Agenda: Jekyll Island, GA

Off the Georgia coast, just over the Florida state line is a chain of barrier islands known as the “Golden Isles”  which include Sea Island, St. Simons Island, Little St. Simon’s Island and Jekyll Island.  Jekyll Island is packed full of cool history and tons of water fun perfect for a family getaway.

Jekyll Island Club Hotel

The former winter retreat of the likes of Vanderbilt, J.P. Morgan, Goodyear, Astor, Pulitzer, and Daddy Warbucks, Jekyll’s historic and meticulously renovated properties consist of many “cottages” (translation: HUGE, gigantic houses) of the wealthy aforementioned Jekyll Club members back in the day.  It was once called the  “richest, most exclusive, most inaccessible club in the world.”

Jekyll has been the spot of many a a stop -over during our frequent trips between North Carolina and Florida (and also my fabulous wedding. Full disclosure: I may be biased.) Winter is also a great time to visit, particularly  during the holidays, with elaborate light displays and holiday activities.  Here are some of our favorite things to do:

Day 1:

2pm… Arrive at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, a 125 year old hotel that was built as the central gathering place for the club members.  Stretch your legs with a stroll around the beautiful grounds for a sense of the jaw dropping wealth that once inhabited the island.

2:30pm…Visit the Jekyll Island History Museum (daily 9-5; free) to learn what life on the island was like.

3pm… Catch a ride on the red tram for a 90 minute tour around the grounds and a tour inside two of the cottages.  Typically one of the cottages on tour is Indian Mound, the Cottage of the Rockefeller family.  (Departs daily from Jekyll History Museum at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.  (Adults $16; Kids 4-12 $7; Free under 4.)

Indian Mound Cottage of the Rockefeller Family

4:30pm…Time to check in at the Jekyll Island Club.  We have never had anything but amazing customer service the many times we have stayed here.  Ask (ahead of time) for a room in the turret or with a unique floor plan (nooks, crannies, and multi-level rooms) that will fascinate the kids.  The hotel has gone out of their way on several occasions to accommodate us with a great room.

7pm…Grab a couple cocktails and some burgers at the poolside bar and grill, then take a moonlight dip in the resort’s lovely heated pool overlooking the river.

River front swimming pool at the Jekyll Island Club

Day 2:

9am…For a quick breakfast in the lovely courtyard pick up a coffee and muffin at Cafe Solterra (Important note:  They also have ice cream for later).

11am…Head to the beach!  The Jekyll Club will shuttle you over to their very own beach pavilion during the summer months where you will find beach chairs, umbrellas, bathrooms, towel service and lots of light lunch options and most importantly… ice cream.

4pm…Before dinner, play a game of croquet right in the front lawn of the resort and take a carriage ride around the property.  Another great option: Rent bicycles and take advantage of the bike paths all over the island.

5:30pm…Walk down a few steps to the Jekyll Wharf for a fresh seafood dinner and live music at Latitude 31 with a lovely view of the river.

Day 3:

Morning…Don’t miss the fantastic Sunday brunch in the Grand Dining Room of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel.

Mid-Morning….Visit the conveniently located Georgia Sea Turtle Center right on the Jekyll Island Historic Property to learn all about dolphins.  Just kidding.  Clearly, you can learn all about sea turtles, how they eat, and the Center’s rehabilitation program.  Science and cuteness all in one. (Closed Mondays in winter months; $7 Adults; $5 Children 4-12; free 3 and under)

Georgia Sea Turtle Center

Best Time to Visit Jekyll Island:  High season is from March to September, but this is, of course, when more activities are available.  High season rooms range from $200-$400, although the Jekyll Island Club frequently runs great specials like the Spring getaway March through May with 25% off the room rate.  Fall is also a wonderful time to visit when the weather is perfect.



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