Last week our family spend a rainy vacation at Jekyll Island, GA. This was our first visit to this gem of an island. We wanted to go because we read about the paved bike trails around the entire island (for the entire family), knew it was on the beach (duh!), and it had a good campground where we could park our sweet 1978 Airstream (named Maddy.)
Jekyll Island has paved bike trails that run along the ocean, through marshes, along an early residence, and right into the historic town. The trails are well maintained, smooth, and flat. With no hills to fight, our youngest easily navigated the Northern part of the island, but when he tired, the trails easily accommodated our wide bike trailer.
Trails start right from the campground and we could very easily bike to the ocean, stores, fun, and food. Even in mild rain we rode around just fine as some trails have excellent tree cover. I mention the bike trails first because they happily dominated our trip. I’m proud to say we all rode at least a few miles a day. When our little guy tired our oldest just kept right on pedaling. He rode the entire 13 miles island loop our last day and each other day at least 5 miles! Our youngest also learned to ride on two wheels from all of our expeditions! Exciting for our family indeed.
The campground was spacious, peaceful and quiet. Also, the staff was very helpful when I called begging for a ladder. We needed to throw a tarp up on top of our trailer to block small rain leaks. (Did I mention it rained a lot?) The campground is located at the top of the island near the fishing wharf (a short walk), three different bike trails, and very near the ocean. The Spanish moss dangling from the trees really gave this beachy, swampy stop a lazy feel which is perfect for a relaxing vacation. I includes some pics of our Airstream because I must when I get the chance.
Driftwood Beach is at the Northern part of the island and I think the best beach. It’s accessible no matter the tide and provided so much exploring. Little tide pools are temporary homes to an abundance of hermit crabs. We also enjoyed the dead trees, ocean breeze, and ship traffic at this beach. The ocean is accessible along the whole edge of the island, however, most of it has large rock walls that prevent any sand exploring come high tide. We were close to the driftwood beach and were happy to stay there.
Jekyll Island used to be owned by the Astors, Vanderbilts, Morgans, and many wealthy families everyone knows. In 1886 they came together and bought the island from a man who wanted to farm it. They built the Jekyll Island Club which was not large enough to house everyone so “cottages” popped up along the bay. One “cottage” features 17 bathrooms. They all stand beautifully as a national landmark you can cycle through today.
Also, on the Northern part of the island you can also drive by an earlier home called the Horton House and a cemetery.
Jekyll Island is a sea turtle nursery and features a sea turtle hospital, entitled the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. This short stop was perfect for one of our rainy afternoons. I have never seen sea turtles so closely or people who care about their health so much. The boys enjoyed seeing the newly hatched terrapins (local to the island) and the beautiful sea turtle patients.
Also, beyond the hermit crabs and sea turtles, Jekyll Island has dolphins. We set out on a dolphin cruise the sunniest day we had. My oh my, we were surrounded by a huge pod of dolphins including adorable babies. They sure don’t like to sit still for photos, but were so beautiful that looking through the lens would have stolen my fun. We saw at least 30 dolphins up just near our boat. My seasickness was worth our boys’ smiles for sure!
Despite our misty, rainy weather we had a wonderful time. I’m so happy we chose this stop and our happiness on our bikes has inspired a new plan, every vacation much include paved bike trails!