I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
February 2, 2021
Nothing sets the tone for a Broadway musical like a captivating opening number. And if the same holds true for beach towns, then Jekyll Island may very well be the Hamilton of them all.
Maybe that’s a strange analogy, but it’s exactly what comes to mind when I think about seeing Jekyll Island for the first time. There are no high-rise condominiums or tacky souvenir shops as you approach the island — only sky, water birds, and an endless sea of shimmering, golden-green marsh grass. Driving down the causeway with the windows down, inhaling the warm, salty air, is like hearing the opening bars of what will become your favorite symphony. It’s like a hug from your grandmother. It is relief, in its most elemental form. You’ve arrived. The miles are behind you. And this is only the beginning.
Owned by the state of Georgia since 1947, Jekyll Island remains largely undeveloped, with miles of pristine beaches, unspoiled marshland, and thick forests laden with live oaks and magnolias — all accessible to the public. Add to that a Rockefeller and Vanderbilt-filled history that reads like a Bridgerton script (their mansions and clubhouse still stand!) and charming and affordable lodging options and you have everything it takes for a vacation to remember.
Thousands of years ago, Jekyll Island was a camping ground for Native American hunter-gatherers, who’d stop here periodically to take advantage of the island’s natural resources. It wasn’t until the 1500s that the Guale Indians took up permanent residence on the island. Archaeological evidence shows they’d had some contact with Europeans by the 1600s, when the Spanish were busy building missions along Georgia’s coast. By the 1700s, the British had arrived and established the colony of Georgia. In 1734, Georgia’s founder, James Oglethorpe, named the island after his friend, investor Sir Joseph Jekyll.
William Horton was the first European to permanently settle on the island. In 1748, he built a house here that still stands today. After Horton’s death, the island changed hands a few times before being bought by the du Bignon family — They lived on Jekyll from 1790 until 1886 and used slaves to farm the land. In the late 1800s, the family sold the island to a group of millionaire capitalists who formed the Jekyll Island Club, and that’s when things started getting Masterpiece Theatre-worthy.
Called “the richest, the most exclusive, the most inaccessible club in the world” by Munsey’s Magazine, the Jekyll Island Club quickly attracted the nation’s wealthiest men and women, including Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, and Pulitzers. Families opted to either stay in the sumptuous clubhouse or build mansions of their own — which they referred to as ‘cottages’ — nearby. Due to the elite status of its vacationers, the clubhouse was the site of several history-making moments — Jekyll Island Club members listened in on the first trans-continental phone call between Woodrow Wilson in Washington and Alexander Graham Bell in New York City, and members also conducted a series of secret meetings at the clubhouse that led to the formation of the Federal Reserve.
While the club flourished through the 1920s, The Great Depression and World War II both took their toll on Jekyll Island. The final death knell came when the island was evacuated during WWII since residents were thought to be in danger of attack from enemy submarines off the coast. Many families never returned, the homes and clubhouse fell into disrepair, and in 1948, the state of Georgia bought the island and turned it into a state park. The clubhouse was renovated in 1985 and reopened to guests as a hotel in 1987. It’s a unique place to stay and perfect for history buffs, but it’s certainly not your only lodging option on the island.
For several years now, my travel bucket list has included a stay at the Jekyll Island Club Resort. You can opt to stay either inside the opulent Clubhouse, pictured above, or choose from one of three historic ‘cottages’ that have been turned into guest houses. Note that you will not be staying on the ocean side of the island, but instead on the side that borders the East River — The appeal of lodging here is the immersive experience of spending a few nights in another time and place, and being within easy walking distance of almost all of the island’s historic structures. For a real treat, consider staying here during one of the hotel’s signature events, which include murder mystery weekends, special holiday events, and big band dinner and dancing weekends. Dinner and dancing at the Jekyll Island Clubhouse? Hold my petticoats — I’m coming out!
Beach lovers will find plenty of hotels to choose from just a few minutes’ drive from the island’s entrance, where a cluster of hotels, restaurants, shops, and a large convention center mark the most developed part of the island. Oceanfront hotels include the higher-end Westin Jekyll Island (the clear favorite of all the island’s chain hotels) and the Jekyll Ocean Club, as well as more budget-friendly hotels like Days Inn, Holiday Inn, and Home2Suites. All of these hotels get high marks from former guests.
We like a little more space during our family beach trips, so we ended up renting a house at The Cottages at Jekyll Island. I instantly fell in love with this small community of townhomes on the island’s northeastern coast. The majority of homeowners at The Cottages don’t offer their homes as rentals, and it shows — The homes are immaculate and beautifully decorated, the landscaping is gorgeous, and the whole place has a neighborly feel that was a welcome change from the tourist-filled properties we usually end up in.
Our home was airy, spacious, and chic. It had three bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, a well-stocked kitchen, and huge screened-in porches upstairs and downstairs. A spare room contained two bicycles and all the equipment we needed (umbrella, chairs, rolling cart, ice chest, etc.) for a day at the beach. That stuff typically takes up a lot of room in the car and we were happy we didn’t have to bring it with us. The community pool was lovely and never crowded. We agreed it was easily the nicest beach house we’ve ever rented — In fact, it was so pleasant that spending time inside or out on the porches reading was a big part of our vacation.
One important thing to know about this neighborhood — Although we were a stone’s throw from the water, erosion on this side of the island has created a need for a rock wall bordering the shore line. You can walk on the beach above the wall and take stairs from three entrance points along the wall down to the water, but you’re basically stepping right into the waves bordered by giant boulders — not a good spot to lose your balance when a big wave rolls in. When we wanted to swim in the ocean, we opted to drive a couple of minutes down the road — or bike on the bike path– to one of the two AMAZING public beach access points just a few minutes away. I could still see the ocean from our windows and walk out to look at it any time I liked, so I didn’t mind!
PRO TIP: I found the house we wanted to rent, then did a little research and discovered it was listed on airBnB, VRBO, and the management company for The Cottages — The rate was by far the best on the management company’s own site. It was $500 more for the week on airBnB and $1,000 more on VRBO. That’s quite a difference! I’ve often found local rental company’s rates to be far lower than what I find for the same listing on other sites, so just keep this little tidbit in mind if you’re looking for a house rental.
Looking for a more rustic experience? On the north side of the island, the Jekyll Island Campground includes 18 lush wooded acres with 206 campsites suitable for tents or RV hook-up. My friends who are ardent campers love this particular campground, which also has free wi-fi, a bird sanctuary that’s beloved by photographers, a full-service general store, and bike rentals. Want the camping experience without buying an RV or setting up a tent? Rent a camper from Coastal Camper Rentals — They can deliver the camper to the campground and set it up for you!
One thing you should know right off the bat is that if you’re the kind of person who goes to the beach only to lie in the sand and stare at the surf all day, Jekyll Island may not be the spot for you. This is a destination for people who like to DO ALL OF THE THINGS, as you’re about to see for yourself.
But first, yes! Let’s talk about the beaches! They are lovely, however because of nearby swamps and marshes, the ocean water is typically brown here and unless there’s been ‘some weather,’ the waves are extremely gentle. Don’t let this deter you — The beaches and ocean are beautiful and while we didn’t catch any waves, we did spend a lot of time lolling around on floats in the peaceful waters.
Although there are lots of public beach access points on the island, Jekyll Island’s remoteness, lack of development, and $8 dollar entrance toll all help keep the beaches blissfully uncrowded. Even on a pandemic summer weekend, we found plenty of space to spread out at the more popular beaches, as well as places to go for total beach privacy if we wanted it.
Great Dunes Beach Park is the island’s largest and most populated beach, since it’s closest to both the hotels and Jekyll Island’s entrance. This beach has ample parking and a 20-acre park that includes picnic pavilions, play areas, bocce ball and volleyball courts, restrooms, and showers. Be sure and enter the beach on the left side of the parking lot, where the boardwalk path takes you down some stairs and into a tunnel of dense, scrubby trees before emerging onto the beach. It’s a very cool experience.
Another thing that made this beach stand out to me was a sandbar that extended from the shore way, way out into the water. My husband and son walked all the way to the edge of it at low tide and looked like tiny dots in the ocean — and the water was still only up to their calves!
If Great Dunes has too many people for your liking, head right down the road to Oceanview Beach Park. This beach is just as lovely as Great Dunes and it also has restrooms, showers, picnic pavilions, and plenty of parking. I would probably head to this beach first because it’s always going to be less crowded than Great Dunes next door.
Driftwood Beach has got to be one of the greatest places for pictures in the United States — It’s a truly unique landscape you won’t see anywhere else and it’s one of the most popular places on the island. Originally a forest, the northern end of the island has slowly eroded over time, washing the soil away and leaving behind the trees that once grew in that soil. Now, these massive, gnarled trees and ancient driftwood rest on a beach that resembles a dinosaur boneyard. It’s an otherwordly sight, and it’s particularly beautiful at sunset.
On our first night at Jekyll Island, my husband and I took a nighttime stroll down the beach outside our home. We discovered a hidden path that took us through sand dunes and dense foliage and ended on Driftwood Beach. Seeing this beach lit by a full moon was a magical, unforgettable experience. If you’re staying on the island at night and the moon is bright, I highly recommend a night visit here.
St. Andrews Beach Park makes for a wonderful ‘secret beach’ for those looking for a private beach experience. Located at the southernmost tip of Jekyll Island, its remote location far from the island entrance makes it possible to find a stretch of sand with absolutely no one else on it! We found the beach in front of the observation tower to be a delightful sunbathing spot with almost total privacy. Dolphins are often spotted in the surf here, so be sure to bring your binoculars!
Glory Beach is also far from the madding crowd, largely because the madding crowd typically can’t find it! The boardwalk to the beach is located next to the soccer complex on the south end of the island. It’s a beautiful beach with undisturbed sea oats and sand dunes, and it’s where portions of the hit movie Glory were filmed — hence the beach’s name.
Here’s the Glory Beach boardwalk. I wasn’t kidding. It’s not the easiest beach to find!
If you can ride a bike at all, you’re going to want to rent bikes or bring your own when you visit Jekyll Island. The bike trails are one of the main reasons I’d recommend a vacation here. They. Are. Spectacular. AND FLAT!! Jekyll has 25 miles of paved bike trails that wind through breathtaking marshes, past historic sites, along the shore, and through maritime forests. You can ride your bike to the beach or to a restaurant, and the island is so small that you can get pretty much anywhere by bicycle that you’d want to go. We loved riding bikes at sunset over the summer and are planning a return trip in spring or fall just so that we can ride our bikes all day long! Find a list of Jekyll Island’s bike rental options here. We rented our extra bikes (our cottage was equipped with two bikes) from Beachside Bike Rentals. Be sure to pick up a map of the trails when you rent your bikes or print out a Jekyll Island bike map ahead of time.
Jekyll Island has lots of fantastic and fairly easy hiking trails that’ll allow you to see its diverse plant and animal life up close. Strike out on your own or sign up for a guided hike if you can — We’re always on the hunt for guided hike options during our vacations because we learn so much more about our surroundings when we have an expert to lead us. Here are some of the island’s most popular options:
The Wanderer Memory Trail is a must-do during your Jekyll Island visit, particularly if you have children. This interpretive walking trail tells the story of the Wanderer, America’s last-known slave ship, which illegally came ashore on Jekyll Island in 1858 with nearly 500 Africans crammed inside. With the help of the island’s du Bignon family, the Africans were brought ashore and sold into slavery across the south. You’ll experience this terrible moment in American history through the eyes of a young African boy, with exhibits along the trail that recall this tragic story in a number of creative and immersive ways. Want to read more about The Wanderer before your visit? This magazine article is excellent.
Getting to Jekyll Island’s secluded Shark Tooth Beach involves a two-mile out and back hike, but if you’re lucky, you can find sharks’ teeth here as well as the occasional Megalodon tooth and even shards of prehistoric Native American pottery! Since the trail is long and has very little shade, you’ll definitely want to take this hike on a cooler or cloudy day. You’ll also want to time your arrival to coincide with low tide, according to the very informative Jekyll Island Family Adventures blog — The treasures you’re seeking are most likely to be found in a muddy strip of beach that’s only exposed when the tide is low.
We actually tried to hike this trail during our last visit and couldn’t find it! Luckily, the Friends of Jekyll Island Georgia Facebook group has given me specific instructions for our next visit. Coming from the island’s entrance, head past the Summer Waves water park entrance, then keep an eye out for the gate pictured above on the right side of the road. There’s space for a few cars to pull off and park here as well. There’s no official sign for the trail, so keep your eyes peeled for this gate instead. WEAR STURDY SHOES if you’re planning to hike this trail. There are tiny prickly burrs along the way and sharp oyster shells on the shore. I happened to step on one of those burrs while wearing sandals on a beach trail last year and THE PAIN. OMG. NO. I don’t want that for you, friend.
We did venture down an unpaved walking trail located behind the historic Horton House and it was absolutely gorgeous. This particular trail takes you to Horton Pond, which is home to at least eight alligators! This pond is also the location for Jekyll Island’s Gatorology program — More about that below.
Nature lovers will get an eyeful during a stroll on the South Loop Trail, a heavily forested trail which you can access by parking at Camp Jekyll and heading to the trail’s entrance right across the street. This trail includes a viewing platform that’s perfect for watching and photographing wildlife — Bring your binoculars and a camera if you have one!
Guided Nature Walks. Guided walks vary according to the season — Jekyll Island’s own park ranger leads guided hikes year-round. Check out the Jekyll Island Ranger Walk page to see what’s being offered during your visit and make a reservation. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center offers guided hikes to see loggerhead sea turtle nests between June and August — This is a tour you won’t want to miss if you’re visiting during the summertime. Call 912-635-4444 for hike dates/times and to reserve your spot. And the Tidelands Nature Center has three guided hikes each week between March and October. Choose from walks to North Tip and Driftwood Beach, South Tip and Beach Creek, or the South Dunes Picnic Area.
PRO TIP: Jekyll Island has many more unpaved walking trails than most people realize! It’s hard to find information about them online, but they’re all well marked on Google Maps — Look for the dotted lines to find them — and to keep from getting lost while you’re on them!
Guided kayak tours have become one of my family’s absolute favorite things to do when we’re on a beach trip — From wild boar running in the woods on the banks beside us to baby dolphins leaping in the water right before our eyes to tiny islands filled with thousands of claw-waving fiddler crabs, I’ve seen enough unforgettable sights in a kayak to make it a must-do on our beach town itineraries. Fortunately, Jekyll Island has some great options for kayakers. On a Jekyll Island tour, expect to see fiddler crabs, water birds, and dolphins, as well as the occasional bald eagle and manatee!
Turtle Tides Jekyll gets rave reviews from customers and offers two-hour guided kayak tours, two-hour stand-up paddleboard tours, and 2 ½ hour shark tooth hunting tours, as well as single/tandem kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals for those who’d rather strike out on their own. The Tidelands Nature Center also offers a two-hour kayak tour through the salt marshes Tuesdays through Sundays. Single and tandem kayaks are available. You can also rent a canoe at Tidelands and take it out on the nearby Tidelands pond.
What’s more Instagrammable than a sunset horseback ride on the beach? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. On Jekyll Island, Three Oaks Farm totally has that bucket list item covered. They offer a variety of guided group and private riding options -including the sunset beach ride- that take riders on trails through maritime forest and out onto Driftwood Beach. Looking for something a little more unique? Three Oaks Farm also offers a one-hour moonlight beach ride that has me hyperventilating with anticipation just thinking about it.
Lucky you, Georgia’s only sea turtle education and rehabilitation facility is located on Jekyll Island. At the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, you can learn all about loggerhead sea turtles and actually see them being rehabilitated so that they can be returned to their natural habitat. I’m especially intrigued by the Center’s experiences, which include riding with either the dawn or night patrol turtle biologist (this activity is temporarily suspended due to COVID), guided after-hours turtle center tours, and turtle walks at dawn or at night. Other special events are offered at the center throughout the year — Check the Georgia Sea Turtle Center events page for details.
As we’ve discussed, Jekyll Island’s amazing history is a big part of what makes this island so special, and nowhere is this more evident than at the Jekyll Island Club. I felt like I had arrived on the set of Somewhere in Time when we drove up to the Clubhouse for the first time over the summer. Men in full period costume were playing croquet on the lawn and I had to fight back a strong urge to grab a parasol and twirl it fetchingly.
My husband and I spent a couple of hours here strolling down the avenues surrounding the clubhouse, picking up fantastic souvenirs in the charming surrounding shops, and reading about the historic cottages that line the streets surrounding the clubhouse. It was easy to imagine we had returned to the days of the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers who once vacationed here.
If you love a guided history tour as much as I do, you’ll be thrilled to know that there are lots to choose from here, year-round. Tours include a 1-hour trolley tour, which offers a good overview of Jekyll Island’s history, four historic cottage tours, a tour of Faith Chapel, and a unique tour called In the Service of Others, exploring the lives of the people who worked behind the scenes at the Jekyll Island Club.
Feeling decadent? Consider a guided tour in a horse-drawn carriage! Three Oaks Farm offers both daytime and evening carriage tours that depart from the Jekyll Island Club Hotel — My favorite option is their tour that includes Victorian afternoon tea in the Clubhouse dining room. I mean, if you’re gonna go, go big… right? Note: This is a BYOC (bring your own corset) event. (Right now, Victorian teas are suspended because of COVID. Let’s hope that changes soon!)
You’ll find Jekyll Island’s very own museum, Mosaic, in the Jekyll Island Club’s historic stable building. This recently-renovated museum includes in-depth, interactive exhibits showcasing the island’s natural, cultural, and social history. It’s open daily from 9am to 5pm and it’s a great place to start if you want to learn more about Jekyll Island’s rich and diverse past.
There are plenty of fun shopping options on Jekyll Island. Most shops are located at Beach Village, near the island’s entrance. You’ll find the large and very well-stocked Maxwell’s General Store here as well as the gourmet grocery store Jekyll Market, which also offers beer, wine, and frozen cocktails – a very nice option on a hot summer day! Jekyll Market is also home to the Love Shack, which serves up barbecue and fried shrimp that both get raves from vacationers. Beach Village also has boutiques and gift shops including Caroline’s Gifts and Flowers, Life is Good, the Whittle Gift Shop, and the Snappy Turtle.
My favorite shops, though, can be found in the Historic District. Housed in charming historic structures surrounding the Jekyll Island Cubhouse, these sweet little gift shops are filled with unique souvenirs, art, crafts, and home goods, and due to their more remote location, they’re rarely very busy. Remember When offers vintage-style Jekyll Island souvenirs your teens in particular will love. The Island House is located inside a 100-year-old house that was once home to the Clubhouse’s butlers and chauffers. Today, it’s filled with jewelry, local art, music, mermaids, shells and turtles galore. Just By Hand is Jekyll Island’s only all-handcrafted gift gallery. Once the general store for island residents, today The Commissary offers unique gourmet food gifts, cookbooks, and Christmas ornaments. Located inside the historic Goodyear Cottage, the Goodyear Shop features art from members of the Jekyll Island Arts Association.
Gift shops also can be found inside the Jekyll Island Museum, the Jekyll Island Club hotel, and the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.
Horton Pond is where the gators are on Jekyll Island (around eight alligators are currently residing there) and you can learn all about them at the popular Gatorology program, offered on a dock overlooking the pond twice a week between April and September. You’ll find out about the American alligator’s history, biology, and conservation and learn how alligators are monitored on the island. Get your tickets ahead of time here.
You’ll want to make a quick stop at Horton House while you’re on the island — Built in 1743 by British military aide William Horton, it’s made of tabby (shells mixed with sand, water and ash) and still surprisingly sturdy. Nearby, you’ll find the du Bignon family cemetery — They owned the island from 1790 until 1886. Visiting the house and cemetery and then taking the nearby walking trail (mentioned above as a hiking option) to the alligator-filled Horton Pond would make for a fun little outing.
Jekyll Island is known for its golf courses, which include three 18-hole courses and a historic 9-hole course that’s a favorite with many. Great Dunes is a 9-hole course designed in 1926 by Walter “Old Man” Travis, a noted course designer who was hired by Jekyll Island’s wealthy families to create ‘the best course that money can buy.’ Indian Mounds is Jekyll Island’s shortest 18-hole course and shows off the island’s beautiful forest. The Oleander 18-hole course is considered to be Jekyll’s most difficult. And the Pine Lakes 18-hole course was designed with family-friendly tee boxes so that both adults and younger players can enjoy it.
Your kids will approve of the fact that Jekyll Island boasts its very own water park. When we drove by on a recent summer day, it was not at all crowded, and that’s really all it takes for me to give any water park a thumbs-up. Summer Waves has several water slides, a wave pool, a lazy river, and a kids’ play area. It’s just a few minutes from your door no matter where you’re staying on the island and a fun way to spend the day with children or teens. Reviewers give this water park high marks, saying it’s small but clean, fun for all ages, and the food and admission prices ($20 per person, kids 3 and under are free) are very reasonable. Visitors are advised to buy tickets in advance, since the park will stop admitting guests when it reaches capacity.
On a recent beach trip, we had the opportunity to charter a boat and get a private tour of the area catered to our family’s interests. It was AMAZING and worth every penny — We saw lots of dolphins, held (stingless) jellyfish, fed raccoons, and went shelling on an undeveloped island at sunset. Our guide knew exactly where to go to give us the most bang for our buck and we’ll never forget it.
Jekyll Island has its own highly-rated version of the chartered boat experience with Coastal Expeditions. Captain Eric Moody will take you and up to five others to search for dolphins, do some deep sea fishing, or just sightsee around the area — You get to choose your itinerary based on your interests. Previous customers rhapsodize about their chartered expeditions and report seeing plenty of dolphins, alligators, wild hogs, wild horses, and manatees and catching lots of fish as well as sharks and stingrays.
Jekyll Island is small and so there aren’t a ton of restaurants on the island itself. Keep in mind that Brunswick and St. Simons Island have many more restaurant options and both are just a short drive away. However, sometimes you just want to keep it local — Here are a few of our Jekyll Island favorites.
Ask a local where to eat on Jekyll Island and you’ll hear Zachry’s Riverhouse over and over. Reviewers love the cream-based crab stew, the signature shrimp salad sandwich, the crab cakes, and blackened wild Georgia shrimp, but folks say you really can’t go wrong with what you order, because everything here is great!
Located inside The Villas by the Sea Resort, Driftwood Bistro bills itself as serving Southern Cuisine with a twist. Wild Georgia shrimp is a staple here — Locals say it’s the best shrimp around because it feeds off the area’s sugar cane family marsh grasses. Favorite dishes include OG’s Fried Okra, Lynn’s Squash Casserole, and Augusta’s Bread Pudding — all treasured family recipes from the restaurant’s owners and staff.
A local favorite for its breakfast in particular, the tiny (only 12 seats!) Sunrise Grille also serves up plenty of casual lunch and dinner options, including burgers and fries, fried coastal shrimp, quesadillas, lowcountry boil, and more.
For a view to remember and fantastic food to boot, opt for The Wharf, located on the Jekyll Island Historic District Pier. Sit outside at sunset and sip on a Jalapeno Margarita while listening to live music and feasting on peel-and-eat coastal shrimp or a delicious crabcake BLT. What?! Did someone say CRABCAKE BLT?! I’M IN. Reservations are recommended.
You’re on vacation — Why not treat yo self? On Jekyll Island, The Grand Dining Room is definitely the place to do it. Located inside the historic Jekyll Island Club hotel, this AAA Four Diamond-rated restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Victorian tea. Reviewers compare the experience to eating in the dining room of the Titanic at the turn of the last century and say both the ambience and the food are fantastic. Call ahead for reservations and ask about the dress code before you go.
*Do note that due to COVID, the Grand Dining Room is currently open only for special event dinners and breakfast on Saturday and Sunday.
There’s lots we love about Jekyll Island, including the fact that there are lots of things to do within easy driving distance of Jekyll. We love taking daytrips while on our beach vacations, especially on rainy days, so this is a big plus in our book.
St. Simons Island and the historic port city of Brunswick, Georgia are both just a half-hour’s drive from Jekyll Island. Here, you’ll find museums, great restaurants, lots of cool shops, hiking and biking trails, and more.
You can take a ferry from nearby St. Mary’s, GA to Cumberland Island. Once owned by the Carnegie family, it’s now owned by the National Park Service and has miles of undeveloped beach, a herd of feral horses, the remains of an Industrial Era estate, and guided tours. You’re encouraged to bring bikes on the ferry if you have them — They’re a great way to get around the island. Ferry space is limited and reservations are encouraged.
*Note: Guided tours of Cumberland Island are currently on hiatus due to COVID. Check the NPS website to find out when they will be offered again.
Savannah, Georgia is just an hour and a half drive from Jekyll Island and it’s well worth a day trip if you have the time. Here are some of our favorite things to do there.
The Okefenokee Swamp has been on my bucket list since I was a kid and it’s less than an hour and a half from Jekyll Island. Visit the Okefenokee Swamp Park (a paid, privately-owned attraction, FYI) or book a guided tour with Okefenokee Adventures for the experience of a lifetime.
Are you ready now to head straight to Jekyll Island? Good! You should be! I promise you, it will be the vacation of a lifetime! We’re already planning a return trip, hopefully in the spring or fall, so that we can spend the day riding our bikes all over the island.
For more great ideas and resources, check out these sites:
Golden Isles Georgia The official site for Jekyll Island and the Golden Isles.
Jekyll Island Family Adventures -Yes, the layout is simple, but this woman knows what she’s talking about and has tons of insider information!
Friends of Jekyll Island, Georgia Facebook Group – 33,000 members strong, this group can answer ALL your Jekyll Island questions!
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This looks like so much fun for an anniversary get away. My husband and I are trying to plan a 25th anniversary vacation. We were starting to look at The FL Keys, but this looks just as fun and beautiful and closer!
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