Just saying the words “Jekyll Island” lowers my blood pressure to socially acceptable levels – no easy feat. It’s not an exaggeration to say this beautiful island is paradise. You need to go. And when you do, here’s what you need to do:
For starters, you’ll stroll along miles of wide open barrier island beaches that change by the hour. Need a break from the beach? That’s weird, but we aren’t here to judge. Pack up the family (or your six-pack…again, not here to judge) and go behind the scenes at The Georgia Sea Turtle Center. It has been an easy day, so grab a bike and take off in any direction to explore the island’s 22 miles of bike paths. Yes, that’s 22! Also remember, Jekyll Island is a state park, and over two-thirds of the land is protected from development, so go ahead and pretend it’s your own private island. After all, at one time, the island served as a cold weather oasis for the nineteenth and early twentieth century American elite, including simple folks like the Rockefellers, Morgans, and Pulitzers. #squadgoals.
Too much to take in? I understand. Here are the top 5 things you need to do when visiting Jekyll Island:
#1: Book a room at the Holiday Inn Resort Jekyll Island hotel.
Yall, this place is amazeballs. The resort recently underwent a $22 million transformation and is the Holiday Inn’s first resort in Georgia. The three story white and teal gem has 157 guest rooms, including 21 suites (which, lemmetellya…baller status.)
Bloggers Guests can enjoy a quarter mile of private beach (because when in Rockefeller territory…), take a quick 22 mile ride on the amazing beach bikes they keep on the property, grab a beach chair and umbrella or work off your seafood nachos with a paddle boarding or skim board. For families traveling with kids (Kelly just added this place to her baby bucketlist), the hotel offers a Kid’s Club with daily activities, and in the winter months, guests can enjoy the Snowbird Activities Program. Too fun.
#2 Bike it. Like it.
I’ve mentioned bikes like a million times, but I can’t get over it. My mom (my favorite travel buddy) and I biked for five hours straight one day. FIVE HOURS STRAIGHT. We couldn’t feel our butts at the end of our trek, but who cares! That’s why God invented Margaritas. Jekyll Island features more than 22 miles of paved trails (WHAT?) that take you through amazing beaches, enchanted forests (my words, no theirs), past LIVE GATORS and through Jekyll Island’s Historic Landmark District and campgrounds. It’s unreal and I want to go back RIGHT NOW. Jekyll Island Bike Rentals are available adjacent to the island’s miniature golf course and on location at many of island’s hotels, including The Holiday Inn Resort.
#3 Walk the Beach. Or Run the Beach. #YOUDOYOU
In the mornings, I would jump out of bed and run to the beach. Well, okay I would stop for coffee first. But then I was ON THE BEACH. We walked the beaches for hours every single day. Jekyll Island has 3 main beach areas, Driftwood Beach, Glory Beach and Great Dunes. We loved them all and can’t pick a favorite #sorrynotsorry. Jekyll experiences two high tides and two low tides each day – which is pretty rad. The tides reach 6 to 9 feet, which is not normal on the East Coast so listen closely. Every 6ish hours Jekyll experiences a change in tides so it’s like a totally different beach. You hit the beach at one time during the day to collect your shells and sand dollars, another time to enjoy the waves and surf, and a totally different time to wander onto the sandbars so you can pretend you can walk on water. Or something like that…
#4 Get your history on.
Jekyll Island is a mere 5,700 acres, and is the smallest of Georgia’s barrier islands. But don’t start feeling bad for little ol’ Jekyll, some of the most powerful families in the world with a TON of money loved this place…and because of that the island is a beautiful relic lifestyles of the rich and famous. Here are the Cliffsnotes:
- In 1800 Jekyll Island was owned by a French guy named Christophe du Bignon. He and his family lived on the island and his property was raided by the British during the War of 1812. The Du Bignon Cemetery can be seen near the ruins of the Horton House (pictured above.)
- Fast forward to Newton Finney, the brother-in-law of John Eugene duBignon, a descendant of Christophe du Bignon who has the brilliant idea to turn Jekyll Island into a private hunting club for wealthy northerners.
- Starting in 1885, and over the years that followed, the new Jekyll Island Club became the nation’s
premier playground for the rich and famous, including J.P. Morgan, Marshall Field, Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Goodyears and Joseph Pulitzer, and called “the richest, the most exclusive, the most inaccessible club in the world.”
- In 1947 the State of Georgia bought Jekyll Island and the Club for $675,000 as a result of the fallout of several factors, including World War II. At that time it officially became the Jekyll Island State Park and was operated as part of the state parks system. Sixty five percent of Jekyll Island will always remain a state park, which makes it a unique and unreal destination with natural splendor around every corner.
- In 2015 Meg Daws, co-founder of PeachtreeRoadies.com, descended upon the island with her mom and declared it amazeballs.
#5 Eat like like the rich and famous do.
Jekyll Island has some of the best dining of all the Georgia Golden Isles, so make sure you come hungry! Our favorite spot is Latitude 31 and the ‘Rah’ Bar! You must, must order the seafood nachos and the Run Smash. Caution – two Rum Smashes is plenty. PLENTY. As you might expect the fresh oysters and Low Country Boil are also out of this world! Order an extra for me – I’ll be there in about 4 hours.
Thanks for the ladies of Pineapple PR for sponsoring this amazing trip! They may have footed the bill for the experience – but the review and the bag of shells I found on the beach are all mine! I’ve got mad, authentic love for you, Jekyll Island. See you again soon.