Things to Do In Jekyll Island
Things to do in Jekyll Island range from history to natural beauty to fine dining and more. One of Georgia’s Golden Isles, Jekyll was long used by the indigenous people of the region for its fishing, abundant fruits and nuts, and fertile land for cultivating pumpkins, beans, corn, sunflowers, and tobacco.
Over the years, parts of Jekyll became privately owned, and developed for homes for wealthy businessmen until it was finally bought up by Georgia in 1947 for security and preservation. These days, it’s a hot spot for tourists who want to come visit the natural beauty of the Georgia coast and its surrounds.
Whether you’re a nature buff, sporty, or a historian, Jekyll Island has something for you! This gorgeous area of Georgia may have a scary name, but believe me, it’s all Jekyll and no Hyde!
ACTIVITIES & SIGHTSEEING
1. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center
As I mentioned several weeks back in my post about my family’s trip to Saint Simons Island, The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is a can’t-miss if you’re visiting Jekyll Island. The center focuses on rehab, research, and education regarding sea turtles which are at extreme risk. It’s an excellent stop to add both fun and education to your trip.
2. Summer Waves Water Park
If you’re visiting in the summer, one of the best things to do in Jekyll Island on a hot Georgia day is hit Summer Waves Water Park. The park boasts several large slides like Force 3, Nature’s Revenge, and Pirate’s Passage for the older kids and grownups, a splash zone for the younger kids, and even a lazy river called Turtle Creek.
3. Mini Golf
For a little light-hearted family competition, their Mini Golf offers two courses – one for beginners and one for the more advanced. Admission is quite reasonable, and putt putt is always a great vacation activity!
4. Golf Club
For the golf lover, one of the best things to do in Jekyll Island is ht the green. The Jekyll Island Golf Club is the island’s first golf course, created in 1898. It’s attracted big name course designers like Donald Ross, Walter Travis, and Joe Lee. Play on one of the four courses available and enjoy nature while you work on your handicap.
5. Jekyll Island Tennis Center
If you’re a tennis player, you won’t find a better spot to enjoy the game than the Jekyll Island Tennis Center. Boasting 13 Har-tru clay courts and a fully appointed pro shop and surrounded by live oaks, manicured hedges, and wild palmettos, the tennis center is made for serious lovers of tennis and nature.
6. Jekyll Island Bike Barn
If you want to tour Jekyll Island without your feet screaming at you later, just rent a bike! Jekyll Island Bike Barn, at the corner of N. Beachview Dr. and Shell Rd. offers adult, children, and tandem bikes, as well as tricycles, two and four person surreys, bike trailers, and dual trikes.
7. Jekyll Island Museum
One of the absolute must things to do in Jekyll is visiting the Jekyll Island Museum. The museum brings together Jekyll Island’s rich history of natural beauty, historical events and architecture, and more into one story that will have you looking at Jekyll Island in a completely different way.
On our most recent trip, my family and I took the museum’s historic home tour, where we were treated to some of the oldest and most beautiful homes on the island. Many of these homes are well over 100 years old and exude a sense of the old south, so it’s quite a treat to have a tour guide talk about them.
8. Driftwood Beach
No trip to Jekyll Island is complete without at least a few hours spent at Driftwood Beach. Located on the northern tip of the island,
Driftwood Beach is resplendent with nature’s beauty. Smooth, beautiful driftwood is scattered all about the white sand beaches, and the scenic views can’t be beaten. It’s a perfect example of nature’s beauty.
JEKYLL ISLAND RESTAURANTS
No list of things to do in Jekyll would be complete without mentioning some of the amazing dining options available there. Like everything else on Jekyll Island, the dining options are all incredible in their own right. You really can’t go wrong.
1. Wee Pub
Get a bit ‘o the Irish luck in you with a trip to Wee Pub. This Irish Pub features live music, an excellent bar, and delicious food ranging from traditional pub fare to some creative seafood options. Examples of their cuisine include Chicli Cormac, Chicken & Wild Mushroom Pie, Irish Grilled Cheese, and of course, a pub burger.
2. Jekyll Island Seafood Company
Enjoy traditional lowland seafood favorites like shrimp and grits, oysters Rockefeller, and mussels by the pound at Jekyll Island Seafood Company. You’ll enjoy delicious, fresh seafood while you take in the scenery of Jekyll of Island.
3. Zachry’s Riverhouse
Located near Summer Waves on the west side of the island, Zacchry’s offers some of the tastiest local seafood on the island. If also affords diners excellent views of the marina and river while they dine.
4. Red Bug Motors Pizza & Pub
Red Bug is one of the most convenient eating establishments for families on the island. Located at Mini Gold, it’s the perfect place to snag takeout, delivery, or just sitting down to enjoy a slice. Their pizza is top notch, and their salads and sandwiches are tasty, as well.
5. Club Cafe
Located in The Clubhouse of Jekyll Island Club Resort, Club Cafe offers casual, grab-and-go items all day. Visitors can also enjoy dining in for a light breakfast or lunch of deli sandwiches, wraps, and more tasty, fresh options.
6. Driftwood Bistro
When it comes to things to do in Jekyll Island, dining at Driftwood Bistro cannot be missed. This casual dining mecca in Jekyll Island offers a relaxed, yet sophisticated atmosphere that pairs perfectly with their low country cuisine. Choose from classic favorites like fried okra, mushrooms, or green tomatoes; shrimp and grits; good, old-fashioned meatloaf; and more. Seating starts at 5:00, but they take names at the beginning at 4:30, so get there early!
JEKYLL ISLAND HOTELS & RESORTS
After a day of exploring all the things to do in Jekyll Island, you’ll need a place to kick back and put your feet up. A great hotel is key to a great vacation, after all!
1. Holiday Inn Resort
This is one of our go-to’s when we hit the island. You can read a full review of our recent stay at the Holiday Inn Resort in Jekyll Island.
2. Days Inn & Suites
Not every vacation requires a resort. While the Days Inn might not be a resort, it is a comfortable, cozy hotel that makes a perfect place to relax.
3. Quality Inn & Suites
Quality Inn offers a great combination of affordability and comfort. It features free WiFi and pool, and it’s even pet-friendly.
4. Villas by the Sea Resort & Conference Center
If you’re looking for the ultimate in relaxation while you tick off your list of things to do in Jekyll, then Villas By the Sea is for you. Forget the hotel room, you and the family will stay in your own villa, complete with all the comforts of home because they are homes.
What you’ve read about here in this frankly quite long post is only a sampling of all the great things to do in Jekyll Island. These are what I consider the must-do and must-dine places on the island, but while you’re there, you’ll no doubt find your own favorite things here in this beautiful Georgia paradise, and that’s really the fun of travel, isn’t it?