All manner of visitors have passed Little St. Simons Island's pristine shores, from Guale Indians searching for oysters 1,300 years ago to the Swiss colonist who tried transforming it into a plantation to the New York businessman who bought it in 1908 as a family retreat. Now the resort is open to anyone, but only 30 people at a time. Guests don't come here for the history, though; they come to collect shells on the three empty beaches, paddle a sea kayak, or search the salty wetlands for wildlife. The 10,000-acre barrier island is reachable only by boat and is home to river otters, loggerhead turtles, and enormous numbers of birds, such as bald eagles, brown pelicans, and long-billed curlews. Served family style in the yellow dining room, the Low Country cuisine includes anything from pecan-crusted pork loin to crispy flounder with Georgia peach chutney. Doubles from $600, including transport from the mainland, activities, and all meals; 888-733-5774, www.littlestsimonsisland.com
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