Boneyard beaches are an emblematic feature of the Sea Islands, with examples in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. Ossabaw’s South End boneyard is much larger but less well-known than Jekyll’s Driftwood Beach.
Ossabaw Island’s South End Beach is a 12-mile, hour-long ride away from any semblance of civilization but well worth the difficulty of getting there. From the Main Road we veered onto Hell Hole Road, passing through some of the most ecologically significant mature maritime forests in Georgia. When at last the beach was in sight we followed a short path to the dunes, punctuated by a stand of Cabbage-palms (Sabal palmetto) more reminiscent of Florida than Georgia.
Here are a few views of this pristine place.
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.
To access Driftwood Beach, park in the small lot just past the Villas-by-the-Sea condominiums. After walking through this maritime oak forest you’ll find a “boneyard” full of fallen trees, gradual victims to the ravages of wind and salt-spray. In springtime, you’ll see lots of thistle.
A short or long walk will reveal some of the most stunning scenery on the Georgia coast.