Okay, lets talk about the place for a perfect weekend away! Jekyll Island is an absolute dream. It is a quiet, laid back feeling place surrounded by gorgeous oaks covered in Spanish Moss and the best beach filled with driftwood.
To visit Jekyll Island, a state park, you pay an $8 entrance fee per vehicle, per day. Though it is a state park, the island doesn’t receive funding from the state and is reliant on visitors. The island has lots of camping spots for tent or R.V. camping, it also has plenty of hotels along the shore to choose from if you like the comforts of a chain hotel.
There is one place that stands out above all of the rest, though. Especially if you’re looking for a step back in time and a vacation filled with history and old world charm. Jekyll Island Club Resort is out of this world! It is one of our favorite places we have ever been.
Jekyll Island Club
Jekyll Island Club has been around since 1886, originally a Club which met from January to March, for America’s elite; the perfect island retreat away from the north eastern cold. After the Great Depression the club member stopped retreating to Jekyll Island as much and then in 1946 the island was under threat from enemy submarines detoured them returning indefinitely. The island was eventually sold and now the, once exclusively private club, is now open for regular people like you and me.
Everything about Jekyll Island Club is grandiose and southern hospitable charm, all at once. The square footage of the resort is huge, but somehow with elements like the wrap around verandas, and delicate sitting rooms throughout the downstairs, you feel like you’re at someone’s home for a visit. Albeit, someone’s very large home. If I could pick one place to visit each year this would be it!
What to do on Jekyll Island!
The resort has bicycles the whole family can rent. We rented ours for 24 hours and it was the best two days riding around the island. Our children will be able to talk about their special trip to Jekyll for such a long time because of this simple activity. The trails are all gorgeous, we saw alligators and wild cotton plants and a myriad of birds.
The island itself has a great history museum, we took a wonderful day tour of the islands historic spots and had a mansion tour of the Rockefeller’s home which sits next to the Jekyll Island Resort. Here is the Landmark trolley tour that we took, on our next visit I plan to do the rest that they offer! I love old home tours (they offer tours through many of the old mansions). The tour was great for kids, everyone wears a little ear piece so you can always hear the tour guide (who was excellent) and for parents who need to hang back from the crowd and go at your own pace, this works great because you don’t have to worry about missing out on the information that is being given. Our school aged children love learning opportunities like this and it’s one reason why world schooling is so beneficial to our family. Thoroughly learning about the place you travel to, the people that made up that area through different time periods, and see how they lived. It’s such an eye opening experience for adults and kids alike. Jekyll Island was home to slaves, immigrants from Ireland, Greece, and Italy (workers at the Club) and obviously the elite. The museum is hands on for the children, it’s small, but filled with so much information and we all enjoyed it. Our kids even asked to go back a second time because they loved that there were little stations for them to play at.
Jekyll Island also has a wonderful Sea Turtle Center where they rescue sea turtles. There is a little museum and a wonderful viewing area where you can see all of the turtles that they are rehabilitating on site. Together with their team, they’ve released over 800 sea turtles back into the wild successfully. We loved our afternoon here and really recommend the experience for those traveling with children!
Driftwood Beach is by far the best beach we have ever been to! It is out of this world pretty, we recommend treating it like a trip to the playground, there is so much to climb around on. The best time of day was the last hour and half before the sun sets, the sun sets behind you, but the lighting is so soft – tons of people were out taking photos of their families! We only came one time, we saved it for our last night on the island, which we regret. Had we come on our first night, we would have visited all three days to experience it more. So, next time! But don’t miss it!
Where to eat on Jekyll Island
The Pantry, located on Jekyll Island Club – we had breakfast here every morning and one lunch. So good and so convenient for guests at the Club.
Tortuga Jack’s – we came back twice, we thought it was great Mexican food and the staff was so great.
The Wharf Restaurant – absolutely delicious and the atmosphere on the water is perfection. It’s also right on the Club property and if you’re not staying at the Club this would be the perfect starting point for a nice walk along the grounds which are incredible!
Driftwood Bistro – we really loved the food here!
Eighty Ocean Kitchen and Bar – such a great menu and this brings you to Jekyll Ocean Club, the sister property of Jekyll Island Resort.
*As a guest of either Jekyll Island Club or Ocean Club, you have access to both resort amenities with a shuttle that will bring you back and forth between the two properties.
Our stay at Jekyll Island Club Resort was hosted and in partnership with the tourism board of Jekyll Island. We can not wait to come back to this little paradise, a true gem of the south! We truly loved the Resort and the Island so much and recommend it for everyone!