With summer vacation on everyone’s mind, more and more people right now are working intently on meticulous travel plans that they hope will accommodate every generation in the family.
The trend toward travel with the extended family in tow is continuing to accelerate, studies indicate. According to recent research commissioned by Jekyll Island and conducted by OnePoll, nearly three-quarters of the parents surveyed took at least one multigenerational family trip in the previous year and approximately the same amount hoped to take more multigenerational trips in the future.
In the OnePoll survey, 2,000 American parents were asked about the ways they recreate their childhood vacation memories and the kinds of trips they’re now taking with their families.
Beach locations and road trips topped the list of preferred multigenerational vacation destinations and modes of transportation, respectively. Outdoor opportunities were overwhelmingly deemed the most-important factor to consider when selecting a destination, followed by educational options and ways to stay active once you get where you’re going.
Fortunately, Jekyll Island checks all the boxes for a vacation trip that every generation in the family will give a big thumbs-up to.
“We are always pleased when we see entire families – from the great grandparents to the little ones – arriving together on Jekyll Island, because this is where lifelong vacation memories are born,” said Alexa Orndoff, the director of marketing and communications for the Jekyll Island Authority, which manages the island. “Over the past several years, an increasing number of multigenerational families have come to Jekyll to enjoy their favorite activities and relive special moments from the past with their loved ones. With so much to do here, Jekyll is the ideal destination, with something of interest for everyone in the group.”
Conveniently located near many Southeastern cities and just a short drive from two major airports, Jekyll Island is a place of immense natural beauty, perhaps best known for its breathtaking Atlantic beaches. This year alone, the barrier island was ranked No. 2 on a list of the “19 best beaches for families and kids” by NBC-TV’s “Today” program, and Jekyll’s Driftwood Beach was designated the No. 10 beach in the country in TripAdvisor’s 2019 Travelers’ Choice Awards lineup.
Situated along the northeast edge of Jekyll’s historic maritime forest, Driftwood Beach is one of those masterworks of nature that has to be seen to be believed. Its shoreline is adorned with large, ancient driftwood scattered in such a way that the overall scene resembles some sort of hauntingly beautiful graveyard in the sand. The kids will love exploring the maze created by these fallen giants and splashing around in the adjoining tidal pools. The ethereal panorama also is ideal for capturing inspired family photos.
Though Driftwood Beach is not to be missed, Jekyll Island visitors have six other distinct beach parks at their disposal, as well. These beautiful parks provide easy access to Jekyll’s breathtaking beaches, as well as convenient parking, well-equipped picnic spaces, kid-friendly activity areas, and a variety of ADA-accessible options. Each individual park also offers families a little something different, from bird-watching on St. Andrews Beach and picnicking at South Dunes Beach to kite flying on Glory Beach or playing volleyball and swimming at Great Dunes.
Outdoor Adventures and Activities
In addition to its miles of pristine beach, Jekyll Island features two other exceptional ecosystems – golden saltmarsh and maritime forest – that help add up to a vacation filled with outdoor adventure. And there’s more than one way to explore these fascinating areas. To get up close with local wildlife, try kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, boat tours (including those for viewing dolphins), guided nature walks, and turtle walks along the beach with experts from the internationally acclaimed Georgia Sea Turtle Center.
Everyone will enjoy exploring the great outdoors on Jekyll Island. Families can also stay active by taking advantage of the miles of continuous bike paths that meander through every unique area of the island. Visitors may take part in a variety of watersports around Jekyll or spend an afternoon at Summer Waves Water Park for plenty more splish-splashes and fun. For more-competitive sports, test out the newly renovated Jekyll Island Tennis Center – which last year won a Facility Award from the United States Tennis Association – or one of the four immaculate golf courses at the Jekyll Island Golf Club.
Mosaic, the Jekyll Island Museum, is the newly opened, go-to place for a truly educational experience. With fascinating artifacts and engaging interactive exhibits, the reimagined and modernized facility provides an invigorating mix of enlightenment and entertainment for all ages. The easy-to-navigate museum walks visitors through five distinct eras in Jekyll Island’s history: the Native American Era, the Colonial Era, the Plantation Era, the Club Era, and the present-day State Era, which began after World War II.
After perusing Mosaic, tourists may also wish to take a closer look at the numerous facets of the National Historic Landmark District. Guests can step back in time as they stroll or take a tram tour through the 240-acre district, which features grand, turn-of-the-century structures from the period when Jekyll served as a winter retreat for some of America’s wealthiest and most-influential individuals.
Meanwhile, near St. Andrews Beach, the Wanderer Memory Trail presents another unforgettable history lesson. This interactive footpath tells the poignant story of the survivors of the last known slave ship to make landfall in Georgia and one of the last known slave ships to arrive in America. Designed for all ages, the trail’s informative stations and exhibits are meant to give visitors a deeper understanding of the contributions the Wanderer survivors made to the communities in which they lived, as well as the lasting impact the survivors had on coastal Georgia and across the United States.
In satisfying all the requisites for a worthwhile, multigenerational summer vacation, the cost of a Jekyll Island excursion has not been overlooked. The island is ranked No. 1 among U.S. travel destinations on Money magazine’s list of “The 20 Best Places to Go in 2019.” After evaluating the cost and quality of nearly 750 popular destinations and drawing on more than 43,000 data points, Money lauded Jekyll as a “tucked-away gem” that packs in a lot of action for its modest size. Families not only will find a variety of activities for satisfying everyone’s interests, but also will appreciate the exceptional value of a Jekyll Island vacation.
“Over the past several years, we’ve seen the same multigenerational families return repeatedly for their annual vacations and also for their family reunions,” Orndoff pointed out. “As multigenerational vacations continue to rise in popularity, we look forward to introducing new families to all that Jekyll has to offer.”
For more information about vacationing on Jekyll Island, visit www.jekyllisland.com.
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