Jekyll Island’s 63 holes of golf make for a great location for golf tournaments. And they’re not just for adults. One of the 18-hole courses, Pine Lakes, provides an even playing ground for adults and younger players, one of the few courses in the country to do so.
A Water Park with a View
A water park surrounded by trees and salt water marsh, Summer Waves offers a view of the Jekyll River and more salt water marsh beyond. Fun for all ages. Your entire family will enjoy a day cooling off at this attraction.
Fun with the Kids
Jekyll Island is a place where families feel especially welcome. Many adults return to Jekyll with their own kids because of the fond memories they have of childhood vacations on the island. If you are a kid, the beach, with its waves and sand, is the first thing that will call to you. So grab the chairs, boogie board, and sandcastle tools and head down to the beach.
Seining refers to a method of fishing. Imagine a 4 foot by 20 foot net, attached to poles on either end. The bottom edge is weighted so that it sits just above the ground. Two people each take a pole and pull the net through the water, catching fish, shrimp, crabs, and other ocean animals in the process. People have used this method of fishing for thousands of years. The length of the nets varies, and you can also seine using boats.
Turtle Tides Jekyll Rentals & Tours is offering a day camp filled with outdoor activities for children this summer. The day includes a chance to learn several of the outdoor activities that Turtle Tides operates. Camp is limited to six kids, ages 6-17. It is a fun-packed day, but campers will also learn about Georgia’s coast and ecosystem. Being on the water that surrounds Jekyll provides a wonderful sense of the beauty our saltwater marshes and animals provide. You are sure to see many of the area’s birds, such as a brown pelican or an oyster catcher.
Jekyll’s Tidelands Nature Center offers day camps to youths aged 8 – 12. They hold programs Monday to Thursday from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM during the third weeks in June and July. So for 2018, that is June 18th – 21st and July 16th – 19th. Each day of the week has a different focus, and participants can choose to attend one or all of the programs. The cost is $45 / day, with a $20 discount if you sign up for four days. Thursday, however, costs $12 more to cover the cost of a boat trip.
Tidelands is one of the Jekyll organizations that offers summer programs. It is a nature center where Jekyll Sandpiper visitors can go to learn about the diverse nature of the island. Their facility packs in opportunities to see and sometimes touch live shells, horseshoe crabs, fish, and turtles. The center sits next to a saltwater pond and is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM – 4:00 AM, and Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM, at a cost of $5 / person.
Summer Camp Registration
Registration for four types of camps on Jekyll Island, Georgia opened in late February. Participants can choose from Time Travelers Camp, Sea Turtle Camp, Golf Camp, and Tennis Camp. Although each summer camp has its own specific focus, they do have common aspects, such as a visit to Summer Waves Water Park and a daily lunch. The camps run Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 2 PM, leaving campers time to enjoy other aspects of the island during their own time. Jekyll Sandpiper Vacation renters may want to signup for camp slots taking place during their summer stays.
Camp Jekyll is a 25+ acre facility on southeastern Jekyll Island. While the Jekyll Island Authority owns the property, the Georgia 4-H organization handles all its programming, reservations, and day-to-day operations. The campus includes 13 buildings and the adjacent soccer complex. Since the Authority almost completely rebuilt the complex starting in May 2014 and dedicated it in December 2016, it is practically brand new. The camp sleeps 256 guests and includes a volleyball count, basketball court, and a dune crossover to the beach.
Camp Jekyll is one of six Georgia 4-H camp sites in the state. Camp Cloverleaf 2018 is a one-week experience for youths who have completed fifth or six grade. The County Extension Offices handle registration, and each county has a given week and camp location at one of the six 4-H sites during a six week period of the summer. See this link for information about your county.
The Georgia 4-H program also offers youth organizations of many types the opportunity use Camp Jekyll’s facilities. Schools, scouting, sporting and community groups can host meetings and recreational events. The 4-H program sponsors many environmental education programs. So organizations can offer their members such topics as Beach Ecology, Maritime Forest Ecology, Salt Marsh Ecology and Shark or Fish Di-section. Click this link for contact information.
In addition to Camp Cloverleaf and other Jekyll Island summer camps, you can find many Jekyll Island events held throughout the year. Click here to see some others.
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Easter Egg Extravaganza
Spring is a great time for those 12 & under to visit Jekyll Island. Come enjoy the annual Easter Egg Stroll, an event featuring an Easter Egg Hunt and an Easter Bonnet Parade. There will be prizes for most creative bonnet, best use of recycled materials, and the most Jekyll Island spirit. And egg hunters aged 3 and under will have a separate area.
Jekyll Sandpiper Vacation renters can enjoy live music playing throughout the event. Children can also enjoy visits with the Easter Bunny, a Petting Zoo andCarriage Rides. Food will be offered by Fuze Frozen Yougurt and Famous Funnel Cakes.
Date: March 24, 2018
Time: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Location: National Historic Landmark District
Planning for 2019? This event will likely take place on Saturday, April 13th in 2019.
Interested in other Jekyll Island Special Events? Click here.
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What could be more romantic than a moonlit horseback ride along the beach? And you can do just that courtesy of Three Oaks Farm. Head to the north end of Jekyll Island and turn onto Camp Creek Road, just across from the campground. Very shortly you’ll come to the Three Oaks horse paddock staging area on your left. Once you’re outfitted and ready to go, you’ll ride into the marsh just east of the road and head for the beach for an hour or more of fun. When you reach the water, you’ll probably see the St. Simons Lighthouse blinking its warning to the north. If it’s still light enough, you might see pelicans flying by or diving for fish. If you’re lucky, you might even see dolphins swimming in the ocean.
If you’re planning a beach vacation, access to miniature golf might not be the top item on your list. But it’s a great activity for kids and adults alike to add to your vacation enjoyment. Both the miniature golf and playground are always filled with smiling people. One day after spending time on the beach or just before dinner, head down the street for an hour of fun.
Horton Pond – Alligator Mecca
Across Beachview from the entrance to the Villas lies the access road to Horton Pond. A short walk takes you to the wheelchair-accessible viewing stand, from which you’ll almost certainly see turtles. Multiple varieties of turtles swim throughout the pond, including the larger Florida Softshell Turtles, the largest softshell turtles in North America. And you can frequently see turtles sunning themselves on the man-made platform in the middle of the pond. If you’re lucky, you might also see an alligator or two lying on the platform or swimming slowly through the pond. Although the reptiles and fish are the pond’s main attractions, you might see such birds as Roseate Spoonbills, Pied-Billed Grebes, Belted Kingfishers, or herons. While you might feel an urge to throw food to the animals, that’s not a good idea.
The Jekyll Island Tennis Center is a public facility with 13 clay courts. Totally updated in early 2017, the courts are in great condition. They sit outdoors, surrounded by moss-covered oak trees. For visitors, court costs are $24 / hour. The facility also hosts clinics and private lessons. The pro shop will even rent you a tennis racquet if you left yours at home.
Sea Turtle Center
At the Turtle Center, it is all about the turtles. You can find one of the most impressive sights just inside the gift store. You will see a replica of Archelon, a skeleton of a pre-historic extinct sea turtle, hanging from the ceiling. She makes an impressive sight. When Archelons roamed the earth, these turtles would have weighed in at over 11,000 pounds with a length over 16 feet.
The center is an active working turtle hospital, with two distinct public sections. The first is an interactive museum, with information about Georgia’s sea turtles and the challenges they face. The second area holds tanks of recovering turtles. The turtle feeding includes a very informative talk about turtles currently at the center, so note the time of the next feeding (typically 10 AM, 11 AM, 3 PM, and 4 PM). If you are close to a feeding time, head to the turtle pavilion before you tour the museum section.
Frank Goodyear, a lumber baron, built the Goodyear Cottage in 1906. The Italian-styled home was restored in 1973. Today it houses the Jekyll Island Arts Association. Goodyear is the only mansion in The Historic District that is open for free every day. Its hours are Monday – Friday noon to 4 PM and Saturday and Sunday 10 AM to 4 PM. The home is set up as an art gallery, with items created by local and visiting artists. You will find paintings and photography of structures and nature local to Jekyll Island, as well as examples of sculpture, pottery, weaving and other forms of art. Many of the displayed works are for sale.
We spent a week on Jekyll this summer visiting my parents and my sister’s family. Two boys attended Turtle Camp at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. Here are some of our day-to-day activities.
Great beach day. Sunny skies with a few white fluffy clouds. Waves are the right size for us to use boogie boards, with folks using paddle boards just a little further out, while the pelicans are diving for lunch.
Those dots are our kites. Great day too fly them, with the breeze blowing of the water they lifted into the air right out of our hands.