Have you ever heard of the Golden Isles? If not, here is your sign to plan your next beach trip to Georgia, where the barrier islands take you back in time. Jekyll Island is the southernmost barrier island that make up the Golden Isles, an it is truly a bucket list destination. Once a haven for some of America’s wealthiest families, Jekyll Island was purchased by the state of Georgia in the 1950s.
Now, Jekyll Island can be enjoyed by all, and there is something for everyone. Development on the island is limited in order to preserve the ecosystem, making your visit feel that much more exclusive (you won’t see crowds here). Southern laid back atmosphere awaits you from the moment you pass the ornate Spanish-style entrance towers on the causeway.
I have compiled a list of the three A’s: Accommodations, Adventures, and Appetite! If you have any questions about Jekyll Island or our trip please send me an email!
Jekyll Island is a peaceful and small barrier island with a range of accommodations. Our family stayed at The Westin Jekyll Island, a four-star luxury resort. Where do I even begin? The hotel itself is gorgeous, from the decor to the location (hint hint – it is beachfront baby!). The Westin is centrally located, within walking distance of delicious food and local shopping (and when I say walking distance, I mean it is literally right in the center of it all). Jekyll Island is a biking town, being so small you can bike everywhere. The Westin has bike rentals conveniently out front, and they also have children’s seats and helmets available.
We had two joining rooms: each with two queen beds, a refrigerator, and a balcony overlooking the gorgeous courtyard and beach. Our trip here was the start of our 10 day road trip, and I can confidently say these were the most comfortable beds of the whole trip! I can also happily say this luxury resort was very family friendly. The staff offered a warm smile and genuinely stopped to ask how their day has been.
We visited in the spring, and I would argue that is the best time to come. Why? The flowers, the temperature, the overall vibe! It is warm (not hot) and the flowers are blooming EVERYWHERE. The Westin looked like something out of a painting, and it was hard not to stop and take a photo every step. There is oceanfront dining as well, but more about that later!
Less than a mile away you can find The Westin’s sister hotel, The Courtyard Jekyll Island. The Courtyard is the newest hotel on Jekyll Island and everything is top notch . They boast the largest pool on the island, and our kids had way too much fun playing here. The Courtyard is also oceanfront and is incredibly family friendly.
Driftwood Beach – Be prepared to keep saying “wow” when you visit Driftwood Beach. This is unlike anything I have ever seen before, and was an incredible playground for kids and adults alike. Park your car and walk down an unassuming path that opens up to a picturesque escape to another world. Massive driftwood trees cover this beach. Bring a chair, sunscreen, hammock, and some bug spray (they can get bad if the wind is low). Oh, and don’t forget your camera – you will want to remember this place!
Georgia Sea Turtle Center – Jekyll Island is somewhat of a sea turtle haven, complete with its own sea turtle education and rehabilitation facility. Come get a first-hand interactive experience, from education and research to actually meeting the turtles. There is a large glass window allowing the public to watch procedures done by medical staff (we were able to watch some get vaccines).
Walk outside to the sea turtle hospital to meet the patients and see feedings. The staff is very knowledgeable and it is an amazing experience to see all the efforts being done here. I will also add the grounds are covered with stunning live oaks and Spanish moss – swoon!
The MOSAIC (Jekyll Island Historic Museum) – The historic Club Stables, is now the home of the MOSAIC. Here you can learn all about the history of Jekyll Island, from the very beginning. It is an interactive museum that is a great education resource for both children and adults. You can also take the Trolly Tour which leaves from this museum. I would highly recommend this, as it was very informative and a great way to get around town. You were also able to go into one of the historic homes, which really puts their wealth into perspective! The trolly tour was a little over an hour – so bring snacks for the kiddos.
Mini Golf – Is it even a beach vacation without mini golf? Take a bike ride to Jekyll Island Mini Golf for a morning (or afternoon) of fun. The mini golf course is located next to a beautiful playground – perfect for getting the kids energy out.
Faith Chapel – Included with our trolly tour was a ticket to Faith Chapel, and I highly recommend stepping inside for a look at the stain glass windows. One is a Tiffany that was created by Tiffany himself. The animal carvings add a touch of whimsy to the interior, and the architecture is beautiful. Club members of Jekyll Island were required to attend church every Sunday morning here.
The Reserve – Located in the Westin, the Reserve is an oceanfront steakhouse that serves up delicious American cuisine. This is an upscale restaurant, yet super child friendly (not something you see every day). We ate here twice it was so delicious, and everything was cooked to perfection. The kitchen is open so you can see all the action – a nice touch! I highly recommend everything we had – from the sea scallops to seared tuna and Ribeye steak! There is a separate children’s menu, and the portions are large.
The Westin Cafe – Need some Starbucks coffee or tea to start your day? The Westin Cafe is the perfect stop in the morning for your pick-me-up! We enjoyed tea here every morning, followed by walking outside among the flowers to the sound of the ocean, pure perfection!
Shore – Located at Courtyard Jekyll Island, Shore is a great option for family friendly laid back dining with great food. We sat al fresco listening to the wind in the palm trees and waves crashing. In from of our table was a grassy area with lawn games for the kids to play while we waited for our food. There was also live music, a lovely ambiance. I highly recommend the pizza!
Sunrise Grille – Directly across the street you can find Sunrise Grille, a local breakfast spot. The food is well priced and delicious, a perfect place to fuel up before your day!
Love Shack – Located inside Jekyll Market you can find regional seafood and BBQ dishes. I got the fried shrimp plate and it did not disappoint!
Until next time…