In Decor, Travel on
April 16, 2024

Spring Break in Sea Island

Happy spring, dear readers. With warm weather travel top of mind, I thought I would share our recent spring break sojourn to Sea Island. If you live in the Southeast, and Atlanta in particular, you are probably well-versed in the five-star experience that Sea Island offers. Its history is what lures me in, having grown up experiencing the original Cloister by celebrated society architect Addison Mizner in Boca Raton, Florida. 

The famed Cloister at Sea Island, built in the 1920s.

In the days of winter colonies, a resort destination had to be anchored by a fabulous hotel. Mizner broke ground on his Floridian vision for “the world’s most architecturally beautiful playground” in 1925 with plans for shopping vias, polo fields, four Donald Ross-designed golf courses, a battery of tennis courts, a lake, and elegant residential villas sprinkled throughout.  At the center would be the Cloister Inn, a Spanish monastery-like beauty right on the water that brought luxurious tranquility to Boca Raton. 

My friend Amy Wacaster’s Sea Island dining room, the layers are nothing short of incredible.

Mizner decked out each guest room in $10,000 worth of Mizner Industries furnishings and decorated public spaces with antiques from his own collection. The Vanderbilts , Elizabeth Arden, and many other social fixtures attended the grand opening gala in February of 1926. All of the buzz over the Inn attracted the ear of Sea Island, Georgia developer Howard Coffin who was in the midst of building a hotel that was to be the crowning jewel of his new resort destination. He sent a handful of his employees to see what the Inn was offering and they reported back that “the orthodox commercial atmosphere is entirely lacking at The Cloister in Boca Raton. There is an atmosphere of absolute peace, content and calm. It is like living in the most beautiful home in the world with a perfect personal service that has tremendous appeal. Boca Raton is the most beautiful place I have seen in Florida. Add to that the fact that Addison Mizner best understands just what to give people and you have the perfect solution.”

Enjoying an afternoon at the Beach Club.

Coffin quickly abandoned plans drawn up by New York architects Schultze & Weaver for an 8-story “Palace by the Sea” and contracted Mizner to design his Sea Island resort instead. The Cloister, “a friendly little hotel,” opened in 1928 to fanfare over its signature Spanish Mediterranean-style architecture. This quiet simplicity and exceptional service lives on today making it a worthwhile getaway for couples and families alike. 

The tranquil entrance to the spa and fitness center is ever-so centering.

We planned this early April trip with our best preschool friends for a moms and kids’ escape to the coast. I traveled with seasoned Sea Islanders who are in-the-know of logistics and best-kept secrets ensuring that every day was maximized for true vacationing.  I am sharing their tips and our itinerary below to save for future reference.

Tips & Tricks

  • Our Sea Island home was booked directly through Sea Island Cottage Rentals who took care of all of our reservations and Beach Club access. 
  • It was wonderful to have golf carts to ferry us from place to place. We rented these from High Tide Carts and they were promptly delivered to the house when we arrived and picked up on the day of departure. 
  • Check-in at property rentals is at 4 pm, however Beach Club access starts the morning of your arrival day. Call ahead to the Cottage Rentals office the day before to set up your access card so there is no delay in enjoying all the amenities, be it the pools or sporting adventures. 
  • Sea Island is a five-hour drive from Atlanta and is easily accessible by air travel. Delta services flights into BQK (Brunswick Golden Isles), a short 20-minute drive to the resort. You may also fly into Jacksonville (1 hour drive) or Savannah (1 hour and 15 minute drive).
  • During peak seasons like spring break, summer, and holidays you’ll want to secure dining and activity reservations early.
  • The resort is very family friendly offering all manner of accommodations for children. The Beach Club has shallow splash pools, a waterslide, beachside playground, an arcade room, toddler play space, and a candy shop. There is bingo, bowling, an on-site camp, and plenty of other activities to keep them engaged along with children’s dining menus at every restaurant.
A daiquiri a day keeps the good times in play.

Itinerary

Day of Arrival

Day Two

Day Three

  • Breakfast at the Cottage
  • Babysitter arrives
  • Moms go for a beach walk followed by a yoga class
  • Wrangle the children and head to the Beach Club for lunch and a fun-in-the-sun afternoon
  • After a quick locker room shower and change, it’s time for bowling and dinner at Sea Strike
  • A tour of my friend Amy Wacaster’s exquisite Island home, pictures for your inspiration peppered throughout this post

Departure Day

  • One still has access to every amenity, you may as well stay and enjoy the last bit of vacation if weather permits!
You may shop all my vacation looks here.
Amy’s sitting nook ensconced in Brunschwig & Fils’ “Bird and Thistle”
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