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The first time I entered the St. Simons Inlet, I was greeted by the shipwrecked Golden Ray lying on her side. The Roll On Roll Off (RORO) car carrier capsized in 2019. At over 600 feet in length, she was a formidable marker laying the muddy shallows. Over the following three years, each stop in the St. Simons area was like a stop-action movie, seeing her hulk being sawn apart into sections as she was slowly taken away for scrap.

The scary testament to the interaction between man and the sea could not dissuade us as we sailed up the channel under the Sidney Lanier Bridge, nearly 17 nautical miles from the sea buoy to a southern inland destination. Tucked into a long channel, we find ourselves at Brunswick Landing Marina

Relatively far inland, Brunswick Landing Marina is considered by many to be a hurricane hole. In the last four years, we have weathered four hurricanes that were near misses here. North, east, and west produce conditions with nearly no fetch, and to the south, slips deep inside the marina offer good protection. The Gulf Stream sucks hurricanes out to its warmer water, and a consistent offshore breeze provides the much-vaunted Brunswick Bubble.

Storm surge and other conditions are absorbed by the marshlands, which brings up one of the negatives about anywhere in the southern United States: mosquitoes. If you travel south, you will find mosquitoes and no-see-ums (gnats) that can drive you into an itchy mess.

Regardless of mosquitoes, the facilities at Brunswick Landing Marina are excellent, with a dedicated live-aboard and vibrant cruising community. For the hurricane season, this is the furthest south location most insurance companies seem to allow (check your policy to be sure).

It is a common stopover point for many migrating north and south each year, with a vibrant town and significant events that are always a party. The waterfront area is the central point for farmers’ markets and sea-faring events. Movies and attractions flow through the area almost weekly, if not at least monthly.

We enjoy the dedicated and enclosed dog park as we travel with the aging boat dog Hazel. An excellent addition is a dedicated place to let the dog run without worry. Numerous picnic areas, fire pits, and reserved barbecue grills for marina patrons are on every dock.

For those interested, the marina hosts a wine and beer happy hour in the Yacht Club. All marina patrons are welcome, and it is an excellent place to hear some sea stories and discover hidden gems along the route. Four times a year, the marina hosts an oyster roast for patrons. The general American holiday schedule is also celebrated and supported by the marina, with typical holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, July 4th, and other American holidays celebrated at the Yacht Club. Daily activities, from games to exercise programs like Yoga, can be found in the Yacht Club too. Many were supported by the marina, some just because patrons were interested.

Brunswick, Georgia, has a long history as a center of marine and ocean activities. With thriving southern hospitality, it is small-town Americana. The Marina across the railroad tracks from the old main street gives access to a resurgent downtown area with an authentic southern charm. On the first Friday of every month, the streets are closed for five or six blocks of crafts and food vendors. A local car show. Music on the street. The events are usually themed with whatever the next holiday on the calendar looks like. The town will also close off the streets for the American obsession of Halloween have trunk-and-treat so families park along the street with the kid’s going car to car to get candy. Where was this when I was a kid?

The costs of Brunswick Landing Marina can be found on their website, but this is the least expensive full-facility marina we know of on the southern east coast. They have won numerous awards. There are cheaper marinas, but they don’t come with the primary and secondary benefits of Brunswick Landing. The marina has a full-service yard and a small, busy, and reasonably skilled marine trades community built up around the various marinas in the area. The marina has a fuel dock, pump-out facilities, and most general things you’d expect from a modern floating dock facility.

Like many other cruising hot spots, you have a diverse clientele in the marinas. The marina has an active Facebook cruising community that plans activities, car trips, and grocery runs, and provides vendor suggestions. Finding new restaurants opening or cruisers arriving via the community presence is a fun way to coordinate with friends. 

We have spent two full hurricane seasons at Brunswick Landing Marina and have made several north-south bound stops in previous years. We must credit Michael Torras, who revitalized this gem in the Southeast.

A few miles off the Atlantic Inter-Costal Waterway, with easy access to the ocean. With no bridge clearance issues for most modern vessels, and a vibrant community, we give Brunswick Landing Marina a Velcro rating of 5 out of 5.

You will like this place while you’re here and want to return to it as your travels bring you through the area. 

By Sam Liles

Sam started as a boat kid in the 1960s, cruising nearly full-time with his parents until he left for the military in the 1980s. Sam has been an author, captain, cop, executive, marine, motorcyclist, professor, soldier, spy, and vagabonde. He is back to his favorite title cruiser for the last 6 years, traveling the USA East Coast and the Bahamas.

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