The southernmost island of the Golden Isles, Jekyll Island was purchased in 1886 by a group of wealthy families as a private retreat. By 1900, The Jekyll Island Club membership included the Rockefellers, Morgans, Cranes and Goulds and represented over one-sixth of the world’s wealth. The Club closed in 1942 and Jekyll Island was purchased by the State of Georgia in 1947.
Today, this era of Jekyll Island’s history can be dramatically revisited with a tram tour of the National Historic Landmark District, including many of the opulent mansions their millionaire owners called “cottages”. Jekyll Island offers an abundance of recreational activities that are sure to please visitors of all ages. A variety of amenities including: ten miles of white sand beaches, 63 holes of golf, an outdoor tennis complex, a waterpark, fishing pier, nature centers, 20 miles of bike trails and the Georgia Sea Turtle Center are enough to keep any visitor busy. Accommodations are invitingly varied and include a grand historic hotel, oceanfront properties and even camping. Jekyll Island, once a haven for America’s elite, now beckons to all.
The island will boast three new hotels, an all-new beachfront convention center (with more than 78,000 square feet of function space), a beautifully redesigned gateway corridor to the island, a beach village shopping and dining district and many more enhancements. Owned by the State of Georgia and managed by the Jekyll Island Authority, the island’s development is limited to just 35 percent of the available land area to preserve the critical barrier island ecosystem. Great lengths have been taken to honor this ratio while the highly anticipated revitalization of Jekyll Island moves forward.