Jekyll Island is a barrier island located off the coast of Georgia, USA. It is one of the Golden Isles, a group of islands that also includes St. Simons Island, Sea Island, and Little St. Simons Island. The island spans 5,700 acres, with about 1,500 of those acres being a designated historic district.
- History of the island
- What to do at Jekyll Island?
- Jekyll Island Museum
- Horton House
- Georgia Sea Turtle Center
- Jekyll Island Dolphin Tours
- Jekyll Island Golf Club
- Fishing & boating
- Best Jekyll Island beaches
- Great Dunes Park
- Saint Andrew Beach
- Driftwood Beach
- Can you swim at Driftwood Beach Jekyll?
Known for its beautiful beaches, lush maritime forests, and diverse wildlife, the island has become a popular destination for tourists seeking relaxation and outdoor activities.
History of the island
Jekyll Island has played a significant role in American history, dating back to the indigenous peoples who first inhabited the land. Over time, it has seen European settlement, a plantation era fueled by slave labor, and the establishment of the exclusive Jekyll Island Club, which attracted some of the wealthiest families in the United States, such as the Rockefellers, Morgans, and Vanderbilts.
In 1910, the island was the site of the secret meeting that led to the creation of the Federal Reserve System. Today, the island is a Georgia state park, showcasing its rich history and natural beauty to visitors from around the world.
What to do at Jekyll Island?
Jekyll Island is a treasure trove of activities and attractions that are sure to delight travelers of all ages. With its unique blend of nature, history, and recreation, this coastal gem offers countless ways to create unforgettable memories.
Jekyll Island Museum
Dive into the island’s rich history at Mosaic, the Jekyll Island Museum. Wander through exhibits that weave together tales of the island’s past, from Native American settlements to the illustrious Jekyll Island Club. Immerse yourself in the stories that have shaped this enchanting destination.
Step back in time as you explore the hauntingly beautiful ruins of Horton House, a tabby structure dating back to the 18th century. Once the home of Major William Horton, a key figure in the early development of Georgia, this historic site whispers secrets of days gone by.
Georgia Sea Turtle Center
Get up close and personal with these magnificent marine creatures at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. This state-of-the-art facility not only rehabilitates injured sea turtles but also educates visitors about the importance of conservation efforts. Participate in interactive exhibits, and witness the incredible work being done to protect these gentle giants.
Jekyll Island Dolphin Tours
Embark on an exhilarating adventure with Jekyll Island Dolphin Tours. Glide through the sparkling waters as you marvel at playful dolphins frolicking in their natural habitat. Soak up the beauty of the Golden Isles while learning about the fascinating marine life that calls this region home.
Jekyll Island Golf Club
Tee off at the Jekyll Island Golf Club, where lush greens and stunning scenery create a golfer’s paradise. With three 18-hole courses and a 9-hole course, golfers of all skill levels can enjoy a challenging and picturesque round.
Fishing & boating
Cast a line into the azure waters surrounding the island, as you indulge in some leisurely fishing. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice, the island’s fishing piers and charter services offer ample opportunities to reel in a prize catch. If you prefer to take in the scenery, rent a kayak or a paddleboard, and glide through the serene marshlands.
Summer Waves Water Park Make a splash at Summer Waves Water Park, where thrilling rides and refreshing pools offer endless fun under the sun. From adrenaline-pumping water slides to the lazy river’s calming currents, this family-friendly attraction has something for everyone.
Best Jekyll Island beaches
The island is a beach lover’s paradise, where the sun-kissed shores beckon with their unique charm and picturesque landscapes. Among the many sandy stretches that grace this coastal gem, three beaches stand out for their distinct allure: Great Dunes Park, Saint Andrew Beach, and Driftwood Beach.
Each of these breathtaking beaches offers visitors a different experience, with a variety of facilities and breathtaking scenery to explore.
Great Dunes Park
Great Dunes Park, nestled in the heart of the island, is an oasis of golden sands and rolling dunes. This family-friendly beach boasts a plethora of amenities, including picnic pavilions, grills, a playground, and restrooms.
The beach’s central location makes it an ideal spot for visitors to enjoy a day of swimming, sunbathing, and building sandcastles, all while being just a stone’s throw away from local shops and restaurants.
Saint Andrew Beach
Saint Andrew Beach, located on the island’s southeastern shore, is a tranquil haven where nature lovers can immerse themselves in the beauty of the coastal environment. With its pristine sands and gentle surf, this beach is perfect for relaxing strolls and quiet contemplation.
An observation deck offers a prime vantage point for wildlife watching, as the beach is a popular spot for migratory birds and even the occasional dolphin sighting.
Driftwood Beach, the crown jewel of the island’s coastline, is a hauntingly beautiful stretch of shoreline that seems to defy the passage of time. The beach is adorned with a mesmerizing array of sun-bleached driftwood and skeletal trees, sculpted by nature into a surreal landscape of twisted limbs and gnarled roots. This otherworldly scene has earned Driftwood Beach the distinction of being one of the most photographed beaches on the Georgia coast.
The allure of Driftwood Beach goes beyond its stunning visuals; it is a testament to the relentless power of nature and the delicate balance of coastal ecosystems. This unique landscape serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of environmental conservation, as the forces of erosion and shifting sands continually reshape the beach’s striking tableau.
Can you swim at Driftwood Beach Jekyll?
While Driftwood Beach is an unforgettable sight to behold, it is essential to note that the beach’s terrain and strong currents can make swimming in its waters challenging and potentially dangerous. Visitors are advised to exercise caution and be mindful of their safety when venturing near the water’s edge.
Where to stay at Jekyll Island?
The island offers a diverse range of accommodations to suit every traveler’s taste and budget. From charming hotels to beachfront resorts and serene campgrounds, there’s a perfect lodging option waiting for you on this idyllic island.
Hotels and Resorts
- Jekyll Island Club Resort: This historic and luxurious resort, once a playground for America’s wealthiest families, now welcomes guests with its elegant rooms, modern amenities, and unparalleled charm. Enjoy fine dining, a private beach club, and a variety of recreational activities.
- The Westin Jekyll Island: Experience modern comfort and convenience at this upscale beachfront hotel. The Westin offers well-appointed rooms and suites, oceanfront dining, and easy access to nearby attractions, including the Jekyll Island Convention Center.
- Hampton Inn & Suites Jekyll Island: This family-friendly hotel boasts comfortable accommodations, a heated outdoor pool, and a complimentary hot breakfast. Its convenient location makes it an ideal base for exploring the island’s beaches, parks, and historic landmarks.
- Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham Jekyll Island: This budget-friendly option offers comfortable rooms, two outdoor pools, and easy access to the beach, making it an excellent choice for travelers seeking affordable lodging on Jekyll Island.
Jekyll Island Campground
For those who prefer a more rustic and immersive experience, the island Campground provides an excellent opportunity to connect with nature. Nestled among maritime forests and marshes, this campground offers a tranquil setting for visitors.
- Location: The campground is located on the north end of the island, just a short walk or bike ride from Driftwood Beach and the Clam Creek Picnic Area.
- Facilities: The campground offers a range of facilities to cater to different camping preferences. There are 206 campsites available, including tent sites, RV sites with full hookups, and trailer sites with partial hookups. Amenities include restrooms, hot showers, laundry facilities, a general store, a picnic pavilion, a playground, and free Wi-Fi.
There are many beachfront hotels and vacation rentals to choose from on the island. If you’re looking for a luxurious getaway, consider staying at one of the island’s beachfront resorts. The Westin Jekyll Island is a popular choice, offering stunning ocean views and direct access to the beach. For something a bit more intimate, The club resort is a historic property that has been beautifully restored.
For those traveling on a budget, there are plenty of options as well. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Jekyll Island is a great choice for families, offering spacious rooms and an outdoor pool. For travelers who prefer to be closer to nature, there are several campgrounds located on the island.
Jekyll Island Campground
Jekyll Island Campground is the perfect place to set up camp for a fun-filled family vacation. Located in the heart of the island, the campground offers easy access to all of the island’s attractions.
The campground features a variety of campsites to choose from, each with its own unique amenities. There are full hookup sites available for RVs, as well as tent sites and cabins. The campground also has a swimming pool, laundry facilities, and a playground.
Entrance fee to Driftwood Beach and Jekyll Island
There is no separate entrance fee for Driftwood Beach; however, there is a daily parking fee for the island. The daily parking fee was $8 per vehicle, but prices may have changed, so it is advisable to check the the island website or contact them for the most up-to-date information. The parking fee grants you access to the entire island, including its beaches, parks, and other attractions.
How to get to Jekyll Island
The island is a captivating destination located off the coast of Georgia, USA. Reaching this coastal paradise is relatively simple, with a variety of transportation options available to suit every traveler’s needs.
Location: The island is situated approximately halfway between Savannah, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida, making it easily accessible from several nearby cities. The island is about 93 miles south of Savannah and 75 miles north of Jacksonville.
- By Car: The most common way to reach is by car. From Interstate 95, take Exit 29 and head east on US-17/US-82. After about 7 miles, turn right onto the Downing Musgrove Causeway (GA-520), which will take you directly to the island.
- By Air: The closest airports to the island are Brunswick Golden Isles Airport (BQK), Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV), and Jacksonville International Airport (JAX). From these airports, you can rent a car or arrange for shuttle services to take you to the island.
Brunswick Golden Isles Airport (BQK) is the nearest airport, approximately 20 miles from the island. It offers limited commercial flights, primarily through Delta Connection.
Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) is about 75 miles away and offers a wider selection of flights and airlines.
Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) is about 75 miles south of the island and provides an even broader range of flights and carriers.
- By Shuttle: Some hotels and resorts offer shuttle services for their guests from nearby airports. It’s a good idea to check with your accommodation to see if this service is available.
Once you’ve arrived on the island, there are several ways to get around and explore the island’s natural beauty and attractions. Many visitors choose to rent bicycles to navigate the island’s extensive network of bike trails. You can also rent golf carts or use your car to explore the island at your own pace.
There’s no shortage of things to do on Jekyll Island, Georgia. From exploring the island’s history to playing on its beautiful beaches, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of things to do on this perfect island.