Slow down the pace at Jekyll Island where historical charm and coastal beauty captivate all ages. The historical district, also known as the “millionaire’s village,” holds fascinating tales of its early habitants and their luxurious lifestyles. The good news is you know longer need to be a millionaire to enjoy the island, which is now a great family destination. It is one of four barrier islands in Georgia, offering ten miles of island coastline and tidal marshlands.
The Historic District
Majestic oaks adorned with Spanish Moss shade the winding paths within the historical district. Prominent cottages were custom built from the late 1800s to early 1900s by some of the nations most elite magnates, offering escape from frigid temperatures up North. They were initially drawn to the area for its distinct beauty as well as the gaming and hunting. The first coast to coast telephone call was made from the island by Theodore Vail, president of AT&T. But perhaps more notable, a secret society gathered at this island to reform the banking system, establishing the roots of the Federal Reserve System. Narrated tours bring to life the compelling tales of the island’s homeowners and frequent visitors.
The wife of congressman Henry Kirke Porter, who owned Mistletoe Cottage, loved to throw parties. A photo taken in on a hot summer day shows some of the guests wearing their wool dresses at one of the soirees. Crisp white linen tablecloths were placed on the grass to protect the bottom of guest’s skirts from grass stains.
The illustrious Jeckyll Island Club Resort is the pinnacle of the Historic District, built in 1886 as a private club. The club is a historical landmark, showcasing the regal Grand Dining Room.
Jeckyll Island is home to Georgia Sea Turtle Center, the states only rehabilitation center for endangered turtles. It is heartwarming seeing dedicated staff teaching about and preserving wildlife. A glass window separates guests from the operating table where vets care for the wounded.
Thrillseekers can get in another type of water fun at Summer Waves Water Park. From a lazy river ride to steep water slides, all ages will be entertained. The park offers stunning views of the Jekyll River.
Additional island activities include the 4-H Tidelands Nature Center, Jekyll Island Museum, miniature golf and miniature golf.
The appeal of the island is its remote location, off of the fast track of the highly frequented coastal destinations. The iconic Driftwood Beach offers some of the most unique and amazing views in the country. Massive trees have embarked onto the beach, painting bold silhouettes against the ocean backdrop. Do wear sandals as the sand is a scorcher.
The place to stay is the Holiday Inn Resort, right on the ocean. Kid and pet friendly, it’s a conducive beachfront property for the entire family. Highly recommended is an ocean view suite with a private balcony. For a spacious option, the Kid’s Suite includes bunk beds, a separate bedroom for parents, as well as a kitchenette with a refrigerator, microwave and cooktop. Most rooms have ocean views and all the suites include private balconies with views of the Atlantic Ocean. There are two places to eat, a casual beachside bar called Anchor and the Beach House. Recommended at the Beach House are the seared scallops cooked in apple brandy, sitting on top of risotto and spinach. The seafood chowder is another hit, rich and flavorful with generous bites of scallops, shrimp. Save room for the keylime mousse.
There is a breakfast buffet as well, offering something for everyone. It’s an ideal setting offering ocean views from the porch.
Rent a bike at the resort and explore along the island’s 25 miles of trails. The Beach Village, just two miles away, has a grocery store and restaurants. Down the road is Tortuga Jacks, a great tex mex spot, with an outdoor bar facing the ocean and adjacent to marshland.
For more information:
Holiday Inn Resort