Downing Musgrove Causeway
The nine mile stretch of road connecting GA State Highway 17 to Jekyll Island is the Downing Musgrove Causeway, also known as the Jekyll Island Causeway. Two small ponds flank the first part on the causeway, each displaying a Jekyll Island sign. The road then goes between two Spanish-styled towers before running straight east and creating your gateway to Jekyll Island. To either side of the road you will see saltwater marsh, often with egrets, roseate spoonbills, and hawks hunting for a meal. There are several turn-offs that provide views of the marsh and the Sidney Lanier Bridge. Jekyll Sandpiper renters who appreciate nature will not get tired of driving the causeway. On your next drive you might see Kingfishers, a Bald Eagle, rabbits or a flock of ibis.
The saltwater marsh is home to the Diamondback Terapin. This turtle mates from May through July, and during this time the females are on the move, looking for a partner. So they often cross the Jekyll Causeway. Please be watchful. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center often has its patrol van out looking for opportunities to help a turtle cross the road. If you see a turtle and want to help, move it to the side of the road it faces. Should you find an injured turtle, please notify the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.
You will reach a toll booth and Welcome Center before crossing the Jekyll Island causeway bridge to the island. The Welcome Center has literature about visiting Jekyll, a small gift shop, and a bird-watching tower behind the center’s building. If you want to visit the Welcome Center, you can turn left into its parking lot just before going through the toll area. The toll costs cars $6 daily or $28 weekly for entry onto the island. A daily pass lets you come and go that same day without an extra charge. So you might only want to get the weekly pass if you plan to go on and off the island five or more times during your stay. The automated toll booth takes both cash and credit cards and operates 24 hours a day.
About a mile after the toll booths, you will cross the Jekyll River by crossing the M. E. Thompson bridge. The Jekyll River is a portion of the Inter-Coastal Waterway. Do remember to slow down once you cross onto the island. The speed limit is 25 miles per hour just over the bridge.
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