The smallest of the group of Georgia’s barrier islands but that doesn’t stop it being a cool and popular place to visit for both locals and foreigners. With over 10 miles of beach it is a great holiday destination for those who want to relax and enjoy the sunshine. The top tourist attractions in Jekyll Island are found within the historic district which dates back the infamous Jekyll Island Club days.
10. Outdoor activities
From playing golf at award winning golf courses to horseback riding along the beach. Outdoor activities are the main tourist attractions where the weather is pleasant year-round. Biking is also popular way to get around and explore the natural beauty of the area. Over 20 miles of bike trails can be taken to discover the parks. Horseback riding is great fun for all of the family but is especially romantic along the beach at sunset. For golf lovers there are four courses to choose from, three of which are stunning championship courses.
9. Great Dunes Beach Park
A beautiful beach which is perfect for relaxing and enjoying the gorgeous scenery. There’s a boardwalk that leads across the dunes to the sandy shore area. Plenty of parking, well maintained restrooms, changing and shower facilities make it the best beach to visit here for lounging and swimming. A covered deck and picnic areas with grills mean it is a favourite place for weekend picnics for holiday makers. Bike rentals can be found across the street for those visitors who want to explore further afield. Great Dunes is also used by the local centre to release rehabilitated turtles.
8. Faith chapel
An early colonial meeting house and a gothic style structure which was completed for 1904. The chapel is a multi-denominational wooden church which was built for club members to worship during their stays here. A highlight is the ‘Adoration of the Christ Child’ stained glass window situated behind the altar at the east end of the chapel. At the west end is a signed work of Louis Comfort Tiffany dedicated to the clubs fourth president Frederick Gilbert Bourne. The Faith chapel is located in central historic district next to Cherokee Cottage.
7. Horton house ruins
The remains of an 18th century plantation house which today is designated as a historic site. The house is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Georgia. It was initially burned down during the Spanish raids in 1742 before being rebuilt by the family of Poulin and Bignon after the American Revolution where the plantation continued to operate. Acquired by the club in 1886 the house has fallen into disrepair throughout time. The site is now maintained by the Jekyll Island Historic District. Plaques and markers guide and educate visitors to the ruins. Entrance to the area is free to visitors.
6. Boat tours
The most popular boat tours are the dolphin tours where guests are taken around the waterways in hope of seeing the local dolphins up close. Seeing the creatures in their natural habitat are an item on many bucket lists. Fishing enthusiasts can book coastal expeditions for both deep sea, inshore or tarpon fishing. For the adventurous Kayak trips exploring the marsh offers the opportunity to experience the marshland wildlife and birds. As well as these specific tours the marina offers many services, relaxing trips and sailing tours. Plenty of ways to enjoy the water whatever the budget or preference.
5. Summer waves water park
One of the best fun filled places to visit in Jekyll Island. Great for family and friends alike the water park offers the relaxing Turtle Creek Lazy river, thrills and spills in Pirates Passage and wave riding at the Frantic Atlantic. In total there are seven attractions and four slide complexes one with a drop of 40-feet. Plenty to keep everyone busy all day. Picnic areas can be enjoyed when having a break from the water. General admission costs $19.5 and children under 3 enter for free, locker rentals are from $10. Open from the end of May until September, opening times vary.
4. The Historic district
The historic district was once a notorious playground for the Islands club members, the country’s wealthiest people of that time. It is sometimes called the millionaires village due to extravagant cottages built by club members. In 1947 the club era was well and truly over and the whole place was purchased by the state of Georgia. Many of these cottages are now open to the public to explore. The museum offers tram tours of this historic landmark district every day, other tours include trolley and ghost tours starting from $10 per person.
3. Jekyll Island Museum
Described as the Gateway to the Gilded Era this museum explores the varied history of the Island. Prior to its current popular holiday destination status, the area was the exclusive place for the Jekyll Island Club. A winter retreat for some of Americas most prestigious families, the richest most exclusive club in the world at its time. Exhibits feature heritage collections of objects and photographs. There are also special events such as Colonial club era living history experiences, craft workshops and festive themed parties. The museum is free to enter and is open daily from 9am to 5pm.
2. Georgia Sea Turtle Centre
A rehabilitation research and education facility for marine life, located within an historic old power plant building. Visitors can experience hands-on exhibits, learn about the coastal ecosystem and see the sea turtle operations. A great opportunity to visit these beautiful marine creatures and in the top things to do in Jekyll Island. During the summer nesting season in June and July the centre leads nightly turtle walks and hatching walks at dawn in August a few times a week. Admission costs $7 for adults $5 for children and kids under 3 enter for free. Opening times are 9am to 5pm every day.
1. Driftwood Beach
Sometimes described as the gothic tree graveyard, this beach is full of beautiful driftwood and makes a great place for some amazing photographs. This part of the island is slowly eroding away leaving the trees exposed. It is also a very popular place for wedding due to the alluring scenery whatever the season. The beach is close to the main campground and spans from Clan Creek Picnic area to villas by the sea resort. Beach access is along North Beachview drive and parking is at designated areas along the road.
Visitors to Jekyll Island must purchase a valid parking pass that can be bought at the Pay in Lane System upon arrival. This allows access to many areas including beaches, landmarks, nature trails and fishing piers. A one-day pass costs $6 and is valid for 24hrs, multi-day passes are also available. As well as driving here flights to the airport here are best connected from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta.