A Fun-Filled Treasure Hunt for Kids on St. Simons Island

Last updated 11th October 2019

Boasting an interesting history, entrancing culture, forgotten heroes and undiscovered towns and hamlets, a visit to Georgia’s Golden Isles is one of the richest experiences along the Atlantic coast. Georgian cultural elements—including songs, stories, dances, food and architecture—and other numerous factors define the area. But a family-friendly activity that’s perfect for any time of year, put treasure hunting on the to-do list. With seven famous tree spirits on public land around St. Simons Island, families can make a full day out of searching.

8:00 a.m.

Fuel up for a full day of treasure hunting at Sandcastle Café & Grill on Mallery Street. Try its “glorious breakfast buffet,” to satisfy the whole crew. Complete the meal with bloody marys and mimosas for mom and dad and a variety of juices for the younger crowd.

9:15 a.m.

Head toward the St. Simons Island Lighthouse Museum to find your first Tree Spirit treasure. You’ll discover the first carving at the Golden Isles Welcome Center–you won’t miss it!

Inside the Welcome Center, be sure to get a tree spirit map and chat with the staff. You’ll learn more about the fascinating lore and legends of the St. Simons Island Tree Spirits before heading along your way for treasure hunting.

9:30 a.m.

Make a stop at the St. Simons Lighthouse Museum and explore the history within. You can even climb to the top! From the aerial perspective, see if you can scope out the locations of the next tree spirit treasures on the list.

10:30 a.m.

After a visit to the St. Simons Island Lighthouse, head toward Mallery Park, just north of the Pier Village, to find the next two treasures on the list. Explore the park to find two more faces peering out of the trees.

(Hint: One will hit a home run, and the other one prefers shooting hoops!)

11:15 a.m.

Now that you’ve found three of the tree spirits in the Pier Village area, head north to find the rest. Families can rent bikes from a nearby shop to enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery.

Ride along Frederica Road in the middle of the island, which is part of the extensive St. Simons Island Trail System. Continue for about 15 minutes until you pass through the traffic circle. Keep your eyes open on the other side of the traffic circle, where you will find two more tree spirits!

One is located on the Magnolia Manor Retirement Home property, and the other is located at the Redfern Village shopping and dining area.

12:30 p.m.

Courtesy of Gnat’s Landing

You’re halfway through your journey, and now is the perfect time to stop for lunch at a favorite local watering hole. Try Gnat’s Landing, located back in Redfern Village, directly behind the tree spirit tucked away in this island establishment. Its back porch is one of the best places to enjoy a cold drink, refuel with some local seafood and chat with friendly locals.

1:30 p.m.

Hop back on your bikes and head north along Frederica Road to continue along the St. Simons Island Trail System. About 10 minutes down the road, you’ll come to the Anderson Fine Art Gallery and Delaney’s Bistro. This is where the sixth tree spirit is located—another treasure you can’t miss!

(Tip: If you weren’t hungry at the last stop, Delaney’s Bistro and its sister restaurant, Café Frederica, are other island favorites. Stop for lunch if you’re ready. You won’t be disappointed!)

2:00 p.m.

After you find the sixth spirit, you have just one more left on the list. Head south on Frederica Road back toward the roundabout and turn right onto Demere Road. Take another right at the fourth traffic light and you’ll find Gascoigne Bluff at the first street on your left.

Take some time to explore the Cassina Garden Club Slave Cabins from the Plantation Era, play disc golf or enjoy the fishing pier and the afternoon sunshine.

When you’re ready, explore the whole park to find the final tree spirit on the list!

(Hint: This one’s a picnic to find!)

Once you’ve completed your treasure hunt, return your bikes and spend the evening on the beach, resting on St. Simons Island.