St. Andrews Beach is pretty much deserted most of the time. If you walk from South Beach around St. Andrews point, you may not encounter another soul.
You will see sea birds (gulls, plovers, sand pipers, and more) by the score. St. Andrews is a favorite spot for protected and endangered shorebirds. Once, we saw a doe deer and her fawn picking their way down the beach to the water. Offshore, dolphins seine for shrimp and fish, and you can catch glimpses of their sleek backs as they breach to breathe.
The best way to get to the beach is to park at St. Andrews Picnic Area. Park among the live oaks, and stroll through the dune margin directly to the beach.
On your way to the beach, stop by the memorial to the
survivors of the slave ship Wanderer, the last slave vessel to transport
slaves to Jekyll Island's shores without repercussions. On November 28, 1858 (over 50 years after the
legal importing of slaves was outlawed in the United States), the Wanderer
anchored near the southern beaches of Jekyll Island, its hull filled with enslaved
Africans. The Wanderer memorial consists
of three 12-foot tall steel sculptures of abstract ship sails, with plaques detailing
the history of the slaves, the ship, and the slavers.
After taking in the Wanderer memorial, head on to the beach. St. Andrews beach is pretty much protected from the elements. It fronts the Jekyll Sound and doesn't get the wave action that the beaches on the Atlantic side get. But, still, the winds can get pretty stiff here. Better hold on to your hats!
At high tide, you can't walk too far, as the tide reaches all the way to the tree line. But at low tide you can explore to your heart's content.
St. Andrews point is one of the best places on Jekyll Island to find sea shells, or locate and stake out a spot of shade under a tree just off the beach.
If you're hungry for fresh seafood, you can find the freshest just off the beach. Bring your seine net and a few buddies and troll for your own shrimp, and fill up a cooler or two. Crabbing is also good here. You can have your own family seafood feast and it won't cost you a dime (if you have your own equipment, that is).
If getting away from everything is your idea of bliss, then St. Andrews Beach is the perfect beach for you. Take your favorite beach chair, a good book, a cold drink, and relax. You've just re-set your clock to island time!