The southernmost island of the Golden Isles, Jekyll Island is one of the most popular islands for Golden Isles visitors, hosting a wide variety of family-friendly activities and attractions. This 5,500-acre island and its 10 miles of shoreline is beautiful to visit any time of year, but it is particularly beautiful in the spring and fall. Find out more about Jekyll Island weather averages before you plan your next escape!
Jekyll Island History
Jekyll Island's history begins some 3,500 years ago. Prior to British colonization, the islands first inhabitants were Native Americans. General James Oglethorpe founded the colony of Georgia in 1733, and along with it, Jekyll Island. The island was named for Sir Joseph Jekyll, a financial supporter of the colony.
Major William Horton was appointed by General Oglethorpe to build an outpost on Jekyll Island to protect Fort Frederica on St. Simons Island. The island was home to prosperous plantations until the end of the Civil War.
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. Learn more about the rich history of Jekyll Island, Georgia.
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."
Things to Do on Jekyll Island
Jekyll Island offers an abundance of recreational activities that are sure to please visitors of all ages. A variety of amenities include ten miles of white sand beaches, 63 holes of golf, an outdoor tennis complex, the Summer Waves Water park, a fishing pier, Jekyll Island dolphin tours, horseback riding tours, nature centers, 20 miles of bike trails and the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.
In addition, since the island is owned by the State of Georgia and managed by the Jekyll Island Authority, the island’s development is limited to just 1,609 acres 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. Since most of the island is protected, there is also plenty of nature and wildlife to explore! All the family-friendly activities on Jekyll Island are enough to keep any visitor busy!
Too much to choose from? Try one of the island's guided tours, build your trip from a suggested itinerary to help you decide where to start on this unique island, or check out our five favorite things to do on Jekyll Island.
Jekyll Island Restaurants
Find fresh seafood, area favorites and more throughout Jekyll Island. From sit-down fare to quick southern favorites, you won't be at a loss for dining options on Jekyll Island. Find the best restaurants on Jekyll Island.
Accommodations & Shopping on Jekyll Island
Accommodations are invitingly varied and include a grand historic hotel, oceanfront hotels and other properties and even beach side camping at the Jekyll Island Campground. Find lodging on Jekyll Island, and be sure to check the current specials and packages on Jekyll Island!
The island will soon 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.
Jekyll Island offers diverse shopping, from upscale boutiques to souvenir shops and more. Find some of the best shopping on Jekyll Island.
View a map of Jekyll Island to help orient yourself before your trip!