Holiday & Beaches
Take a Step Back in Time on Jekyll Island
There is a little island just off the coast of Georgia called Jekyll Island that turned out to be a total hidden gem on our way down the Atlantic coast. After doing some research on places to visit in Georgia, we kept coming across the Golden Isles. If that doesn’t sound nice, I don’t know what does. We were intrigued and looked more into it.
We found there are 4 islands that make up the Golden Isles: St. Simons, Little St. Simons, Jekyll Island, and Sea Island. We really liked what we saw regarding Jekyll Island, so we booked a trip to see it for ourselves.
Driving onto the island you cross over the Intracoastal Waterway as you enter the island. You are now setting foot where some of the richest families in the U.S. holidayed. Families like the Rockefellers, the Vanderbilts, and the Morgans, just to name a few.
This island started as a hunting club where those elite families went on holiday and took business partners to close deals. Why take a prospective business partner to Jekyll Island you ask? Well, back then, there was no road on or off the island, so the partner was stuck there until the deal was done.
Today, the island still has all of that history preserved with a splash of modern amenities.
You have quite a few options of where to stay when visiting Jekyll Island. You can opt for the old fashioned charm of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, complete with croquet, horseback riding, and tennis. There is also the Holiday Inn Resort which has beautiful Oceanside rooms as well as an outdoor restaurant and bar. The Westin, which is absolutely beautiful, is another beachfront hotel located near the entrance of the island.
During our visit, we drove our motorhome onto the island and stayed at the campground. It was beautifully surrounded by mature oaks that provided plenty of cool shade. We also found plenty to keep us busy on the island. There is shopping at the Jekyll Island Beach Village, a world class golf facility at the Jekyll Island Golf Club which features four 18 hole courses, visiting the historic district, and of course, spending some time on their beaches.
The island is also known for its bike trails that total more than 20 miles and go up and down the entire island.
Our favourite trail was one that actually went on a beach for several miles. It is Driftwood Beach at the very north end of the island. The sand is packed so firmly, it is more like concrete and a great open space to ride your bike next to the ocean. If you weren’t able to bring your bike, don’t worry! There is a bike rental shop in the middle of the island that can get you squared away.
Driftwood Beach is also unique in that it has a small forest of dead trees that have formed into some of the most interesting stumps. It can be a bit creepy looking, but they’re so much fun to climb on! In the centre of the island is the Great Dunes Beach. This is a more classic style beach with soft sand and plenty of room to splash around in the ocean or just relax.
At the southernmost tip of the island is St. Andrews Beach. Here you’ll find a spot the locals love to visit tucked behind some of the trees. After parking in the lot, you’ll see a dirt trail on the north end of the lot. Take that trail a couple hundred yards and you’ll find a huge rope swing tied up in a tree. We had a blast taking turns on the giant swing!
In the summer, there is a water park on the island called Summer Waves Water Park. It has several large slides, a giant wave pool and a lazy river. This would be a great way to beat the summer heat of Georgia. If you’re looking for some of the old charm the island has to offer, visit the historic district. Here you can take a guided trolley tour and check out some of the beautiful homes that belonged to some of America’s richest families.
Near the historic district is another gem, The Georgia Sea Turtle Center. Here you’ll be able to learn more about how the doctors rehabilitate injured or ill sea turtles. Check their website because they do regular turtle releases where you’ll be able to witness first hand rehabilitated sea turtles being released back into their natural home. It is really a special thing to see!
For being a relatively small island, Jekyll Island has so much to offer. From modern-day luxury to old fashioned charm and elegance, you’ll fall in love with the island in no time.