. You learn everything from baiting hooks to making your first catch. There’s a feast for the eyes as dolphins swim alongside the boat as you begin a family fishing journey. The pristine waters house countless natural treasures to soak in along the way. Prepare to become an accomplished fisherman and learn something totally new while you bask in the thrill of the catch. Kids may surprise themselves as they reel in whiting and sting rays.
The Hawk Walk at Rainbow Island educates families about the ancient art of falconry, walking alongside and discovering these birds of prey from the resident Falconers. Those brave enough will gush watching a Harris hawk come flying back with full wingspan to their gloved fist. Kids will also love meeting and greeting other winged friends like Scout the Eurasian eagle-owl and Owlivia the Eastern screech owl.
Horseback Riding at Rainbow Island along the marsh during a Marsh Horseback Ride (or a Beach Horseback Ride, Wooded Estate Ride or guided pony ride, depending on age and experience) is a must-do. Along the ride and as families navigate the property they are encouraged to look up to catch a glimpse of some of the island’s shorebirds, eagles, and more, and look down to see freshwater crabs.
Activities for Adults Too
There is an endless menu of incredible adventures, including outdoor and indoor, and land and water activities so everyone can spend days alternating between active exploration and recharging.
Certain experiences are unique to Sea Island that families should seek out. The nightly tradition of the Bag Piper at The Lodge, playing across the Speedway Putting Course to officially end the day of golf is a special ritual. Bingo is in a class of its own and has been a rite of passage for family vacations at Sea Island for over 50 years. Families dress in their finest attire to take part in the legendary bingo game.
Quality Pool Time
The Sea Island Beach Club is a mecca for families. There are multiple pools including a water slide pool and splash area for little ones. There’s also an adults-only pool for some peace and quiet. Steps away from the pools are a beach playground and the beach itself. The five miles of private beach filled with unspoiled stretches of sand are paradise. Kids can jump and play in the waves, and enjoy water sports and sailboats. You can also stroll on the sand and collect prized sand dollars and seashells.
At the beach club, kids can also visit the Sea Strike bowling alley, Nature Center, and the fan favorite, Wonderland. It is every kid’s dream come true. There are over 65 varieties of candy and ice cream, including the famous Sea Island Gold Brick Sundae.
Hit the Links
Championship golf is at the heart of the resort. There is a reason that sixteen PGA Tour pros call Sea Island home. The Golf Performance Center is second to none. Situated alongside the Atlantic Ocean, the Performance Center offers spectacular views, and practice facilities to hone all aspects of the game. Here they have some of the best instructors in the low country. Once that golf game is sharpened up, Sea Island has three distinctly different courses. The Seaside Course is the most challenging and visually appealing with its abundance of seaside views. It is one of the top courses in the U.S. They have a challenging links-style course that offers sand dunes, natural grass, and several seaside holes. Golf enthusiasts will also want to tee off at The Plantation Course and The Retreat Course. After a great round (or rounds) of golf, there are literally hundreds of sporting activities to play, from pickleball, squash, tennis, and archery.
Home Sweet Home at The Cloister
After a day full of action and adventure retreat to The Cloister. Situated on abundant acreage and appointed with elegant guest rooms and suites offering views of the Black Banks River, Atlantic Ocean, and natural settings, The Cloister is the center of it all. The best part is that you feel like you are coming home to your family. There is heartfelt hospitality and everyone on the team at Sea Island is warm and welcoming, making sure that guests have everything they need before they could even think of it.
The beautiful accommodations are diverse enough for all types of families. Whether that means a family suite in the Main Building or a sprawling 3-bedroom home at The Cloister Ocean Residence, the options fit a range of budgets. The plush bedding and deep-soaking tubs in the accommodations create the comforts of home.
The fine Southern dining and delicious cuisine of Sea Island are as home cooking and comfort as it gets. Think deviled eggs, fried green tomatoes, and local Southern seafood that will make your mouth water just thinking about it. The resort’s family-friendly restaurants feature an array of options. There are award-winning shrimp and grits and traditional Southern cuisine at the Oak Room, as grab-and-go beach snack options at The Snack Shack.
Families will also enjoy rustic Italian with flair and river views at Tavola. There’s also alfresco oceanfront dining with southern influences at Southern Tide with its specialty steaks and seafood. Everything is prepared with love and rich flavors, so probably not the time to be on a strict diet. There is attention to every detail so much that the Sea Island insignia is even carved into ice cubes on specialty drinks.
A Tradition of Good Memories
Once you come to Sea Island, there is a good chance that you will return again and again. There’s something special about getting back to what matters, which is what Sea Island inspires you to do. The essence of this destination is to spend quality with your favorite people. For many, it’s a Thanksgiving and holiday tradition, and something to look forward to each year. You can’t go wrong with the beautiful blend of activity, ambiance, and family tradition.