Start your visit here, on the mainland near the Sapelo Island ferry docks. Check out the exhibits on the island's history, culture, and ecology before purchasing tickets for a round-trip ferry ride and bus tour of the island. The sights that make up the bus tour vary depending on the day of the week, but always included are the marsh, the sand-dune ecosystem, and the wildlife management area. On Friday and Saturday the tour includes the 80-foot-tall Sapelo Lighthouse,
built in 1820, a symbol of the cotton and lumber industry once based out of Darien, a prominent shipping center of the time. To see the island's Reynolds Mansion schedule your tour for Wednesday. To get to the Visitor Center and Meridian Ferry Dock from downtown Darien, go north on Route 99 for 8 mi, following signs for the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve. Turn right onto Landing Road at the Elm Grove Baptist Church in Meridian. The visitor center is about ½ mi down the road.