There are so many places and things to see and do when on vacation in our area. Here we made a list of 10 of our favorite things for both adults and children. And the list doesn’t include so many things that I’ll have to make another top 10 next week.
The list is in no particular order.
1. Driftwood Beach
Here you will find a mile long stretch of beach that is cluttered with long dead live oaks, some standing upright, others toppled over. For kids it’s nature’s jungle gym. Such mesmerizing chunks of driftwood. Beautiful in different ways at low and high tide or at sunrise and sunset. Great place to take a long stroll, with St. Simon’s lighthouse in the distance. You might see dolphins along the shore and are certain to see a variety of shore birds. If you are up for a longer hike, you can walk along the beach to The Pier, then circle back to your car on the path through the marsh. This is a great place for your family photos, and it is not unusual to see wedding parties posing amongst the trees.
2. Cruise around the Island
The millionaires of Jekyll’s past were the first to cruise the island in an electric car. These days you can rent an electric Red Bug car to tour Jekyll. You will be so much more connected to the outdoors as you feel the sea breeze in your hair. The main road loops around the island as Beachview turns into Riverside and back to Beachview. We highly recommend a cruise, either on a bike, in an electric car, or perhaps in your convertible. Bikes and electric cars will slow down your pace, allowing for better viewing of birds, beaches, the maritime forest of Spanish moss-covered oaks, Millionaires’ Cottages, and other wildlife. A wonderful way to visit all the other sites on this page.
3. Summer Waves
Some days you just need to burn energy at a fun, fast-paced location. Cool off on a hot summers day! Your family will enjoy water slides, the wave pool, cruising the lazy river, and splashing in the water.
4. The Pier
This is one place on Jekyll where you are sure to find fisherman all day long. We’ve seen flounder, blue claw crabs, and sharks all caught here. There is a bait shop conveniently located just onshore, right next to the public restrooms and picnic table. The big car carrier ships use the channel just offshore here to head into Brunswick port. They only go by once or twice a day, but catching a sight of one provides a fun distraction. The birds and the dolphins like the fish here, too, so be on the lookout for them. This is also a great place to catch a sunset.
5. Historic District Cottages
This is Moss Cottage, one of over a dozen homes built during the Jekyll Island Club Era. The club included the most exclusive families of the those times, including Vanderbilts, Goulds, Goodyears, Rockefellers, Pulitzers, Morgans, and more. They dined at what is now the Jekyll Club Hotel. The entire island was their playground. Tours of the cottages can be purchased by calling or visiting the Jekyll Island Museum. Many of the buildings in the Historic District are currently in use. You can visit the Art Center, which is located in The Goodyear Cottage, dine at the Club Hotel, or walk through the Jekyll Island Museum, which is housed in the former stables. Even if you don’t take a tour, this area is well worth a stroll or a bicycle ride to gain the flavor of the rich history.
6. Bird Watching
Jekyll is a place to connect to nature. Birds are such a wonderful example, as you will encounter them often during your stay. But one day consider setting bird watching as your goal. The beaches and salt water marshes of the island abound with birds. St. Andrew’s Beach is a wonderful starting point for a walk along a more remote beach. Here you can reach the southern tip of the island where flocks of birds mingle together. Or perhaps you might walk along the path through the salt water marsh on the north end of the island.
7. Faith Chapel
Another treasure found in the Historic District. This little chapel was in use during the Jekyll Island Club Era. The chapel has two historic stained-glass windows. The most well-known is a signed Tiffany window. The gargoyles on the corners of the building provide an interesting touch.
8. Tidelands Nature Center
Run by the University of Georgia, this center allows for up close encounters with many of the local fish, turtles, and even snakes of the island. A touch tank contains live shells, horseshoe crabs, and other small creatures. You can also arrange for a kayaking tour through the marshes surrounding Jekyll. The Right Whale statue sits outside the center. This critically endangered whale lives off the Georgia and Florida coast.
9. St Andrew’s Beach
A local artist’s painting of this popular beach destination. Guests enjoy spending a day sunning on the beach. Others will take the short walk to the bird-watching tower or view the monument to the Wanderer, the last U.S. slave ship. This area is popular with fishermen and with those wishing to pull a seine net. You can also take a longer walk to discover Spanish American War Gun Emplacements. Or hike south along the beach to an isolated beach where hundreds of birds often gather. From there, you can see Cumberland Island in the distance.
10. Turtle Center
An interactive sea turtle museum where you can learn about the challenges and dangers our turtles face. The veterinary wing has a viewing window from the museum exhibit area, allowing visitors to see the healing process in action. In an adjacent building you can see the turtles rehabilitating in their tanks. Periodic feeding and interactive talks are given every day.
11. Shopping at Beach Village
Who can resist a bit of shopping while on vacation. The Beach Village has it all. The Jekyll Market is an upscale grocery store, with prepared foods, deli, homemade ice cream, wine, beer, tee shirts, and more. You can find a hardware store and several clothing stores. Village restaurants include the Wee Pub and Jekyll Island Seafood. The market sits behind Jekyll’s gorgeous Convention Center, with nearby beach access.