Jekyll Island in Georgia bills itself as “…a beautiful blend of serenity and discovery,” and they are not wrong. With long beaches and historic ruins, the island is located just a few miles from St. Simons Island, Sea Island and Brunswick. The island boasts multiple lodging options, including the beautiful Jekyll Island Club Resort where we were fortunate to stay for a few days.
It was a long drive from Ocean City, Maryland to the island, but it was well worth the drive. We arrived late at night due to traffic issues, so I didn’t have a chance to really see the property when we got there. What I did find on my arrival were friendly, helpful staff members. It was almost midnight and we were treated as if we had arrived in the middle of the day. The facility our room was located in was in the historic hotel. The next day I was told there are tales of hauntings in that facility–I am grateful that they didn’t tell us that night! We were exhausted after our drive, so off to sleep we went.
The next morning was a glorious day, sunny and warm, and I finally was able to get a good look at the property where we were staying. As I looked around the room, I was transported to a time long past. There was a fireplace in my room–something you rarely see anymore–and pictures that documented the hotel’s history. Directly off the room was an enclosed porch with a beautiful view of lush lawns and moss covered trees.
We could not wait to get outside and explore the island but first we needed some nourishment. We had several breakfast options, including a sit down formal restaurant and a market pantry. Because we were anxious to start out we chose the pantry. What a great choice! Breakfast sandwiches made to order, yogurt parfaits, fruit, oatmeal and some of the most beautiful pastries I have ever seen were our choices. I knew we had an adventurous day ahead so I stayed away from the sugar and chose the breakfast sandwich (they even had gluten free bread). My toddler chose the yogurt parfait. It was delicious. An added plus were the porches that seemed to go on forever, connecting one building to another.
I have always had an interest in sea turtles, and Jekyll Island happens to be the home of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, a research, education and rescue center located right on property. It was within walking distance, but my daughter and I were anxious to get there so the bellman offered us a ride in the golf cart. My daughter loved it.
For a nominal fee we learned about the sea turtles up close and personal. We peered through glass windows at the treatment center and watched the staff feed the turtles. There is a separate area with huge tanks that are temporary homes for rescued sea turtles as they heal from injuries and or illness. The sea turtles were a big hit with both my daughter and me.
My daughter wanted to touch and “pet” the turtles, but that is not permitted so we were off to the 4H Tidelands Nature Center which is managed by the University of Georgia Extension Office. It is situated on the water, and is a little more interactive. She was able to hold a hermit crab, and she didn’t say a word when it pinched her. We enjoyed some more mealtime observations with the turtles and some hands-on fun with small land and sea creatures.
Now it was time for us to become sea creatures and go check out the beach. We were originally slated for a quick one night stay, but because there was still so much to see, the resort staff worked their magic to extend our stay another night, and were even able to keep us in the same room. So now we could spend the entire afternoon enjoying the beach.
We took another courtesy shuttle to the beach club resort, with the beach right outside the door. I walked to where the umbrellas and chairs were to find out how much they cost, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that these comforts were provided for the guests at no charge. Now for an afternoon of fun and sun!
The tide had provided a sandbar with a pool of water for the little one to play in. Thank you Mother Nature! There was another mom sitting next to us with two children, slightly older that mine. These children were a delight and they became fast friends playing in the sea pool and waves.
Sea shells, waves and sun–what more could two beach loving girls ask for? A salt water pool, that’s what! My toddler had started swim lessons before we began our adventure so the pool was the perfect time to practice her skills. She loves the pool as do I. A little play and a little learning and we were ready to go back to the beach for just a bit before going back to our resort to get ready for dinner.
As little ones do, she played hard in the sun and it made her really tired, so she fell asleep while on the shuttle back to the hotel after just telling me she did not need a nap. This actually gave this working mom some time to get some work completed before dinner.
We made reservations at the Wharf, one on the on-site restaurants. This restaurant is a great choice for casual atmosphere, great food and beautiful sunsets. We sat on the deck, a perfect place to watch the sun set while we ate–crab cakes for me, and a burger for my daughter. There was a pier and boat dock accessible from the restaurant, which were great for for picture taking. After we filled our bellies and took some amazing pictures we were off to see what else we could get into.
We went back to the beach and while walking in the evening air were able to see fireworks that were part of a convention on property. We went back to the room for a bath and some needed sleep, wishing we had a week or two to stay on Jekyll Island. There is so much to do: bike trails, water activities, horse back riding, camps, boating…we will definitely be back!