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Southern traditions continue in coastal Georgia

Most people don’t see Georgia as a vibrant tourist destination. Yet Georgia has beautiful scenic mountains, beaches, lakes and small towns; the crowds are not overwhelming and southern hospitality is abundant. The King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort at Saint Simons Island is one such place in Georgia where generations of families have been vacationing, keeping it sort of a family secret.

The sea-side island resort first opened in 1935 as a private club, and has undergone numerous renovations since then. It has a lot of history attached to its grounds, including Clark Howell (editor and publisher of the Atlanta Constitution) being the first to sign the guest registry in 1941, and the naval occupation of the hotel during World War II.

The resort grounds still fashion some of the architectural elements of those historic times, including an old fashioned wood paneled bar, a solarium with Jacuzzi and palm gardens, a piano room, stained glass windows and an elegant ballroom now used as the restaurant. Modern amenities such as swimming pool, spa and fitness center have been added over the years, but you get the feeling of stepping back into aristocratic times. All the rooms are decorated in intricate southern beach style, with tones of blue and white adorning oversized comfortable beds and sofas. In case you decide to bring the entire family along, there are also a few private cottages which are pet friendly.

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The King and Prince sits right at the beach, with a serene backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. One of the uniqueness about the beach here is that it changes constantly. Sometimes you would wake up in the morning to see the water receded creating a long stretch of moist white sand beach , and at other times, the ocean slaps right onto the fences. Often times, you will see large commercial ships and shrimp boats within a few feet of the beach!

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There are a few dining options at the King and Prince to choose from, and one of the best ways to experience the southern culinary heritage. While the elegantly decorated Delegal Dining Room boasts its traditional family dinners and buffets, the outdoor bar and casual restaurant is a fun place to grab a bite while spending the day at the beach or the pool. Chef Jeff Kaplan handpicks his ingredients at the local farmers markets and creates Georgia inspired recipes to serve at the resort’s restaurants. You will find Georgia shrimp, catfish, watermelons, peaches, Savannah bee honey and pecans incorporated in the menu.  The Friday night seafood buffet and the Sunday southern heritage buffet are both lavish feasts serving every imaginable southern favorite, from fried chicken and shrimp n grits to pecan pie and bread pudding.

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Saint Simons Island is only a 5 hour drive from Atlanta, GA and 1 hour north of Jacksonville, FL. The King and Prince is one of the largest resorts on the island and is also named one of the Historic Hotels of America. It is a great place for an extended weekend getaway or a summer retreat.

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Sucheta Rawal

Sucheta is an award winning food and travel writer, who has traveled to over 90 countries across 7 continents. She is also the founder and editor of 'Go Eat Give' and author of 'Beato Goes To' series of children's books on travel.