Jekyll Island with Kids

Jekyll Island with KidsSue Rodman is the publisher of Field Trips with Sue, an award-winning blog about things to do in Atlanta with kids.

Jekyll Island, Georgia was once the winter escape for some of America’s richest families. Members of the Jekyll Island Club, as it was called, included William Rockefeller, Joseph Pulitzer, J.P. Morgan and William Vanderbilt.

Now the Island is a playground for the public and offers a variety of activities ranging from environmental education to plain old fashion beach fun.  Here are five things my family likes to do there.

1. Learn some history

In addition to being the winter retreat for some of America’s most elite families, Jekyll Island has also played a significant part in America’s history. In 1910, Senator William Alrich convened a secret meeting of financiers on Jekyll Island to create a proposal for banking reform that was the forerunner of today’s Federal Reserve. Theodore Vail, the president of AT&T participated in the first transcontinental telephone call while at Jekyll Island.

Today, the Jekyll Island Club National Historic Landmark District is a 240-acre, riverfront compound and one of the largest, ongoing restoration projects in the southeastern United States. Visit the Jekyll Island Museum which showcases more than 7,000 historic photographs of the islands unique heritage.

tidelands nature center on family friendly jekyll island2. Make some fishy friends

The Tidelands Nature Center is operated by 4-H and offers hands-on marine environmental science programs. In addition to a small collection of sea animals in the center they offer kayak tours, nature walks and special hands-on programs for kids.

We participated in an identifying fish program and my kids are still singing the parts of a fish song to the tune of “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.”

3. Check out the turtles

Stranded sea turtles are often found along Atlantic coast beaches. While most are dead, a small but increasing number are still alive. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is a haven for these sick or injured turtles. In addition to the sea turtle hospital, the center is also a museum. Exhibits explore sea turtle conservation, rehabilitation, and their amazing journey from egg to adulthood. Visitors can also see the turtles being rehabilitated or adopt one and track it’s progress. Check out the special weekly programs including turtle walks during the season.

4. Catch a wave

If you need a break from the beach and are looking for a little more excitement than the hotel pool, try Summer Waves Water Park. In addition to a huge wave pool there are slides of various heights, a lazy river and play structures with dumping water.

5. Beach yourself

Driftwood Beach, also known as Boneyard Beach is along the northern end of Jekyll Island. The name comes from the remains of many trees which have been preserved by the salt air and water from the ocean. It’s a beautifully eerie place and the kids loved running and climbing on the gray trees. I loved the beautiful photos.



  1. says

    Another great activity for parents and kids – flying kites on the beach. Whether your standard diamond kite or a fancy Delta wing kite, a beach is a great place for kite flying. And Jekyll Island’s flat, uncrowded beaches are some of the best.

    Other activities kids will love – horseback riding through Victoria’s Carriages and Trail Rides; tennis at the Tennis Center; 20 miles of bike trails. Plus, don’t forget the many festivals Jekyll Island has throughout the year that have plenty of kid-friendly activities.

  2. says

    Hope you’ll give Savannah a try with the kids. Great little book, “Savannah Safari” helps small children find the dolphins, lions, etc., in the architecture of historic Savannah. Kite flying in Forsyth Park or Tybee Island beach, waist-high photography at the Savannah Wildlife Refuge (alligators, birds, colonial era rice canals), canoeing along Ebenezer Creek (ancient cyprus and blackwaters), railroads, feeding squirrels and pigeons in the squares, old fashion ice cream at Leopold’s Ice Cream and a stop at the neighborly bookstore, E. Shaver. I gave one of my granddaughters a camera for the day and she was buy photographing people and their pets, loved the history, the kite, the bookstore and telling about it later. Amethyst Inn at Sarah’s Garden is a family-friendly inn, great folks, and there’s a private pool.

  3. says

    Savannah Grandmother, this tour of Savannah sounds great. I’ve been to Savannah several times,(mostly without kids) but I’ve never done ANY of these things. My list of things to do is growing. Thanks for sharing.

  4. says

    Those pictures and videos are really awesome. Thanks for sharing! Jekyll Island is really nice place and we had twice tour and no doubt it extremely great place for family vacation tour. There is huge variety of accommodation options on the island, and four golf courses.

  5. says

    Great post, love the videos! Georgia is a beautiful state and Jekyll Island sounds like a great family destination. I’ve never even heard of it before so this is welcomed information. Thanks for sharing such useful tips!


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