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10 Fun & Best Things to Do in Jekyll Island, Georgia

You won’t be disappointed if you’re looking for things to do on Jekyll Island in Georgia. Travelers flock to this spectacular coast for its 10 miles of gorgeous beaches, historic landmarks, top-notch golf courses, endless shopping options, and mighty fine cuisine.

This state-protected land, one of the most popular places in Coastal Georgia, offers a myriad of activities for travelers looking to fill their itinerary. Whether you’re interested in exploring the great outdoors through water sports, hiking, or raring for retail therapy alongside a fantastic culinary trip, Jekyll Island has much to offer.

This magnificent island was once the playground of America’s rich and famous, and with good reason. The region is mostly undeveloped, dominated by trees, marshlands, and punctuated with some of the most fascinating buildings in the state.

Keep reading to learn more about what to do on Jekyll Island, from taking in the breathtaking Georgia coastline scenery to setting off on urban excursions!

See Related: Warm Places to Visit in the US During Winter

Best Things to Do in Jekyll Island, Georgia

1. Explore the otherworldly shores of Driftwood Beach

Driftwood by the beach

Location: Jekyll Island, GA 31527

When you visit Jekyll Island, make sure not to miss Driftwood Beach. Consistently ranked one of America’s “Ten Most Romantic Beaches,” Driftwood Beach feels like a trip to an otherwordly place.  The shoreline is lined with ancient driftwood, which creates a stunning background. The views at Driftwood Beach are so stunning that USA TODAY named it one of the greatest Southern beaches for a weekend getaway.

Driftwood Beach was originally a thick maritime forest of plants and trees lined the Jekyll Island coastline for protection. Due to erosion, however, the forest was left with twisted and deformed driftwood husks that line the coast in place of the estuary.

Travelers, locals, photographers, wedding celebrations, and various types of people go to the shores of Driftwood Beach to explore the strange terrain and take a stunning shot. The view extends from the Villas By The Sea Resort to the Clam Creek Picnic Area.

A huge fishing pier to the west is available for fun activities. Dogs are also allowed on Driftwood Beach all year, so feel free to bring your fur babies so you can play along the shore.

There is public parking at the beach access, which is located directly off Beachview Drive. At all times, pets must be under direct supervision on Driftwood Beach and a leash no more than 16′ in length.

2. Enjoy some retail therapy at Beach Village

Shopping Village on Jekyll Island

Location: Main St, Jekyll Island

Shopping is one of the most popular things to do on Jekyll Island! Jekyll’s Beach Village is the island’s epicenter, with a charming Main Street peppered with restaurants, boutique shops, and hotels all within walking distance. The beach is only a few feet away, and a central courtyard with public seating makes this a fantastic area to while away a day.

Craftsmen and local artists have a variety of goods offered at Beach Village, so be sure to check out their one-of-a-kind handcrafted products and accessories. The brand new commercial district on Jekyll is located on Main Street, just right ahead as you walk over the main causeway on the Island. There is a range of unique stores and dining alternatives here as well. 

Alternatively, head over to the Historic District’s Pier Road for a variety of interesting gift shops and memorabilia. No trip to Jekyll Island is complete without a visit to a local gift store to pick up a memento to remember your stay!

3. Splash around at the Summer Waves Water Park

Summer Waves Water Park in Jekyll Island
Management / TripAdvisor

Location: S Loop Trail, Jekyll Island

If you’re looking for fun things to do on Jekyll Island, splashing around at the Summer Waves Water Park is one of the most popular things for families to do in the region. Summer Waves, known for its refreshing pools and breathtaking views of the Jekyll River, provides a variety of activities for families to get respite from the summer heat

Located on Jekyll Island, Summer Waves Water Park boasts 11 acres of water recreation that kids will love. Take a ride on the Frantic Atlantic Wave Pool or a dive down Pirate’s Passage, which plummets down a 300-foot, five-story tower.

Nature’s Revenge comprises two 40-foot slides that tumble and twist into a big catch pool. There’s no shortage of adrenaline-pumping rides here. Thrill-seekers will love Thunder and Lightning, which features two slides that twist down 150 feet of completely enclosed tubes, or Flash Flood, a 350-foot-long curving slide with two inner tubes. 

The Splash Zone, which includes water pistols, a water fun fort, and a large dunking bucket, is a favorite among children. On the other hand, Shark Tooth Cove has two little slides and waterfalls for younger children to enjoy. If you’re looking to relax, Turtle Creek, a calm river you can wade in, flows around the park!  Admission is $25 per person, but you can get greater savings with the Season Pass, which costs $80 per person.

4. Tee off with your family at Jekyll Island Miniature Golf

Jekyll Island Miniature Golf
DCLMom / TripAdvisor

Location: 100 Great Dunes Ln, Jekyll Island

Whether you like Phil Mickelson or Mickey Mouse when you’re teeing off, Jekyll Island Miniature Golf promises to provide lots of fun and challenge for golfers of all ages and ability levels.

If you’re wondering what to do on Jekyll Island, this mini-golf course is a terrific place to go if you’re looking for some active fun with your friends, kids, or spouse. Its proximity to the Great Dunes Park and the Atlantic Ocean also offers great convenience. 

It doesn’t matter what your skill level is, there’s a course in this miniature golf course just for you. Jekyll Island Mini Golf has two courses, one for starters and one for more experienced players. Enjoy any of these well-lit 18-hole courses, which are sure to be a hit with the whole family!

The course provides enjoyable challenges with its unique course layout, but keep in mind that it may be fairly scorching during the summer months, with limited shade. On other days, the proximity to the seaside lets you enjoy putting with pleasant coastal breezes all day.

Adults pay $7 plus tax per game, while children aged 6 to 10 pay $5.50 plus tax. Children under the age of five are free to play with a paid adult.

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5. Learn about turtles at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center

Small turtle swimming on a tub

Location: 214 Stable Rd, Jekyll Island

A visit to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, an educational facility and rehabilitation center for turtles, is one of the best things to do in Jekyll Island, GA.  It’s a great place to learn about endangered species.

The Georgia Sea Turtle Center raises awareness of the turtle’s wildlife and habitat conservation challenges, promotes responsibility for a healthy ecosystem, and empowers individuals to act locally and globally to protect the environment. It does this through sea turtle rehabilitation, research, and education programs.

View the hospital where sea turtles are nursed back to health, see them get better at the rehabilitation pavilion, and discover how the center’s research benefits sea turtles in Georgia and worldwide.

The Georgia Sea Turtle Center Gift Shop sells sea turtle and marine life souvenirs, as well as hoodies, jewelry, toys, and handcrafted items. A percentage of the earnings from the gift store are used to support the center’s educational, rehabilitation, and research efforts. 

Prices range from $10 for guests aged 13 to 62, $9 for seniors aged 63 and above, and $8 for children aged 4 to 12. Children under the age of three are admitted free of charge.

Visitors under the age of 16 must be accompanied by someone over 18. All swimsuits must be covered according to State Health Department requirements. Shirts and shoes must be worn at all times.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Augusta, Georgia 

6. Take an eye-opening walk through the Wanderer Memory Trail

Park on Jekyll Island, Georgia

Location: St. Andrews Beach Park, Jekyll Island

Looking for free Jekyll Island activities? A walk through the Wanderer Memory Trail will be an unforgettable experience. Over 400 African children, women, and men were brought to Jekyll Island on November 28, 1858.

These prisoners were among the final groups of Africans sold into slavery in America, illegally brought aboard the Wanderer, a luxury yacht converted into a slave ship.

Internal adjustments had been made to the ship to allow hundreds of slaves to be crammed into it. The ship was ill-equipped to transport many people, and the circumstances were dangerous and horrible.

The trail, comprised of numerous displays, tells visitors the tale of Umwalla, a little African child taken to America on the ship, and his experience from captivity to freedom. The Wanderer Memory Trail has been designated as a UNESCO Slave Route Project “Site of Memory” for the arrival of the Middle Passage on Jekyll Island.

This interactive walk goes beyond a terrible period in history to highlight the legacy and significance of slavery survivors on the Georgia coast. A message of hope and liberation emerges in Umwalla’s narrative.

The Wanderer Memory Trail is specially designed to be effortlessly navigated by people of all ages and groups. Although most visits are self-guided, tours may be provided as part of special programs.

7. Play golf amid stunning surroundings at the Jekyll Island Golf Club

Golfing on Jekyll Island with Deer in the Fairway

Location: 322 Captain Wylly Rd, Jekyll Island

If you’re heading to Jekyll Island, what to do might be one of your biggest questions. Know that golfing is one of the most popular Jekyll Island activities, so if you’re raring to swing your club, take a trip to the Jekyll Island Golf Club.

This gorgeous golf club has 63 holes spread across four golf courses: Pine Lakes, Indian Mound, Oleander, and the famous Great Dunes. Jekyll Island’s coastline environment is unrivaled in its splendor, making golfing here a unforgettable experience.

Great Dunes is a challenging 9-hole golf course with a natural terrain of coastal dunes and natural terrain that hosted the Jekyll Island Club’s elite members.

Indian Mound is a Joe Lee-designed golf course that weaves through Jekyll Island’s forests, providing a beautiful environment for seeing the island’s natural beauty.

For locals, Oleander is one of the best Jekyll Island golf courses. This tough 18-hole course, designed by Dick Wilson in 1964, is embraced by pine forests and inland lakes, with multiple doglegs and small fairways to navigate.

Pine Lakes, Jekyll Island’s newest and longest golf course, winds through bird habitats and seaside woods. This golf course welcomes golfers of all ages with family-friendly tee boxes. Rates are available on the golf club’s website.

See Related: Best Golf Bachelor Party Destinations to Visit

8. Learn about the history of Jekyll Island at Mosaic Jekyll Island Museum

Mosaic Jekyll Island Museum interior and exhibit
Mosaic Jekyll Island Museum / Facebook

Location: 100 Stable Rd, Jekyll Island

The renovated Jekyll Island Museum is called Mosaic. The museum’s $3.1 million makeover and restoration feature interactive displays that examine the island’s cultural and environmental heritage.

Inside the museum, visitors may sit in the driver’s seat of a 1947 Studebaker, listen to music on the radio, and envision driving on the causeway to the newly opened Jekyll Island State Park during the 1950s. Kids also love standing aboard a yawl, a sailing vessel during the Colonial Era, inside a giant eagle’s nest, where they can put on feathered capes and felt eagle masks.

Adults, on the other hand, are drawn to exhibits of luxurious objects originally possessed by members of the Jekyll Island Club. Visitors of all ages can’t stop themselves from riding in a red “bug” through an exhibit depicting the exhilaration of driving on the island in a tiny roadster famous in the 1900s when regular motorcars were outlawed. 

All in all, Mosaic takes tourists on a journey through the island’s remarkable history, from the Native American era into the 1960s.

Visitors can peruse the upgraded gift store after touring the museum exhibit and booking a tram trip to the National Historic Landmark District. General admission is $9 for those aged 13 and over and $7 for those aged 4 to 12. Children under the age of three are admitted free of charge.

See Related: Best Museums in the US You Need to Visit

9. Play a round of tennis at the Jekyll Island Tennis Center

Location: 400 Captain Wylly Rd, Jekyll Island

Tennis is played in the Golden Isles all year. It’s one of the most famous things to do near Jekyll Island. As one of the most popular activities, courts can be found in parks and resorts around the area. However, visitors looking for more competitive play should check out the Jekyll Island Tennis Center.

This public tennis facility features 13 Har-Tru clay courts nestled amid moss-draped live oaks and bordered by groomed hedges and palmettos.

The Tennis Center also has a pro store where you can get your tennis racket strung, rent a racket or ball machine, and buy tennis equipment and clothes. The Tennis Center provides private instruction and conducts several USTA events for adults and kids.

You may get personalized coaching at the center if needed or sign up for competitions to put your talents to the test. It should be noted that reservations are necessary to play on the courts.

Court prices are $24 per hour, with racket rentals costing $5 for each session. All players must wear tennis court shoes. Street or running shoes are not allowed on the courts.

10. Enjoy the scenery by cycling around Jekyll Island

Bike on the Saltmarsh Trail in Jekyll Island, Georgia

Cycling has always been one of the most popular Jekyll Island things to do. Biking provides a pleasant way to view all of the island’s beautiful sites, with over 20 miles of lovely routes and trails. Paths zigzag past beaches, historic sites, and sand dunes with plenty of shade provided by the region’s magnificent oaks.

Travelers can get free bike path maps from the Jekyll Island Welcome Center and the Shell Road bike barn. Bike rentals on Jekyll Island are offered at several island hotels and the island’s miniature golf course. You can also check out the Jekyll Island Bike Bard for renting adult and child-sized bikes, tandem bikes, bike trailers, two and four-person surreys, dual trikes, and tricycles. 

Jekyll Wheels, conveniently located east of Jekyll Island Club’s Ballroom Veranda, is a bike rental and servicing business with a new fleet of bicycles and accompanying equipment. Guests who bring their bicycles may also be able to store them here overnight.

Where is Jekyll Island in Georgia?

Sign for Jekyll Island, Georgia

Jekyll Island is a barrier island off the coast of mainland Georgia, roughly halfway between Savannah, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida. You can reach Jekyll Island by taking the Jekyll Island Causeway which connects with U.S. 17 at the southern portion of the Sidney Lanier Bridge.

Vehicle admission to Jekyll Island requires a parking pass which may be obtained online or at the entry gate on arrival. There are single-day, multi-day, and yearly passes available to choose from.

Pedestrians and bicycles are free to enter. The current one-day parking price is $8.0*, and the 12-month parking permit is $55.00. Vehicles taller than 8 feet require a pass that costs $12.00 per day and $100.00 per year.

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