Sandpiper Cottage has three thermostats: in the upstairs family room, the upstairs hallway, and the downstairs family room. Since they’re touch screen units, they might look a little confusing without the standard buttons. But they’re actually very simple to use. Each thermostat normally shows the current indoor temperature in the center. Below that number, it shows the outdoor temperature, as reported by the weather service over the internet. Since the weather service reports the temperature from the Brunswick airport, the actual temperature outside Sandpiper may vary by a few degrees.
A keyless entry, or smart lock, is a lock with a keypad. You can unlock it by entering a code instead of using a key. At Jekyll Sandpiper, we use such a lock for the deadbolt on the front door. You can give your access code to all members of your party. It also allows for flexible arrival times at the initial check-in. We will email or text you your personal entry code prior to your stay.
Green Sea Turtle
But I’m brown not green! What’s up with that? In fact, in the Pacific region, people call them Black Sea Turtles. But it turns out that Green Sea turtles eat green algae and sea grass. This diet turns their fat and muscles green, giving them their more common name. Notice that each of the varieties of sea turtles has a different diet, allowing them to more easily co-exist in the same habitat. The Loggerhead Sea Turtle, for example, has a hard beak that it uses to crush crabs, clams, and other crustaceans. With a smaller head, the Green Sea Turtle could not easily eat crustaceans. But its serrated jaw is the perfect tool for its vegetarian meals.
Have you had enough of crowded beaches and wall-to-wall people? USA Today highlights Jekyll Island as Georgia’s Best Hidden Gem. And you don’t have to travel far south to reach it. Located halfway between Savannah and Jacksonville, Jekyll Island is The Nearest Faraway Place.
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.
Faith Chapel History
In 1904 the Jekyll Island Club members built Faith Chapel as a non-denominational church to replace the small Union Chapel. Although it had a strong Episcopalian influence, it was open to members of all faiths. Since the Club required that their members attend church service every Sunday, they needed a suitably larger facility. Busy or otherwise unavailable members, however, could send servants in their stead. In addition to being part of the Jekyll Island National Historic Landmark, in 1971 the church joined the National Register of Historic Places.
Jekyll Island Sea Turtles
The Loggerhead, Green, Leatherback, Hawksbill, and Kemp’s Ridley: the sea turtles of Jekyll Island. Catching a view of one of these is the chance of a lifetime. Even seeing their tracks in the sand or their empty egg shells on the beach is an exciting glimpse into the lives of these wonderful creatures. Our Jekyll Sandpiper visitors can search for turtle nests, visit the Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC), or view a sea turtle release. Sea turtle exploration and conservation should go together, so always remember these are protected animals on our island.
Georgia Florida Football
Do you like Georgia Florida football? Because the Georgia Bulldogs will play against the Florida Gators on Saturday, October 27th at 3:30 PM. Per a long-standing tradition, the city of Jacksonville will host the two teams. Georgia fans will flock to the coast, and they have Georgia on their minds. So many prefer to stay on Jekyll Island and St. Simons Island for the weekend. The turnoff for Jekyll on I-95 is only 29 miles from the Florida state line. That makes travel down to Jacksonville for the game quite doable. There are even buses that make the trip a bit easier. It’s a great option for avoiding the crowded parking lots. And it allows everyone to have a drink without the worry of the drive home.
Restaurant Recommendations on Jekyll
We have a list of area restaurants and a growing set of reviews. But we also want to highlight our favorites. We currently have four go-to restaurants on the island. It is not that we don’t try other places, but we find ourselves eating most often at these establishments.
Convention Center Logistics
The new Jekyll Island Convention Center opened in 2012 and handles groups as big as 6900 and as small as a 100. We hope your company or organization was smart enough to book a conference at the beach. The property sits on the oceanfront, with the Beach Village to its south and the Great Dunes Park to the north. It’s very easy to get to. Just cross the causeway onto the island and stay straight until the road ends at a traffic circle. Then loop around the circle to make a left turn, and the Convention Center is immediately there on your right. The Beach Village provides easy access to a quick bite before your convention starts and there are several lunch choices, such as the Wee Pub Beach.
Some of our best gatherings have been group vacations. Why not meet up with a few friends and head to Jekyll Island. Enjoy a weekend of adult companionship with good friends and family. We will tell you about the best bars and restaurants on the island. Jekyll has spots for those group photo shots and enough activities to keep everyone fully engaged for many weekends. Just imagine a weekend focused on adults or perhaps a family gathering that focuses on the older children. A chance to replenish those inner resources, as you escape your every day work life.
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.
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.
Golden Isles Ships
The port of Brunswick is just west of Jekyll Island. Ships follow a channel along the Brunswick River between the northern tip of Jekyll Island and St. Simons Island. Then they continue under the Sidney Lanier Bridge to reach one of the docking areas. Large car carriers are one of the most common ships coming into port. They seem to sit up above the water even when the are fully loaded. When Jekyll Sandpiper renters cross the Sidney Lanier Bridge going to Brunswick, they might look to the left (west) to see two or three of these ships docked while cars are unloaded.
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.
Top predators on Jekyll Island are alligators, rattlesnakes and bobcats, according to a Jekyll Island Authority (JIA) presentation. JIA staff made the case to the Jekyll Island Citizens Association for understanding and welcoming predators on the island. Four habitats, forest, marsh, dunes, and ponds, are homes to Jekyll’s predators. Because they needs multiple habitats, these animals often move among them in search of food. And the habitats on the southern end of the island are growing.
Water Aerobics Class
Summer Waves will again offer Water Aerobics during June and July. Classes are on Tuesday and Thursday mornings in their wave pool. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday you can attend “Walk the River.” No need to sign up. Just meet at Summer Waves from 8:30 – 9:30 A.M. The cost is $5 per day or $50 a month, and the activity is open to both Jekyll residents and Jekyll visitors.
The Maurice family built Hollybourne in 1890, making it one of the first privately-owned homes of the Club era. And the Maurices were the last family to leave, after having lost their home to the state. Charles Stewart Maurice was a bridge builder, so he incorporated some bridge-building techniques in the house. Unique for the era, Hollybourne has very large rooms on the ground floor without columns. Instead, the construction uses trusses. Traditional tabby uses a combination of lime, water, sand, ash, and oyster shells. The lime comes from burning oyster shells. Maurice modified the traditional tabby formula with the then new Portland cement to make it stronger. But he wound up weakening the house by leaving the tabby wooden forms in the walls, which caused rot.
High Definition Televisions
Sandpiper has four flat screen, high definition televisions. The upstairs family room has a 65″ TV, and the screened-in porch has a 58″ one. There are smaller flat screen TV’s in both the downstairs family room and the bunk room.
For our Spring 2018 updates to Sandpiper, we focused on two ideas: better grilling for visitors and less sand for our housekeeper. Our biggest project was to create a patio area under the balcony on the east side of the house. The balcony above it protects this area from the rain, and it stays fairly dry even during thunder showers. Many guests already figured out that it is a good area for grilling. Now the barbecue grill team has a relatively sand-free area, with chairs and a gas grill addition to the existing charcoal grill. We hope you enjoy cooking those burgers, brats, and hot dogs for your friends and family.
Turtle experiences, such as a turtle release on Jekyll Island, create lasting, happy, joyful memories. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC) is an active hospital with a primary goal of treating turtles and releasing them back into the wild. An injured turtle might be cold-stunned from the Atlantic coastal waters, a boat may have hit it, or it might have so many barnacles covering it that it can no longer move. Visit the Turtle Center to see these animals recovering. You can view turtle surgeries, attend turtle feedings, or watch the turtles swimming in their temporary homes.
Tideland Nature Center provides guided kayaking tours of the local marshes. Tours depart from the Jekyll boat ramp, which is located on the west side of the island near the nature center. Prior to departure, the tour guides fit participants with life jackets. They also provide basic information about how to use a kayak. On a recent trip they made a stop at Shark Tooth Beach, but other groups choose to spend more time paddling through the salt water marsh. Jekyll Sandpiper renters will have the chance to see such shore birds as the pelican or egret. You might view thousands of fiddler crabs or see dolphins swimming nearby.
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.
Although it’s not uncommon to encounter turtle nests on the island, baby turtle hatchings are a rare sight. The southern end of Jekyll Island provides a remote and protected stretch of beach where sea turtles lay eggs every year. A walk from St. Andrews Picnic Area toward the sunken shrimp boat provides a glimpse of many sights of nature. Here you can see nests that have been marked and roped off by Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC) patrols.
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.
The Jekyll Island Arts Association holds its annual arts festival every year in early March. This free three-day event attracts over 3000 visitors and 400 association members to Jekyll island. The festival takes place at Goodyear Cottage in the Historic district, where it spills out onto the the mansion’s lawn.
Sandpipers are a number of species in the large family of shore birds known scientifically as Scolopacidae. Since different species of sandpipers can have different bill lengths, they don’t tend to compete for the same food. So they can coexist in the same areas. Nerve receptors in the tips of their bills let many sandpipers find their prey through touch, odor, and pressure changes and gives them the ability to hunt at night. You can frequently find them at the water’s edge, pecking for a meal.
The following are some species of sandpipers that are common to Jekyll Island.
Fast Food and Ice Cream
Jekyll’s only fast food restaurant is especially popular during lunch hours. Like other Dairy Queens;, you can purchase ice cream treats as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner menu items. The restaurant itself does not have outdoor seating, but the island has a small picnic area within steps of the location.
We love our collies and know that many people are just as attached to their dogs, so we’re thankful that Jekyll is such a dog-friendly island. Bringing your dog to the beach can be tremendous fun. Jekyll Island is a Georgia state park, and the entire island is state-owned. Many Georgia state parks, including Jekyll, are pet-friendly! Leashed dogs are welcome on most Jekyll beaches, but some remote areas where birds and turtles are being especially protected prohibit them.
Tours in the Historic District
A Historic District tour is a great way to envision the island during the height of its millionaire club past. Tours include going inside several select cottages. Narrators give participants a feel for the day-to-day operations of the island during the Jekyll Club Era. From January to March, the millionaires of the country dined and relaxed together in an environment where they were “roughing it.” And their conversations often impacted the direction of the country.
Events on Jekyll Island
Jekyll is a gathering place for families, friends, and groups, making it a perfect place to plan events. Many destination weddings occur on the island every year, while others gather to celebrate a special birthday or anniversary.
Such unions and reunions are all the more special when guests are surrounded by the natural beauty of our saltwater marshes, beaches, and waterways. Specially planned activities such as Historic District tours, Dolphin Tours, and restaurant outings can help your event create lasting memories for everyone involved.
March is an especially beautiful time of year on Jekyll Island when it comes to blooming. The March flowers, from spreads of bright-colored azaleas to pinkish white Cherokee Roses, provide a cacophony of color.
Georgia adopted the Rosa Laevigata, also know as the Cherokee Rose, as the state flower in 1916. It is believed the Native America tribe of Cherokee distributed plant cuttings that originated in China. The Cherokee legend about about the rose says that the mothers cried at their forced removal from the their homelands. Then this beautiful rose grew where the tears fell. You can find the rose along the path called the Trail of Tears, the route the Cherokee followed from Georgia to Oklahoma.
Safety – Modern Infrastructure
We completed a major remodeling and updating of Jekyll Sandpiper in March, 2017. You may not see many of the safety-related changes, but they’re there! The electrical system, including all the wiring and circuit breakers, is completely new. The three AC units and the two tankless hot water heaters are also new. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, hard-wired with battery backup, protect the rooms. They are networked together, so you will hear an alert anywhere in the house. The roof is also completely new. The Glynn County building inspector checked out and approved all the changes.
Service was very good at this casual surf-and-turf restaurant. The wood paneling on the walls had a sense of driftwood, and other nautical touches gave the restaurant a pleasant atmosphere. Outdoor seating on a porch that wraps the building would have been more appealing on a bit warmer day. We saw a few groups outside with their dogs, so the outdoor seating is definitely pet-friendly. The high ceilings and lively sounds provide a place where kids would feel comfortable, without disturbing others.
Hair styling and haircuts call for a personal touch, and here are options for hairdressers that Jekyll residents recommend. Jekyll Sandpiper renters who are preparing for an extra special day might want to try a place before hand. Kim, at Cuts by Us does a great job of cutting my hair, which I keep very short.
Michelangelo’s has by far the most reviews across Facebook, Google, and Yelp. So if you do not have a chance to preview a place, Michelangelo’s might be your best bet.
On trips to Europe we’ve often seen dogs in public spaces, and Americans are increasingly including their pets on outings. Georgia State Parks are often dog-friendly, and many Jekyll Sandpiper renters bring their to dogs to share the family vacation. But please inquiry with us first as some restrictions apply. Dogs are welcome on most island beaches when leashed, and several island restaurants welcome pets in their outdoor seating areas. If this will be a new experience for your dog, we recommend first trying an outing during a quite period of the day.
Now that you’ve chosen Jekyll Island for your wedding or anniversary, you might be looking for a cake. Since Jekyll Island is a very popular destination wedding site, you can find services to meet all your needs, either on the island or nearby.
Jekyll Sandpiper renters can find delicious sweets and baked goods on the island, but you’ll want to include Brunswick when you look for your cake. In order to minimize your off-island trips, view the cakes on the bakeries’ websites and place your order over the phone.
Some churches on the island share space. The Methodist church, for example, shares its building with Catholic and Episcopal congregations.
While the Jekyll Island churches have local congregations, they are used to serving the many visitors to the island. So don’t be shy about attending your preferred service. Jekyll Sandpiper renters will find all the churches are on the west side of the island.
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.
#jekyll #jekyllisland #jekyllsandpiper #summercamp
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.
#jekyllisland #jekyllsandpiper #easteregghunt #jekyll
Cycling in the Oaks
Whether riding beneath the Spanish Moss-draped oaks, peddling alongside the sandy beach, or pulling up to Horton Pond to try to catch a glimpse of an alligator, you'll find plenty of natural beauty as you tour the island. Cycling is a great way to see the island's sights while you get some exercise. If you can manage it, bring along your cell phone or other camera. It's easy to stop and snap a photo of heron feeding in the marsh, a beautiful sunset, or whatever strikes your fancy.
Every January and February the Jekyll Island Authority hosts Island Treasures. They hide glass globes in public places all over the island. So my sister and I spent a day searching. What a great way for us and our Jekyll Sandpiper Vacation Renters to explore the island. And one of many Jekyll Island events you can find throughout the year.
The Jekyll Island Vistor’s center suggests hunting at St. Andrew’s Beach, the Historic District and the Mini Golf area. The JIA hides new globes early every day, so starting your search in the morning might be a good strategy. However we know many globes are not even found the day they are hidden.
#jekyllisland #jekyllsandpiper #glassglobes #treasurehunt
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.
For the past four years, we have used three of the big name vacation rental advertising sites as our way to connect with vacationers for Sandpiper on Jekyll Island. This is our 6 bedroom / 5 baths beach house. These sites offer the convenience of seeing a variety of choices, and you used to be able to use the biggest such site for free.
Last year a well-known travel company bought that site, and now it’s hard to avoid a service fee without booking directly with a vacation home owner. These fees can be significant. Even if the vacation homeowner pays the listing site a subscription fee, the site will charge the renter a minimum service fee of 4% – 8% of the rental. Otherwise, the fee can currently be as high as 13%, depending on the site. “Service Fee” sounds somewhat better than “Booking Commission,” but it’s simply a fee the site charges the renter for using its services.
Four Golf Courses
The Jekyll Island Golf Club is your key to booking tee times for any of the four courses on the island. Choose one of three 18-hole courses or the historic 9-hole course. The richest families in the nation built the 9-hole Great Dunes course during the Club era. Walter Travis, a famous golf architect involved in 50 courses, designed and built the course in 1926. The beautiful Georgia coastal woodlands surround all the courses, with only the occasional glimpse of a distant house. As you walk or drive the courses, you may see egrets, wood storks, or a bald eagle around the ponds.
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.
Captain Griffin – A Charter Fishing Option
On a crisp December morning, we headed out to fish with Captain Griffin. He meet us with his boat at the public boat launch behind the 4-H Nature Center. His boat is a great size for two to four fishermen and comes set up with rods. We headed through Jekyll Sound and across open water to Little Cumberland Island, where we fished off shore for redfish and trout. Along the way we viewed dolphins and many shore birds, including a group of white pelicans. The more common brown pelicans also made their presence known as they dive-bombed for breakfast.
Please treat Jekyll Sandpiper cottage with respect, so that we can continue to provide outstanding accommodations to our family and yours. Below is a summary of our rules, please refer to our rental agreement for more details. We cannot cover every situation, so we ask that you act reasonably even if the specific situation is not covered below or in our rental agreement. Please contact us if you are in doubt.
- All events, that will require rented equipment or additional guests on premises, must have prior approval.
- Guest limits must be maintained! No extra, off the street, or unexpected guests.
- All rented equipment must be removed by check-out.
- Noise ordinances observed. Quiet time is between 10 pm and 7 am.
- House rules apply to all guests. Any damages are the responsibility of the renter.
- Only 20 persons may stay the night. Guests beyond the rental party must secure separate lodgings.
- No camping or RVs allowed.
- No parking on the lawn or opposite side of the street. Tickets will be issued by the county and damage to the yard and will be the renter’s responsibility.
- Any violation of the rental agreement could result in the loss of security deposit, eviction, or both. All guest are subject to the rental agreement which specifies addition limitations such as no smoking, use of house equipment, etc.
- Remember this is a residential neighborhood. Children and families live nearby. If there is suspected underage drinking, public intoxication, public indecency, drug use, excessive noise or other illegal activity, the Glynn County Sheriff’s Department will be called and you could be arrested or evicted.
The Fishing Pier – One of Many Fishing Options
Jekyll has many fishing options, including dockside, shoreside, charter boat, and seining. You can often see fishermen at The Pier on the northern tip of the island, in the surf all along Jekyll’s beaches, and even fishing around the island’s salt-water pond. This article features dockside fishing at Jekyll Island’s north-end pier, adjacent to the Clam Creek Picnic Area.
The Wharf – Shrimp, Songs, and Sunsets
A new restaurant in an old location. The Club Hotel took over the management of this restaurant, which reopened in the Fall of 2017 after remodeling. It has a new name and a totally revamped menu. The Wharf sits on the pier near the Club, with spectacular views of the intracoastal waterway and the saltwater marshes beyond. Wonderful at sunset. Watch the birds or an occasional boat as it sails down the Jekyll River. You can select window seating inside or sit at an outside table on the pier.
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.
Zachry’s – a Hidden Gem
A relaxed, casual restaurant serving food in the southern Georgia style. Zachry’s is a bit of a hidden gem located next to the marina on the inter-coastal waterway, close to where the causeway brings you onto Jekyll Island. If you don’t know the location of the marina, directions using google maps would be a good option.
Jekyll Island is a barrier island on the southeast coast of Georgia, USA. It is the southernmost of the Golden Isles, a collection of islands near Brunswick. The state of Georgia took ownership of Jekyll in 1947, and it created the Jekyll Island-State Park Authority (JIA) to run the island in 1950. Jekyll measures 7 1/2 miles by 3 miles in length. The island has 10 miles of beach and 20 miles of bike paths. The JIA maintains many pavilions and picnic sites for public use, as well as public fishing piers and a public boat launch. Jekyll is 5700 acres in size, and by law the state will allow development of no more than 35% of Jekyll’s land.
Bobcats on the Isle
The first sighting of bobcats on Jekyll Island was in September, 2014. Since then, the family has grown to four as the parents, Boris and Natasha, had two kittens, Rocky and Bullwinkle. Bobcats are native to Georgia. They are carnivores that prey on small mammals, such as rabbits, squirrels, and raccoons. They can also eat birds and reptiles and occasionally kill such larger prey as deer. So they may be a natural method to help control Jekyll’s deer population. Healthy bobcats do not attack humans.
Caffeine and Octane is a TV series all about cars and motorcycles. They are the largest monthly car show in America so car enthusiasts can display their cars and followers can view them. Caffeine and Octane at the Beach was first held in March of 2017 and was a great success. Car owners display their cars inside and outside the Jekyll Convention Center, which sits right on the beach. You can watch the episode entitled Jekyll and Hide on Caffeine and Octane “On Demand” on NBC Sports. The episode features views of the Jekyll 2017 show and one special car, a rebuilt ’59 Imperial Speedster.
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.
Upcoming renters often ask us about buying groceries on Jekyll Island. Flash Foods runs a convenience store at the gas station, but by far the best place for groceries is Jekyll Market. The market sits just off the roundabout on Main St, first store on the left. You will find an upscale store packed with your typical grocery store items. Jekyll Market has grocery items delivered to their location regularly. So grocery store items here are fresh but more expensive. We find ourselves in the market often but do admit to buying the bulk of our groceries off island.
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.
European-influenced history on Jekyll Island began with General James Oglethorpe, who led a British ship in 1732 to found the colony of Georgia. Major William Horton was Oglethorpe’s second-in-command. He built his first house on the island in 1736, but the Spaniards destroyed this wooden structure. Horton, who was in charge of troops at Fort Frederica on St. Simons Island, used tabby construction for his second home. Tabby is a type of concrete. It comes from burning oyster shells to create lime and then mixing it with broken oyster shells, sand, ash, and water. Horton House is the oldest standing structure in Georgia, though only its shell is intact.
A nice addition to the restaurant and bar options on the island, with the lively atmosphere you would expect of a pub. Sporting events up on the TV’s and even at your table. There are a few spots off to the side that may be a bit more quiet. Our server was very friendly, and our food came quickly. Shepherd’s Pie, Bangers and Mash, and the Reuben are our favorites. And don’t miss the onion rings! The fare here does not feel local, as there is no low country fare and not as seafood focused as many island restaurants. This makes for a nice change of pace. And we’ve really enjoyed everything we’ve tried so far. They have separate vegan and gluten free menus available upon request. We’ve seen live music advertised, but haven’t eaten when they were playing.
Knobbed Whelk Appearance
Georgia’s Knobbed Whelk has six spirals radiating outwards, with points or knobs around the top. Its shell consists of white, brown, and grey colors, with an orange mouth. If the shell is alive, its glass-like brown foot will cover the shell opening. The Knobbed Whelk is right-handed. Hold the shell in your right hand with the spiral pointing up and the opening facing you. If you point your thumb up you can imagine the fingers of your right hand sticking into the whelk shell’s opening. The Lightning Whelk is a left-handed whelk which looks very similar to the Knobbed Whelk. It is the only left-handed whelk that lives near Jekyll’s shores.
Jekyll Comic Con
On December 9th and 10th, Jekyll Comic Con returns to the Jekyll Island Convention Center. So join the fun to meet illustrators and movie and TV personalities. Attend a show featuring singer songwriter Aurelio Voltaire.
Join right into a variety of gaming experiences. In addition to tabletop and video gaming, you might enjoy Dystopia Rising. And there’s cosplay! Enjoy the Horror Film Festival. Explore the Jekyll filming locations of X-Men: First Class via a boat tour. Attend panel room discussions. Are you planning a wedding? Then consider Jekyll Comic Con’s ultimate Star Wars themed wedding experience!
Pizza Pub and Golf
Behind the miniature golf course, near the intersection of Beachview and Shell Road, stands Red Bug Motor’s Pizza and Pub. Owned by the same person who can rent you the island’s iconic electric golf-cart-like vehicles from the airport’s Red Bug Motors, the island’s only pizza pub serves up tasty handmade pies.
Pizza, wings, and Italian style sandwiches. Oh, and they have a bar! You can have your pizza delivered or dine at the restaurant. Our crowd enjoys their Meatopia, Vegetarian Dream, and Pepperoni pizzas. The thin crust on the vegetarian is particularly nice. We may ask for thin crust on other pizzas on our next visit. Our family has also enjoyed their Salads, subs, and wings.
The Golden Isles have a variety of good restaurants, and while you might want to explore the area haunts, there are plenty of good restaurants right on Jekyll. Here is a restaurant guide, quick overview of the eating and drinking establishments on Jekyll Island. We plan to provide reviews for you of these various Jekyll eateries, and if we’ve written one, you can click the symbol to see it. Where available, clicking on a restaurant’s name will take you to its website.
Irma Blows Through
Once a category 5 hurricane, Irma’s reach hit Jekyll Island as a tropical storm. The dunes on the east side of the island took the brunt of the force from Irma’s storm surge. Jekyll was without water and electric for several days. We owe our thanks to the recovery crews that quickly came onto the island after the storm. They removed downed trees and fixed the sewer and electric lines. Local volunteers and restaurants pitched in to feed the workers, serving more than 700 meals over three days.
Mexican Restaurant with a View
A Baja Mexican restaurant on Beachview Drive, Tortuga Jacks is just north of Great Dunes Pavilion. And what a great location! Head to the bar-height seating in the outdoor Tiki hut for a great view!
Baja is an important word for understanding the style of food offered at Tortuga Jacks. It refers to Baja California and is a milder and healthier style. We actually prefer spicier Mexican! So ask your server for a spicier salsa if you do, too. We enjoy the sweet plantains (maduros) and the tacos, made with a marinated meat. Other meals we’ve eaten seem to have something missing. But we haven’t explored the entire menu. And we know by their crowds that the Baja style is popular.
The Sand dollar is a flat member of the sea urchin family. All sea urchins are roughly circular in shape and have a hard skeleton called a test. Live sand dollars have a test covered in velvety, hair-like spins. A sand dollar uses these spins to capture food particles and to move the food to its mouth on the bottom of its body. Seagulls are the most common sand dollar prey.
Handling a sand dollar is not harmful to you or the sea urchin. Sand dollars have a five-petaled design visible on the top of their exoskeleton. They are often found on the east-facing beaches on Jekyll Island near the waterline.
St. Andrews Beach
Walking from the St. Andrews Beach parking lot to the southernmost point of Jekyll is one of our favorite hikes on the island. On this walk you’ll see Little Cumberland Island, gorgeous stretches of Georgia beach, the mast of a buried shrimp boat, and you’ll likely see many shore birds. The round trip from the parking lot along the beach to the shipwreck and back is a little over a mile. But you might want to increase the distance of the hike by walking further along beach.
The St. Andrews Picnic Area parking lot is located off of Riverview Dr. on the southwest side of the island. Our usual route has us heading to the beach and turning left or south. Follow the coast until you see mast of the sunken shrimp boat. You can also take a short detour north from the parking lot to a lookout tower that provides a nice view.
Where to Eat – Driftwood Bistro
Driftwood Bistro is a casual restaurant in the Villas By the Sea complex on Jekyll’s north end. It is well known by locals because they have good food at reasonable prices. You can even get petite plates that include half-sized entrees and smaller sides. The restaurant specializes in Low Country Cuisine, sort of home cooking for the area. Seafood specialties include Shrimp and Grits and Stuffed Flounder, two of my favorites. But they also have many dishes for the non-seafood eater, such as Meatloaf and Pot Roast. Their side are good, too! Each entree comes with two of them, and we have problems choosing. The Sweet Potato Souffle, Fried Okra, and Squash Casserole are among our usual choices. Oh no! My husband says don’t forget the Fried Green Tomatoes.
Sunrise Biking on the Beach
There was a thunderstorm offshore this morning. It made for a beautiful sunrise. Snapped this shot from the beach right by our house. Folks were just standing and staring at the horizon. Shrimp boats plying the local waters and a dolphin looking for breakfast. What a wonderful way to start my morning!
Georgia and Florida have a proud competitive history. Every year on the last Saturday in October, the two schools play each other in Jacksonville. This football rivalry dates back to 1904 and has occurred annually since 1926, save for a war-time interruption in 1943! But football isn’t the only match-up. In 1979 Jekyll Island Golf Club head golf pro Johnny Paulk co-founded the Georgia-Florida Golf Classic. From an initial 40 players, the tournament has exceeded 600 participants. The tournament precedes the football game.
Holidays are a time for family and friends to gather, putting work and school aside. Have you made plans for this Thanksgiving or Christmas season? A beach vacation could be a great venue for your get-together. Let’s have Destination Christmas or Destination Thanksgiving. Create lasting memories on Jekyll Island at our Sandpiper Cottage.
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.