Area Recreation

Darien-McIntosh Visitor Center and Chamber of Commerce

1111 Magnolia Bluff Way, SW Suite #410,
Darien, GA 31305
(912) 437-4837 for Visitor Center
(912) 437-6684 for Chamber of Commerce
visitdarien.com

Local restaurants

B&J's Steaks and Seafood
(near Historic Downtown Darien)
901 North Way,
Darien, GA 31305
(912) 437-2122

Blue Bay Mexican Grill
110 Screen Street,
Darien, GA 31305
(912) 574-8016

Chile Peppers Dos
(Next to Darien Outlet Mall)
13044 GA Highway 251, Exit 49,
Darien, GA 31305
(912) 437-1220

China 1
802 North Way,
Darien, GA 31305
(912)437-1222

Mudcat Charlie's
250 Ricefield Way,
Brunswick, GA 31525
(912) 261-0055

Nautica Joes
(Historic Downtown Darien)
108 Walton Street,
Darien, GA 31305
(912) 437-JOES

Old School Diner
1080 Jesse Grant Road NE,
Darien, GA 31331
(912) 832-2136

Skipper's Fish Camp
(Waterfront on Darien River)
85 Screven Street,
Darien, GA 31305
(912) 437-3474

Sweet Tee's Snack Shack
5231 US Highway 17,
Darien, GA 31305
(912) 437-2018

Waterfront Wine and Gourmet
107 Broad Street,
Darien, GA 31305
(912) 437-3410

Zio Carlo's Café
(Historic Downtown Darien)
106 Broad Street,
Darien, GA 31305
(912) 437-2739  

Local Attractions

Fort King George

Located 3 miles east of I-95 off Exit #49
302 McIntosh Road SE, Darien, GA 31305
(912) 437-4770
gastateparks.org/FortKingGeorge

Facilities: museum and film, gift shop, picnic area, Wi-Fi available in the Visitor Center

Things To Do & See - film, nature trail, fully reconstructive fort, picnicking, birding, group primitive campouts, birthday parties, weddings, kayak and canoe rental

Overlooking vast expanses of coastal salt marsh over the delta of the Altamaha River, Fort King George was built by the British in 1721 as a strategic defense point against the forces of the French and Spanish encroaching on North America, particularly the Southeast. The fort was destined for trouble, as most of the group sent to protect it was hospitalized with scurvy and various ailments brought on by the journey to the fort or tropical diseases brought on by the marsh environment. Difficult living conditions and a fire destroyed most of the fort in 1726. It was rebuilt, but eventually abandoned in 1732. It was resettled in 1736 by General James Oglethorpe's Scottish Highlanders and eventually became the town of Darien, a community driven largely by the milling industry started by the Highlanders' sawmill at the Fort. Remnants of this sawmill still stand today at the historic site. Significant remnants of the original buildings among reconstructed versions including barracks, palisades and even a moat can be found at the fort. At the centerpiece is the blockhouse, constructed according to original plans, that towers over the marshes in three imposing stories. A museum educates visitors on the area's history, including that of the Guale Indian culture and the 16th century Spanish Missions, the 18th century colonial power struggles among the British, French and Spanish, and the lives of the colonial Scottish Highlanders of the area. The time to visit is during the site's popular "living history" events scheduled throughout the year with reenactments of the artillery drills, musket firings, battle reenactments and other activities providing insight to the lives of the soldiers and historical events of the British Empire's southernmost North American outpost.

Sapelo Island

sapelonerr.org/visit-sapelo-island

Once 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, Sapelo Island is now carefully protected against the encroachment of development and a refuge for creatures of the marsh, forest and dunes. Among the live oaks, unspoiled beaches, unpaved roads and salt marshes are hints of human history providing a beautiful counterpoint to the Island's wild nature. Neo-classical statues watch over the grounds of a former plantation, crumbling tabby ruins lie at a once-grand 18th century estate and ancient shell middens hint at the lives of Sapelo's first inhabitants thousands of years ago. 

Old City Jail Art Center and Museum

mcintoshartassociation.com

The McIntosh Art Center is located on North Way (Highway 17) in the heart of Darien, and is a wonderful place to visit for those who enjoy art and seek to find a special, one-of-a-kind artistic treasure. Much of the subjects by local artists show the lush scenery and exotic wildlife of Coastal Georgia. Once used as the county jailhouse, prisoners were kept incarcerated upstairs while the jailer and his family lived downstairs.

Bird Watching

Darien is located along Georgia's Colonial Coast Birding Trail, as the miles of pristine marshes and wetlands and proximity to the Atlantic Ocean make it a wonderful place to view and photograph a wide variety of birds and wildlife.

For a unique birding and wildlife experience, the Harris Neck Wildlife Refuge is the perfect place with 2,762 acres of premier nesting, foraging, and wintering habitat for many species of wildlife. Signature finds include wood storks and the colorful, uncommon painted bunting, but 342 species of birds have been seen on the refuge and 83 species breed here. It is one of seven refuges administered as part of the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex located at 5000 Wildlife Dr NW, Townsend, GA, a 35-minute drive from Oaks on the River.

Butler Island Plantation

US Highway 17
(912) 437-6686

This former rice plantation is located on US 17 one mile south of Darien and was one of the largest plantations in the South. The story begins in the 1790s, when Major Pierce Butler planted the land on the Altamaha Delta, providing perfect rice growing conditions. The major's grandson, Captain Pierce Butler, married the famous and beautiful British stage actress Fanny Kemble in 1838 and arrived at the plantation for a six-month working visit. Kemble, who was not familiar with the reality of slavery, immediately was very opposed to the treatment of the slaves, and eventually published the notes in a book called, "Journal of a Resident on a Georgia Plantation," which some say helped to persude the British to oppose slavery and the Civil War. The land (excluding the house used by the Department of Natural Resources) is open to the public for picnicking, fishing and birding and provides dramatic sunsets and brilliant nature views.

Ashantilly Center

15591 GA Highway 99, Darien, GA 31305
(912) 437-4473

Known as "Old Tabby," the Ashantilly Center was the mainland home of Thomas Spalding, an early Georgia legislator, planter and McIntosh County landowner. The original 1820s home burned in 1937, and the current house was a project of Mr. William Hayes Jr., who founded the Ashantilly Press, and his sister Annie Lee Haynes. Haynes founded the Ashantilly Center, a nonprofit organization operating an educational and cultural center just outside of Darien.

The Smallest Church in America

US Highway 17 South, I-95 Exit 67, Darien, GA 31305
(912) 437-4837

Christ's Chapel in Memory Park is a little sanctuary situated near the South Newport River constructed in 1949. This was a dream come true for local grocer, Mrs. Agnes Harper, who wanted a chapel to serve as a place of meditation and rest for weary travelers. Local ministers still lead non-denominational worship every third Sunday, and it is known as one of the most unique structures along the Georgia Coast Scenic Byway. 

Fishing, Hunting and Boating

McIntosh County is known as the Fisherman's Paradise for its proximity to the ocean and abundance of rivers and wildlife. Click here to find experienced and knowledgeable boat captains offering chartered fishing excursions or hunting and fishing guides.

Darien's Squares

General James Oglethorpe, philanthropist and founder of the colony of Georgia, planned the squares for the City of Darien in alignment with his layout of Savannah a few years earlier in 1733. Today the squares are sites of festivals, art shows, outdoor entertainment, family gatherings and leisurely walks.

Bike Riding

Marked trails along paved roads as well as several dirt-road trails provide excellent biking opportunities around the city.