By Sue Rodman
The contest was over in a few seconds. The translucent racers scurried in mass across the sand to the quiet darkness, away from the curious squealing vacationers.
Apparently ghost crabs are significantly faster than the hermit crabs they use for such games in the Bahamas. An after dinner beach walk to find the crustations was one of my 10-year-old’s favorite activities during our trip to The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simon’s Island, Ga. Here are five other reasons to book a stay at this historic seaside hotel.
Location, Location: We visit St. Simon’s quite a bit since my in-laws live there. When we visit them, we always visit the beach too, but it’s not the same as staying ON THE BEACH. The experience is completely different. The King and Prince is the only full service hotel located on the beach. During our stay, we popped back to the room for lunch on our deck and took an afternoon break from the sun. We didn’t have to worry about lugging all our stuff to the beach either, if the kids decided they wanted the skim board, they could walk back to the room to get it. And the ghost crab experience above – my son has come to St. Simon’s since he was born and this was the first time he’s ever been on the beach at night. I didn’t even know they HAD ghost crabs on St. Simons.
Five Pools and a Beach: I’m a beach person, so is my sister-in-law. I figure I can hang at the pool at home. My niece is a pool person. She’ll do the beach for a little bit, but restlessness sets in and she wants to go to the pool. At the King and Prince, the pool is literally on the beach, so everyone is happy. My sister-in-law and I can dig our toes in the sand while my niece splashes in the pool, popping her head over the rail every so often to check in. If you’re kids are smaller, the pool also has a wading area with splash jets and a covered sand box so wee ones can dig out of the sun. An added bonus, during the summer The King and Prince has kids activities at the pool. We made a beach in a jar, iced homemade cookies and played a little corn hole.
Echo Restaurant: We loved pretty much everything about this restaurant. The outdoor dining, the floor-to-ceiling bay windows overlooking the ocean in the indoor dining room, the naval back story that harkens to life at the hotel during World War II, and happy hour in the comfy couches by the fireplace without the kids. Then there’s the food, fresh fruit in the morning that includes raspberries, blueberries and blackberries in addition to melons and pineapple; bbq chicken flatbread that we fought over during dinner, and the Echo donut that gives Café du Monde a run for the money.
Shrimping aboard the Lady Jane: The concierge at the King & Prince can help you schedule any number of activities, tennis, golf, shooting school, fishing, stand up paddle board, guided kayak tours, and the list goes on and on. Since our visit was only a few days, and we had been traveling non-stop for lacrosse tournaments, I really wanted to just relax on the beach. However, the one tour you absolutely must do while in St. Simons is the Lady Jane Shrimp boat. It’s a dolphin tour; a hands-on science exhibit; it’s a blast. Hop aboard an authentic shrimp boat, trawl through the marsh and then pick through the catch of pufferfish (my favorite), sharks, rays and fish with a certified marine biologist.
Bike Paths: St. Simon’s Island has more than 30 miles of bike paths. One of our favorite things to do is rent bikes from Ocean Motion, located one block from the King and Prince Hotel, and explore the island on two wheels. East Beach is more residential, quieter. In the other direction is the St. Simon’s Island Pier with restaurants, shops, a mini-golf course, lighthouse and fishing. This is where my teens like to meet friends, my 10 year-old likes to play mini-golf, and his dad likes to hang out eating popcorn and drinking beer at Brogens.
The King and Prince Hotel went through an extensive renovation in 2014. As is common in the travel industry, we were invited to experience the hotel and it’s services for the purposes of this post, all opinions are our own.