If you enjoy quaint southern Georgia towns full of charm, you’ll feel right at home in Darien, Georgia. You may only come for a day, but you might just end up staying for a lifetime. Let’s look at how to spend a delightful day in Darien, Georgia.
About Darien, Georgia
Darien sits approximately 50 miles south of Savannah. The city is rich with history dating back to 1721 when the British established their southernmost outpost nearby. The city passed a petition in 1739 to prohibit slavery. It later overturned the petition as the city couldn’t attract enough laborers to turn a profit.
In 1775 the city issued a resolution that condemned the practice of slavery. During the Civil War, Union troops raided the city, mainly consisting of slaves.
Colonel Robert Gould Shaw died during the war but wrote to his family expressing shame for participating in the city’s destruction. The Shaw family played a vital role in the rebuilding of the city. Darien continued to grow thanks to lumber shipping and its excellent wild shrimp and oysters.
Darien is growing economically lately due to its proximity to the I-95 interchange with GA 251. This interchange has led to the development of restaurant chains, gas stations, and hotels. In recent years the city began investing in the development of the downtown district. There’s been a purposeful emphasis on showcasing the city’s history and waterfront access.
Being in Georgia, the city can get muggy and hot. July and August are some of the least comfortable months of the year to visit, while April, October, and November are ideal.
Morning in Darien
Start your day in Darien, Georgia, with a hardy meal.
Breakfast at Zio Carlo Cafe
Address: 106 Broad St., Darien, GA 31305
Menu Options: Start your morning off right with a flavored latte, traditional espresso, or one of their breakfast favorites. Oatmeal, breakfast sandwiches, and a breakfast calzone round out their breakfast menu. You also have the option to build your own breakfast sandwich or English muffin.
Reasons to Love It: When you step into Zio Carlo Cafe, you’ll feel like you stepped straight into a movie set in a small town bistro. The drinks and dishes are equally as impressive as the customer service. They’ll treat you like a regular, whether it’s your first visit or your 50th.
Explore Fort King George State Historic Site
Put on your walking shoes and head down to the oldest English fort on the Georgia coast. Fort King George State Historic Site allows guests to imagine themselves in the shoes of its inhabitants more than 300 years ago. A short 10-minute educational film introduces visitors to everyday life in the fort. Then tour reconstructed buildings. These structures are for educational purposes, but there are still original remains from fort buildings and three sawmills.
Take a stroll on the walking paths next to enjoy the history and beautiful landscapes of Darien. Be sure to chat with the park rangers, who have a wealth of knowledge and enjoy sharing it with others.
Afternoon in Darien
By the time you finish up walking around Fort King George, you’ll be ready for lunch. There’s no better way to appreciate a city known for its fishing industry than through its seafood.
Eat lunch at Skippers’ Fish Camp
Address: 85 Screven St., Darien, GA 31305
Menu Options: This is a great lunch stop whether you’re craving a massive burger, seafood, or have dietary restrictions. Get a taste of what has kept the local economy churning with their broad seafood menu. Crab cake sandwiches, surf and turf, and the catch of the day are just a few of the popular menu items.
Reasons to Love It: If the delicious seafood options aren’t enough, the view here is incredible. Sit on the back deck for an opportunity to watch boats coming and going from the marina. Take a selfie with the 11-foot stuffed alligator before you go.
From the moment you step inside, history will surround you. The floors use salvaged bricks from a middle Georgia structure. The bar and tabletops are wood salvaged from a Brunswick, Georgia, hotel in keeping with the historic Georgia atmosphere.
Visit the Old Jail Art Center and Museum
The Old Jail Art Center and Museum is one of the three oldest public buildings in Darien. This building served as the county jail until the county moved the jail to an updated location in 2002. The McIntosh Art Association renovated the facilities and opened a community cultural center in 2007.
When you visit the Old Jail Art Center and Museum, you’ll have the chance to view, browse, or purchase art from local artists. The jail also serves as the Darien Welcome Center. Here you’ll be able to get recommendations and information regarding local restaurants, hotels, and other points of interest. Even if you’re not an art enthusiast, this is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the city of Darien.
Spending an Evening in Darien
After admiring art and learning more about the city’s history, you’ll be thinking about dinner. We couldn’t possibly recommend a non-seafood restaurant in a city known for its seafood.
Get Dinner at BJ’s Steaks and Seafood
Address: 901 North Way, Darien, GA 31305
Menu Options: This casual dining atmosphere will provide something for everyone and in a relaxed atmosphere. BJ’s Steaks and Seafood serves burgers, pasta, steak, and, of course, seafood. You can’t go wrong with their wide selection of seafood, from surf and turf to snow crab to shrimp baskets. Bring an appetite as they’re generous with their portions.
Reasons to Love It: The relaxed environment is the perfect way to unwind and recap your day’s adventures. The delicious food and excellent service are what make this a go-to spot for the locals as well. Arrive early or with reservations to avoid waiting during peak times.
Take a Stroll at the Darien River Waterfront Park and Docks
An evening stroll is a great way to end the day. Walk along the river at Darien River Waterfront Park and docks and enjoy the sights and sounds of the river. They’ll serve as a reminder of the vital industry that supports the city. Take a rest on a bench and let the kids burn off some energy on the playground. The live oaks and Spanish moss set the scene for a relaxing and potentially even romantic evening stroll at the end of the day.
Where to Stay in Darien
Whether you’re making Darien an overnight stop or not, a great way to support the local economy is to stay local.
Campground: Inland Harbor RV Park
Address: 13566 GA-251, Darien, GA 31305
About the Park: The park sits near exit 49 off I-95. It has easy access to the beaches of Jekyll Island and St. Simons Island. Enjoy a bit of southern hospitality while overlooking the Altamaha River Basin. The park has 50 paved pull-through sites and 10 back-in sites, all with full hookups and cable TV. All sites are big-rig friendly and offer access to laundry facilities. Weekly and monthly rates are available. Two guests cost $40 per day.
Reasons to Love It: When you choose to stay at Inland Harbor RV Park, you’re supporting a locally owned business. You’re investing your dollars back into a southern Georgia community. You’ll have easy access to beautiful locations like St. Simons and Jekyll Island. There are opportunities for fishing, boating, golfing, and visiting the numerous historic sites Darien offers.
A Day in Darien
The city of Darien is a great place to shift into a lower gear and relax. Time will slow down as you take in the sites and sounds of this waterfront city. It’s easy to get immersed in the rich history. Is Darien on your list of places to see the next time you’re in Southern Georgia?
Don’t Miss Out: Continue your travels south down the coast of Georgia and spend a day in St. Mary’s with more waterfront views!