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10 Things to Explore at Jekyll Island

A sea turtle resident at Georgia Sea Turtle Center
A sea turtle resident at Georgia Sea Turtle Center
Georgia Sea Turtle Center

Just an hour north of Jacksonville, escape to one of South Georgia’s most interesting barrier islands for a day of outdoor fun. Jekyll Island features 10 miles of beautiful white sandy shoreline and a host of activities to explore nature, cool down and learn about the natural ecosystem.

1. Enjoy a picnic at Great Dunes
Grab sandwiches at the deli in town and head to Great Dunes Park, a 20-acre beachfront park. Work of lunch on the park’s bocce ball and volleyball courts. If you’re traveling with bikes, the park also offers some great biking paths.

2. Visit the gothic tree graveyard at Driftwood Beach
This stretch of beach, filled with driftwood and vast ocean views, is haunting yet pristine, and makes a great locale to shoot some unique family photos.

3. Go “on location” at Glory Beach
The Civil War film “Glory” was filmed here, thus the name “Glory Beach.” The film’s stars, Matthew Broderick, Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington, all spent time along the boardwalk of this famed area.

4. Collect a few seashells
Jekyll Island’s natural, sandy beaches are prime shelling territory, offering some rather unique finds as the tide ebbs and flows.

5. Cool off at Summer Waves
This coastal water park features nine wet and wild rides, six water slides, a lazy river, wave pool, and kiddie area. Admission prices are Adults: $19.95; juniors under 48”: $15.95; and children under 3 are free. Summer Waves is located at 210 South Riverview Drive on Jekyll Island.

6. Learn about sea turtles
The Georgia Sea Turtle Center runs rehabilitation, research and educational programs about these endangered sea creatures and their environment. Guests can view sea turtle operations in action, observe the creatures in their rehabilitation tanks, and participate in hands-on, educational activities.

7. Take an eco-excursion tour
Enjoy a guided tour of nature’s paradise including educational turtle walks. These walks are conducted in the evenings during nesting season.

8. Get your hands dirty at Tidelands Nature Center
Touch and feel marine life in touch-tanks, take a kayak trip through Jekyll wetlands, rent a canoe and take guided nature walks.

9. Kayak among the manatees
Jekyll Island is a haven for boaters and kayakers. Explore the unspoiled waters and keep an eye out of manatees and dolphin.

10. Pick up a few souvenirs
Stroll through the Jekyll Island National Historic Landmark District where you’ll find all kinds of shops and cafes to take home memories of your visit.