The southernmost island of the Golden Isles, Jekyll Island is one of the most popular islands for those who visit coastal Georgia. This 5,500-acre island is home to 10 miles of shoreline and a variety of events, family-friendly activities, and attractions. From the iconic Driftwood Beach to the island's historical homes, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, and more, Jekyll Island has something for everyone.
Planning a trip? Read on below for more information about Jekyll Island's rich history and the variety of things to do and see. Plus, you can find out more about Jekyll Island weather before you plan your next escape—the island is particularly pleasant in spring and fall!
How to Access Jekyll Island (Fee)
Jekyll Island is reachable via the Jekyll Island Causeway which intersects with U.S. 17 at the southern end of the Sidney Lanier Bridge. Vehicle entry to Jekyll Island requires a parking pass that must be purchased online in advance or at the entry gate upon arrival on the island. Single, multi-day, and annual passes are available. Bicycles and pedestrians can enter at no charge. Current auto access fees are $8.00* for one day and $75.00 for a 12-month parking pass. The fee for oversized vehicles (over 8 feet tall) is $12.00/day and $120.00/year. If you have any questions regarding your annual pass or any additional questions please call 912-635-3636.
*Please be aware of potentially increased parking fees due to special events.
Jekyll Island History
Jekyll Island's history begins some 3,500 years ago. Prior to British colonization, the island's 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. Or, revisit the past 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. Enjoy 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.
The island's beaches are also ideal for shelling. Visit Driftwood Beach and St. Andrews Beach for the best shot at scoring some shells.
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 Events
There is so much to do and see throughout the year in Jekyll Island. Enjoy signature events on Jekyll Island every year like the Turtle Crawl, which benefits the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, the Paulk Cup Classic, a combination of golf, food and fun, and the Jekyll Island Shrimp & Grits Festival, a favorite among foodies! Run into the chilly Atlantic in support of the sea turtles at the Cold-Stunned Plunge, or enjoy the holiday festivities of Holly Jolly Jekyll. Whether you're looking to get a taste of the local culture, enjoy the beautiful Jekyll Island beaches and landscape or celebrate the holidays with loved ones, there are plenty of Jekyll Island events to enjoy.
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. Enjoy water views at Tortuga Jack's or The Wharf, local flavors at Beach House, or a grab-and-go treat to start your day at The Pantry.
Check out more of the best restaurants on Jekyll Island.
Accommodations & Shopping on Jekyll Island
Accommodations are invitingly varied and include a grand historic hotel, oceanfront hotels, and even beachside camping at the Jekyll Island Campground. Find lodging on Jekyll Island and be sure to check the current specials and packages on Jekyll Island!
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!
Jekyll Island FAQ
Where is Jekyll Island?
Jekyll Island is one of the barrier islands of the Golden Isles, located off the coast of Georgia.
How do you get to Jekyll Island?
Jekyll Island is reachable via the Jekyll Island Causeway which intersects with U.S. 17 at the southern end of the Sidney Lanier Bridge.
Do you have to pay to enter Jekyll Island?
Vehicle entry to Jekyll Island requires a parking pass that you can purchase online in advance or at the gate upon arrival. Daily passes are $8/day and annual passes are $75/year.
Where do the locals eat on Jekyll Island?
With plenty of dining on Jekyll Island, you'll never go hungry. A few local favorite spots are The Wharf, Beach House and Tortuga Jack's.
Are pets allowed on Jekyll Island?
Yes, however they must be under control of their owners and on a leash no longer than 16' at all times. No pets are allowed on South Beach between South Dunes Beach Park and 2000 feet northeast of St. Andrews Park. Pets should be kept off of the dunes.
What should I do on Jekyll Island?
From beach hopping to kayaking to bike riding, there's plenty to do on Jekyll Island. Check out all of the Jekyll Island activities.
Where should I stay on Jekyll Island?
Jekyll Island is home to many hotels, resorts and vacation rentals. Find your perfect place to stay.
How far is Jekyll Island from Atlanta?
Jekyll Island is around 320 miles from Atlanta, around a 4.5 hour drive.
How far is Jekyll Island from St. Simons Island?
Jekyll Island is around 14 miles from St. Simons Island, just about a 20-30 minute drive.
Where should I camp on Jekyll Island?
Try the Jekyll Island Campground, located on the northern tip of the island. The campground’s 18 wooded acres include 206 campsites, including tent sites and full hookup RV sites with electricity, cable TV, water, and sewerage.
What's the weather like on Jekyll Island?
Coastal Georgia is a desirable vacation destination all year round. The weather on Jekyll Island is particularly beautiful in the spring and fall. April and May see average high temperatures in the mid-70s and low 80s. October and November can be a bit cooler with temperatures in the 60s.
How far of a drive is Jekyll Island from Savannah, St. Mary's, Jacksonville and Hilton Head?
Savannah, GA: 1 hour 30 minutes
St. Mary's, GA: 50 minutes
Jacksonville, FL: 1 hour 15 minutes
Hilton Head, SC: 2 hours