To be so small in size, Jekyll Island is large on fitness opportunities for those desiring to have a camping vacation. Off the Georgia coast, Jekyll is halfway between Savannah, Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida. A six-mile causeway leads into Jekyll, one of Georgia's many barrier islands. Campers will find an abundance of activities, challenging them not only physically but also mentally as they explore Jekyll's storied past and ecological endeavors through nature centers, museums and tours.
In 1738, the London Trustees of the Colony of Georgia allowed Major William Horton to own Jekyll Island. Horton was one of the top military aides to General James Oglethorpe, founder of the Georgia colony, who arrived in Savannah in 1733. The house built by Horton in 1743 later became the home of Jekyll Island's next owners from 1790 to 1886--the DuBignon family. Then in 1886, Jekyll Island was purchased and developed to become a winter retreat for some of America's elite families--the Rockefellers, Pulitzers, Morgans, Goodyears and Goulds.
Campground Location and Amenities
On 18 wooded acres, there are 206 campsites to accommodate tents or full hook-up, pull-through RV sites with electricity, cable TV, water and sewage. This site is opposite the Clam Creek picnic area on the northern tip of the island. Camping supplies and a general store are nearby. Like Robin Williams in "RV," you won't need to go to extremes to find a signal for your computer. Wi-Fi and DSL Internet are offered free to registered guests. Restrooms, showers, laundry, computer port, meeting room and courtesy phone are all located adjacent to the handicapped parking area behind the office / store.
Summer Waves Water Park is open from May until mid-September on the southern end of the island. Attractions on the 11 acres include a wave pool, lazy river, a kiddie pool area, a dumping bucket and tube rides.
Golf, tennis, soccer, lacrosse, kayak tours, nature walks, dolphin tours, fishing charters, sailing trips, biking, horseback riding and miniature golf are among the varied activities that involve physical challenges. Jekyll Island is Georgia's largest public golf resort with 63 holes on a nine-hole course and three 18-hole courses. With 13 clay courts, the Jekyll Island Tennis Center was chosen by "Tennis Magazine" as one of the 25 Best Municipal Tennis Facilities in the nation and won the USTA Outstanding Tennis Facility Award. The Jekyll Island Soccer Complex is also available for lacrosse and other tournaments and programs.
The University of Georgia 4-H Tidelands Nature Center offers kayak tours and nature walks. Walk or jog along 10 miles of beaches on this barrier island. Jekyll Harbor Marina offers dolphin tours, fishing charters, kayak tours and sailing trips. Bike along more than 20 miles of paved trails--either solo or on a covered surrey for five. Horseback riding begins across from the campground at Clam Creek picnic area. Miniature golf offers two courses next to the bike rentals in the center of the island.
Around 20 restaurants and other eating establishments are found on Jekyll. Seafood restaurants include Blackbeard's on the beach with early bird specials and a Saturday seafood buffet; Driftwood Bistro with Low Country seafood cuisine; Latitude 31 on the Historical Jekyll Wharf on the Jekyll River; The "Rah" Bar behind Latitude 31 with oysters, shrimp and low country boil; SeaJays, home of the original "low country boil," in the Jekyll Harbor Marina; and Zachry's Seafood Restaurant with fresh, local fish, shrimp, oysters, scallops and deviled crabs.
Restaurants that may appeal to children are Cafe Solterra in the Jekyll Island Club Hotel--a bakery-delicatessen, serving Starbucks Coffee, homemade soups, pizza, desserts and ice cream; Larry's Giant Subs--opened seasonally at Summer Waves Water Park; Red Bug Motors Pizza and Pub next to the miniature golf courses--with pizza, pasta, hoagies and wraps; and Zach's Eats and Treats with pizzas, hot dogs, subs, soups, bagels, muffins, brownies, cookies, ice cream, shakes and sundaes.
Sports-oriented eateries include Morgan's Bar and Grill on the golf course; Sandbar and Grill with seven flat-screen HD TVs, pool tables and games to complement breakfast, lunch and dinner entrees--also including fresh, local seafood and daily specials; and Time Out Sports Grill, boasting of 19 HD TVs to go along with its seafood and other breakfast, lunch and dinner entrees.
In Jekyll's historic district are the Grand Dining Room at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel--known for its Sunday brunch and seafood and southern cuisine and Courtyard at Crane with a wine menu and a menu that changes quarterly.
When driving or biking around the island, be careful of the many deer who may attempt to cross your path. From May through August, sea turtles build their nests among the dunes. Anyone who sees a nest being disturbed or not marked is asked to contact the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on the southern end of the island. Visitors also are asked to contact the center if they see a sea turtle on the beach or floating in the ocean that has not moved within 30 minutes or more. He may have been injured by a fishing line or a boat propellor. Opened in 2007, the $3 million center exists as a hospital to treat ill and injured sea turtles that are designated as threatened species by state and federal law. With low admission rates, the center also is open for tours to help the public better understand how to protect sea turtles.