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Golden Isles of Georgia Named Top Island Destination

Region was honored with Best U.S. Islands title by Travel + Leisure magazine

By Madeline Fuerstenberg

Golden Isles
The sun sets over a fishing pier at Jekyll Island, a part of the Golden Isles of Georgia. || Photo by Nickolay Khoroshkov, courtesy of Adobe Stock

The Golden Isles of Georgia has reclaimed Travel + Leisure magazine’s 2023 Best U.S. Islands title, the Golden Isles Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) announced in July. Every year, Travel + Leisure—a travel publication that reaches 16 million readers each month—asks its readers to rank their favorite destinations, hotels, resorts, spas, airlines, and more in the publication’s annual survey. The nation’s most popular island destinations are rated according to “their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.”

The Golden Isles snagged the top spot of the 15 Best Islands in the Continental U.S. category. More than 18,000 islands are part of the U.S., and there are more than 900,000 around the world. According to the Golden Isles CVB, the Best Islands category is well-known for its competitiveness, especially as more and more travelers across the country and around the world are resuming travel since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scott McQuade, president and CEO of the Golden Isles CVB, says his team is immensely proud and appreciative of the accolade. “This award recognizes the Golden Isles as a brand name, allowing us to achieve our goal to make this beautiful destination the world’s best.” Indeed, the Golden Isles has been a top 10 contender in the World’s Best Islands category consistently over the past nine years.

The Golden Isles comprises four barrier regions: St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Jekyll Island, and Little St. Simon Island. From pristine beaches and scenic marshlands to historic landmarks and charming downtowns areas, the Golden Isles offer visitors of all ages an experience they’ll treasure forever. Tourism growth over the past 10 years at the destination proves it. The CVB reported record-breaking numbers in 2022, when the regions saw the highest economic impact in tourism and the highest hotel occupancy to-date.

“Our partnership with Leisure + Travel has helped us obtain our goal of increasing our reach to travelers across the world while ensuring that this affluent travel audience not only contributes to our local economy but shares the same values that our residents hold dear,” says Marcie Kicklighter, senior director of marketing and communications of the Golden Isle CVB. “We are pleased to have expanded our eco-tourism, culinary, and heritage tourism marketing efforts with Travel + Leisure.”