Driving north from the Village, Massengale is the first public beach you will encounter. In recent years its popularity seems to have waned in favor of East Beach (Coast Guard Beach) but it’s still a great spot. The dunes here are nearly gone but are still recognizable as you enter the beach (above).
Tag Archives: Beach Dunes of Coastal Georgia
At the north end of Sapelo Island is Cabretta Beach, sometimes referred to as Cabretta Island for its isolation at high tide. If you can imagine a place more isolated than Nanny Goat Beach, Cabretta might come to mind.
The only land-based point of access is the Cabretta Campground, which requires reservations. It’s a pristine natural area with a small comfort station and a canopy of Live Oaks.
A short walk through the dunes provides access to one of the most undisturbed beaches in Coastal Georgia.
Sea Oats are dominant here, as they are on all of Georgia’s Sea Islands.
Like Nanny Goat Beach, Cabretta is a prime example of a barrier island environment that has never been developed.
It remains a favored fishing and crabbing spot for the Gullah-Geechee people who call the island home.
Convenient beach access points can be found from the lighthouse all the way down the island. Just remember that parking is never free on Tybee, and in summer a spot can be difficult to find.
Due to heavy erosion, sand is constantly being replaced in certain areas. The dunes are predominately natural, though.
As on all of Georgia’s barrier island, Tybee’s dunes are protected as turtle habitat and for myriad other animals and plants which call them home.
I was amazed to find this dune wildflower blooming in January, but the micro-climate on the coast yields many surprises.
Winter is actually a wonderful time to visit the coast, as it’s always less crowded and to me, at least, the stark colors and hues give it an otherworldly feel.
St. Andrews Beach lies just west of the island’s southern tip, at the point where the Atlantic Ocean meets St. Andrews Sound.
Loved by locals for its natural beauty and relative solitude, it is also my favorite place on the island. A sorry episode in Georgia’s history, the landing of the illegal slave ship the Wanderer, took place here in 1858; it will be addressed in another post.
It’s more a ‘nature’ beach than a ‘swimming’ beach. The waters off St. Andrews are a good spot for observing dolphins. Sharks are quite common, too. Posted warnings note that there is bacteria in the water and this keeps most visitors out of the water. Strong currents are also a factor. Seining (net fishing) is a common activity, though.
St. Andrews often has more shells than any other beach on Jekyll Island.
Walk left from the entrance area and you’ll notice lots of deadfall.
There’s a similarity to Driftwood Beach, but St. Andrews Beach is much smaller.
St. Andrews has some of the best sunsets on the island. I’ve been at sunrise and sunset and encountered the fewest people in the mornings. Whatever time you go, try to visit at low tide as there’s very little shoreline at high tide.