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In the summer of 2020 we had the unique experience of getting to visit Jekyll Island Georgia – not once, but TWICE! This southeastern Georgia island is an amazing beach vacation destination with so much to do, amazing beaches, and beautiful resorts. Keep reading to find out how to plan your Jekyll Island Georgia Beach vacation.
Jekyll Island Georgia – A Perfect Family Beach Vacation
Where is Jekyll Island?
Jekyll Island is located off the southeast coast of Georgia. Jekyll is one of the Sea Islands, as well as and one of the Golden Isles of Georgia.
Jekyll Island is about an hour north of Jacksonville, Florida. In fact, if you are visiting Jekyll Island by air the closest major airport is JAX. There is also a regional airport in Brunswick, Georgia, and the Savannah airport is about 90 minutes away.
Getting to Jekyll Island
From the airport or home, you will need to drive to Jekyll Island, Georgia. There is an eight dollar per car toll as you arrive on the island. There is a short bridge and Jekyll Island is located only a few miles east of I-95. Jekyll Island is the perfect stop as you’re heading from Florida to states up north or when driving from New York to Florida.
Why Choose Jekyll Island Georgia For Your Next Family Beach Vacation
Jekyll Island, Georgia is a very beautiful beach destination. Everything on the island is low-key and laid-back.
The nature and natural surroundings on Jekyll Island are very beautiful. The beach is calm and the ocean water is warm (at least it was during our two visits in the summer of 2020).
With beautiful resorts to fit any vacation style and budget, your family will love a visit to Jekyll Island, Georgia.
Worth noting that this part of Georgia is considered a mild climate, but not tropical. Summer temps are warm (and can be humid and rainy) but winter temps can be as high as 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit!
My guess is the shoulder seasons – spring and fall would be a great time to visit. Take advantage of a long summer, and low crowds.
Where to stay on Jekyll Island?
For both our visits in the summer of 2020, we stayed at the Westin Jekyll Island. Yes, we loved it so much we stayed here twice while driving to Florida and back to New York during the pandemic.
I will have a full review of the Westin Jekyll Island coming soon but we really liked this property for its beautiful pool right on the beach, and the ocean view rooms are definitely worth the upgrade. You can easily walk to “town” and there are several dining options on property and even more within a short walk or drive of the hotel.
Other popular Jekyll Island properties include:
The Jekyll Island Club Resort – This resort consists of two sister properties, the Jekyll Island Club (located on the East River) and the Jekyll Ocean Club which is adjacent to the Westin and on the same great strip of beach.
The Ocean Club is an all-suites property and the Island Club offers standard rooms as well as space in their cottages. Either property would be the perfect luxury retreat.
Home2suites by Hilton – This hotel is located behind the Westin so you have access to a great beach, at a nice price.
Holiday Inn Resort Jekyll Island – This is an expansive beachfront property on the north end of the island features a piece of private beach along with many other amenities. I walked passed here several times and it looked really nice.
Choosing a resort can be tough. Some are big, some are small, some are on the beach, some just near it. Some resorts have better food, more drink options, and more entertainment than others. Of course, there is your budget to consider as well!
For those reasons, it’s always best to consult with a travel professional to help find the perfect resort for you next vacation. And the best part? My services are free!
What to do on Jekyll Island
There is so much to do on Jekyll Island, and all activities revolve around enjoying the beauty of nature.
You could also just grab a beach or pool chair and just relax here. It’s totally that kind of place!
If you are looking for some activities and fun excursions on Jekyll Island, here are some great options:
Visit Driftwood Beach – In my opinion, this is a Jekyll Island MUST DO! I have personally never seen anything like this, and the kids loved exploring this beach. Take Beach View Drive North until you see some parking areas on the side of the road. You can park here and take the little path down to the beach.
Here the driftwood trees are left behind from years of erosion. The wood and rocks make amazing tide pools to explore. I promise, it’s definitely worth checking out – be sure to bring your camera!
Take a long walk, or long bike ride – There are about 15 miles of bike/walking trails all around Jekyll Island. It’s easy to rent a bike (our hotel had them for rent), or lace up your sneakers and go for a long walk.
Rent a bike (or a quadricycle) – If your hotel does not offer bike rentals, there are three outposts on the island that do. Rent for the hour, or a day and explore the expanse of bike trails around the island. And don’t worry – the island is nice and flat!
Rent an electric car – I saw these all over Jekyll Island and regret not doing this! Looks more like a golf cart than a car, these street legal cars looked like a great way to explore the island!
Visit the Georgia Sea Turtle Rescue Center – we visited the turtle rescue center on our first visit to Jekyll Island. There is a little museum indoors (perfect for a rainy day or when you need to escape the heat) and a covered area where you can see the turtles in their rehab tanks.
Mosaic Museum & Historic Tours – Sadly, we didn’t have time to visit the Mosaic Museum, or do the longer tour – maybe next time!
The Mosaic Museum is a center highlighting the history of the island. Admission to the Mosaic Gallery is included with the Landmark Tour, a guided trolley tour of the Jekyll Island National Historic Landmark District.
Mini-Golf – Located across from Tortuga Jack’s is a sweet little mini-golf course aptly named, Jekyll Island Miniature Golf! We did not have time to play, but we walked by and this looked like the perfect beach town activity!
Summer Waves Waterpark – after having visited four waterparks in the summer of 2020 (Hyatt Coconut Point, Sun Splash in Cape Coral, Legoland Florida Waterpark and Island H2O Live in Orlando, Florida) I CANNOT believe I did not realize there was a waterpark on Jekyll Island. I only saw this after returning home when blogger friend, Amber, from AmberLikes visited with her family.
This waterpark is seasonal, so if you visit in the warmer months, be sure to check out Summer Waves.
If you are up for something a little spooky, Book a Ghost Tour I loved doing ghost tours in Charleston and New Orleans, and this tour comes highly recommended by my clients who I’ve sent to Jekyll Island, Georgia.
Where to eat on Jekyll Island
This is not a huge island, and most of the food tends towards the southern and fried variety. I noticed lots of seafood on the menus. The places we dined at included:
The Reserve at the Westin – steakhouse, overlooking the beach
Tortuga Jack’s – Mexican
Driftwood Bistro – Southern cuisine
Other places we considered dining on Jekyll Island:
The Wharf – open air dining
Beach House (right next to the Holiday Inn)
Wee Pub Beach (an Irish Pub)
Southern Soul BBQ, on St Simons Island. They were on Diners, Drive-in, and Dives.
Jekyll Island is such a hidden gem – I recommend it to all my guests who are looking for something warm, beachy, fun, but different. Have you been to Jekyll Island, Georgia? What are you favorite things to do on the island?