Jekyll Island, Georgia “It’s All Good!” Review
What do the Rockefellers, Morgans, Pulitzers and Rubles (yes, that’s us) have in common? We would all agree that Jekyll Island, Georgia is one of the most amazing vacation getaways in the South! In fact, for over half a century Jekyll Island was the exclusive retreat for the nation’s leading families during the Gilded Era.
Today it is easy to see why because Jekyll Island remains one of the most beautiful and unspoiled barrier islands off the coast of Georgia. As a native Floridian, I love to escape to the natural beauty of the inland marshlands and untamed beaches that really bring a sense of peace and relaxation.
I was delighted to have the opportunity recently to share the beauty of Jekyll Island, GA with my husband and children for a weekend getaway. We had the most amazing time and our trip truly began as we crossed the beautiful paved causeway over the tidal marshlands onto the island. My children immediately got excited as they noticed numerous indigenous birds and wildlife and my husband was in awe of the natural beauty that surrounded us.
We arrived at our host hotel, the Hampton Inn & Suites and I loved that this newly built hotel was surrounded by natural habitat, shade trees and the smell of ocean air. We were greeted by a friendly front desk staff that were quick with a smile and immediately welcomed us to the island. We had arrived a bit earlier than the scheduled check in time and my children were tired from the long drive. There was a lovely lobby area that had comfortable couches, tables and even a fireplace so my kids sat down to enjoy a complimentary apple and hot chocolate while my husband and I ordered a drink from the lounge. A short time later our rooms were ready and we were very impressed with our suite. It was very clean, spacious and comfortable.
After settling into our room we decided to explore the island and we did it in style. Courtesy of Red Bug Motors we were able to save gas by instead driving an electric car around the island. My husband was like a kid in a candy store when he drove the Red Bug and I have to admit it was a blast. The kids were giggling the entire time and it was such a great way to conserve gas while getting to our destinations around the island. Red Bugs are available for rent on an hourly, daily or even as a five day rental.
Our first dinner on the night of our arrival was outside on the patio at The “Rah” Bar. The staff was friendly and recommended the Wild Georgia Shrimp that was freshly caught and brought in dockside from the local shrimp boats. The huge, plump shrimp were simply superb dusted with seasoning, steamed and peeled. We also enjoyed steamed oysters and my children shared the biggest hot dog I have ever seen. We were invited back at sunset when The Rah Bar features live entertainment. After our meal, we strolled along the Historic Wharf where dolphins frolicked like a scene out of a movie.
The first night of our trip was my husband’s 40th birthday and I had been so disappointed that I had not thought ahead to bring a cake to celebrate. Imagine our appreciation when we returned to the hotel and the staff had arranged for an ice cream cake as a surprise. We had an impromptu birthday celebration with many of the other hotel guests as we all enjoyed a piece of delicious cake and sang “Happy Birthday” to my husband who beamed with pride.
Sunday morning we awoke after a restful night in the most comfortable bed (I really need one of these at home!) and went to the main lobby for a complimentary breakfast. This delicious self serve breakfast includes eggs, sausage, waffles, muffins, cereal, yogurt and oatmeal along with fresh juice, milk and coffee. We then darted off in our Red Bug electric car to play Miniature Golf that offers courses for beginners and a more challenging course. We selected the beginner’s course because it was the first time that our 3, 4 and 5 year olds had played mini golf and they loved it! Surprisingly after the first few holes they were almost doing better than my husband and I. We appreciated that the prices were very affordable ($6.08 per game or multi ticket pricing) with children ages 4 and under being free making it a great family friendly activity.
Do you like to play “real” golf? If so, Jekyll Island has three beautiful 18 hole golf courses and my husband and I can’t wait to return to the island soon so that we can play a round at the Jekyll Island Golf course.
Next door to the miniature golf course were bike rentals. Biking is an excellent way to explore Jekyll Island and there are 20 miles of nicely paved nature paths just for bikes. We were thrilled to take a ride in a specialty bike and took the designated path through the woods to the historic district. Along the way, we were treated to a lovely encounter with a vivid red cardinal who was bathing in a pool of water.
We then headed over to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center which was truly the highlight of our entire trip. In fact, I wanted to share so much of this fantastic family destination that I wrote a separate review that you can read here.
Our next adventure was a guided tram tour of the Historic District. The Passport to the Century is a 90 minute guided tour that departs from the Jekyll Island Historic Museum and includes access to one of the historic cottages. For a moment, you can almost feel as though you have been transported to another era of our history and if you let your imagination take hold you can visualize the Native Americans, English Colonists and the members of the exclusive Jekyll Island Club during the gilded era. I really appreciate the passion that motivates the ongoing restoration of the Jekyll Island Club National Historic Landmark District which is a 240 acre riverfront compound. There are also several quaint local shops that make for a lovely afternoon of browsing and shopping.
We then returned to the Hampton Inn & Suites and spent the afternoon swimming in the heated zero entry pool. I am proud to say that all three of my children practiced their swimming lessons with me and two of them really made significant progress that afternoon swimming! We then took the spectacular wooden walkway from the hotel down to the beach and the views are breathtaking. As a native Floridian, I have grown up on the Gulf coast and the Atlantic Ocean and I say with confidence that Jekyll Island, GA is truly one of the most naturally beautiful unspoiled beaches that I have ever seen. My daughter collected sea shells and we even found a few sand dollars too as my son built a sea turtle burrow “just in case a turtle might need shelter.”
That evening, my family dressed up and we headed to Latitude 31 for a night of the best seafood that my husband and I have ever eaten. I enjoyed the signature Georgia Wild Shrimp with a Fried Grit Cake and words cannot begin to describe how fresh and delicious it was. My husband insisted that there is not a better seafood linguine pasta to be found anywhere as his meal was filled with large plump scallops and shrimp in a tasty cream sauce. My children enjoyed the fried grouper kid’s meal which had the lightest, tastiest batter surrounding hunks of fresh fish. The desserts were simply scrumptious as we sampled the Key Lime Pie (sorry Florida but this was REALLY good!) and a chocolate cake. The views from our table of the river were so pretty at sunset and the service of our waiter was attentive and very friendly. I would drive all the way back to Jekyll Island just to eat another dinner at Latitude 31 alone.
We left to return home to Florida on Monday and it is no exaggeration to say that my children staged a protest complete with tears that they did not want to leave Jekyll Island. I reassured them that there was so much more for us to see on the island and I promised them that we would return again soon. On our next trip, I would love to visit the following locations:
My husband and I both agree that Jekyll Island, GA is a wonderful and affordable destination for families. We also met several couples who were visiting for a romantic weekend (sigh…we were so jealous) along with a wedding party who was staying at our hotel. Without a doubt we will be returning to Jekyll Island and I can only hope that our children continue to appreciate the natural and unspoiled beauty of our coastal beaches so that these magnificent islands and historic areas can be preserved into the future.
To learn more about Jekyll Island, GA or to plan your next trip you are invited to visit the Jekyll Island Authority website to get started now……I promise you won’t be disappointed!
*I received an all-expenses paid trip to Jekyll Island, GA to facilitate this review. The opinions expressed are based only on my experience.*