If you love being near water, a mild climate, history, nature, panoramic views and clean air, with great access to shopping and services, you'll love what Darien has to offer. We're just an hour in each direction from Savannah, Georgia, to the north, and Jacksonville, Florida, to the South. Come for the day, or stay longer. Go on a boat tour, deep sea fishing, or fish right off our beautiful docks; swim in the ocean surrounding pristine islands with maritime forests; go bird and nature watching, or biking along miles of trails. Take photographs of the sun setting right down on the water.

  • Fort King George

    Fort King George For history aficionados, families, or anyone who’s even a little curious about Georiga’s colonial past, Fort King George Historic Site is a fascinating place to explore year round. Presiding over the delta of the Altamaha River and overlooking vast expanses of coastal salt marsh, the fort was built in 1721 as a strategic defense point by the British against the encroaching forces of the French and Spanish who were all after a piece of the North American pie, particularly in the Southeast. From the outset the fort seemed destined for trouble; the group that was sent to man the fort spent most of their first year hospitalized with scurvy and various other ailments brought on by the rough journey to the fort, and suffered perpetually from tropical diseases dished up by the marsh environment. Beset by difficult living conditions, low morale and a fire that destroyed most of the fort in 1726, it was rebuilt but eventually abandoned in 1732. Fort King George ReenactmentsEven with its shaky start, the fort would eventually continue to play a role in the region’s contemporary story. General James Oglethorpe’s Scottish Highlanders resettled the fort in 1736. This settlement would eventually become Darien, a community driven largely by the milling industry that was started with the Highlanders’ sawmill at the Fort. Remnants of this sawmill still stand today at the Historic Site. You’ll also find some significant remnants of the original buildings among reconstructed versions of the original buildings including barracks, palisades, and even a moat! The centerpiece of the site is the blockhouse, constructed according to original plans, that towers over the marshes in three imposing stories. There’s a museum that fills you in on the area’s history, including that of the Guale Indian culture and 16th Century Spanish Missions, the 18th century colonial power struggles among the British, French and Spanish, and the lives of the colonial Scottish Highlanders in the area. Get a heaping helping of colonial history from an 18th century soldier’s-eye view during one of the Site’s popular “living history” events scheduled throughout the year. These often include artillery drills, musket firings, battle reenactments and other activities that provide insight into the lives of the soldiers and historical events at the British Empire’s southernmost North American outpost. Fort King George Historic Site is located in Darien, GA, 3 miles east of I-95 off Exit #49. For more information call 912-437-4770 Read More
  • Sapelo Island

    Sapelo Island Sapelo Island is carefully guarded against the encroachment of development, in a rare but encouraging twist of fortune for a small patch of land that was at various points a prize for aspiring European colonists, a pawn in the struggle between Native Americans and European settlers, a grand plantation and a refuge for captains of industry. Now most of the island is a refuge for the creatures of the marsh, forest and dunes. And for the few folks each day who are lucky enough to visit this cherished bit of paradise, it lives on in the mind as a refuge of all that’s still wild and wonderful on the Georgia coast. Much of Sapelo’s magic comes from the natural world of the here and now. Live oaks dripping with moss arch their limbs over unpaved sun dappled roads. Pelicans patrol the surf along miles of unspoiled beaches. Stately herons stalk fish and frogs in the dense cord grass of the salt marshes and fiddler crabs wave defiant oversized claws from their muddy turf. But hints of human history provide a strange and beautiful counterpoint to the island’s wild side. Glowing white neo-classical statues that watch over the grounds of a former plantation; the crumbling tabby ruins of a once-grand 18th century estate; and ancient shell middens that hint at the lives of Sapelo’s first inhabitants thousands of years ago. The majority of Sapelo Island is under the care of public entities devoted to studying and preserving the natural and historic heritage of Georgia’s fourth-largest barrier island, including the University of Georgia Marine Institute, the R.J. Reynolds Wildlife Refuge, and the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve. Why all this intense focus on such a tiny area? The salt marshes and estuaries of this region are some of the most ecologically vulnerable, diverse and productive habitats in the world. The ebb and flow of the tides, the mixing of salt and fresh water and the bounty of decaying plant material in the marsh provide a rich feeding ground and nursery for microscopic life, shellfish, fish and birds, and scientists are just beginning to scratch the surface on how these complex systems work. Read More
  • Old City Jail Art Center

    Old City Jail Art Center The McIntosh Art Center, located in the heart of Darien on North Way (Hwy 17), is a wonderful place to visit for those who enjoy art or who are seeking that special, one of a kind artistic treasure (oil painting, watercolor, photograph or sculpture). Much of the subject matter by local artists depicts the lush scenery and exotic wildlife of Coastal Georgia. The structure that today houses so much unique and beautiful art was long used as the county jailhouse—prisoners were kept incarcerated upstairs while the jailer and his family lived downstairs! Read More
  • Darien's Squares

    Darien's Squares Today, Darien's city squares are sites of festivals, art shows, outdoor entertainment, family get-togethers, and leisurely walks. James Oglethorpe, British general, philanthropist, and founder of the colony of Georgia, planned the squares for the City of Darien following the city squares design he used when laying out Savannah a few years earlier. Vernon Square In the 1800s, Vernon Square was the business, cultural, social, and religious center of Darien. The Methodist Church was originally built in 1843, partially damaged during the Civil War, then rebuilt in 1884 with many of the materials of the first church. St. Andrews Episcopal Church, built in 1878, was the site of the famous Bank of Darien. Open Gates, a bed and breakfast, was built in 1878 by sawmill owner Isaac Aiken. Hilton House, on south Vernon Square, was built by timber baron Joseph Hilton in 1875. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The historical marker reads: "During the 19th and early 20th centuries this area was the business, social and religious center of Darien. The powerful Bank of Darien with branches in five cities operated here until 1842. Prominent merchants and timber barons lived in homes around Vernon square when Darien was one of the world's leading exporters of pine timber from 1870 to 1910. The Methodist and Episcopal churches on the Square were both established in the 1840's."
  • Butler Island Plantation

    Butler Island Plantation Located on US 17 one mile south of Darien, this former rice plantation is now a residence for the Department of Natural Resources. There is a 75-foot brick chimmney in front of the house, of interest to motorists passing by; this was part of a steam-powered rice mill built in 1850. One can also see the still-operational dike system, designed by engineers from Holland and the two-story home of Col. T.L. Huston, a half-owner of the New York Yankees, who had a Guernsey dairy farm and a successful truck farming operation that shipped iceberg lettuce grown in the restored rice fields. The residence was built in 1927, and during this period, many professional baseball players visited the Plantation, including Babe Ruth. The historical marker reads: "Famous rice Plantation of the 19th century, owned by Pierce Butler of Philadelphia. A system of dikes and canals for the cultivation of rice, installed by engineers from Holland can still be observed in the old fields, and has been used as a pattern for similar operations in recent years. During a visit here with her husband in 1839-40, Pierce Butler's wife, the brilliant English actress, Fannie Kemble, wrote her "Journal of a Residence On A Georgia Plantation," which is said to have influenced England against the Confederacy." Another historical marker reads: "Pierce Butler and his daughter, Frances, who shared his interest in the South, returned to Butler island in 1866, and worked to rehabilitate the plantations. Pierce Butler died in 1867, but Frances continued for several years to manage the island acreage. She wrote a book, "Ten Years On A Georgia Plantation," an interesting and valuable account of life in this section during the Reconstruction. Owen Wister, famous author of "The Virginian," and other novels, was the son of Sarah Butler, sister of Frances. He often visited Butler Island plantation." Read More
  • Ashantilly Center

    Ashantilly Center The Ashantilly Center, a non-profit corporation in McIntosh County, is the brainchild of Mr. William Haynes Jr., who, with his sister, Miss Annie Lee Haynes, donated the house and property to the Ashantilly Center, Inc. in the hopes that it will prove a long-term and useful endowment to the people of Coastal Georgia. The original owner of the property was Thomas Spalding (also known as Georgia’s Benjamin Franklin). He was born on what is now St. Simon’s Island, Georgia on March 25, 1774. His ancestors came from the Highlands of Scotland earlier that century, in 1736. His great-grandfather was John Mohr McIntosh, the highlander who settled McIntosh County and Darien. Read More
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