Spring is in bloom on the Georgia coast, making Jekyll Island the place for families eager to slough off the winter blues and jump into their favorite outdoor activities.
Located midway between Savannah, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida, Jekyll Island is an ideal springtime getaway. With something to satisfy virtually every interest, this extraordinary barrier island has been entertaining visitors for generations. From enchanting journeys through Jekyll’s historic past to present-day wildlife encounters and no shortage of recreational sports available, the island offers plenty of opportunities for everyone in the group to get outside and get moving this spring.
“Jekyll Island is the perfect spot for families looking for a vacation with lots of outdoor fun, especially if they are looking for warm weather and a variety of activities,” says Meggan Hood, senior marketing director of the Jekyll Island Authority. “This little island is wonderful year-round, but springtime is special, because of the unique events and opportunities to explore. This year, we’re offering an insider’s perspective on the season’s best activities and have created recommended itineraries.”
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The 20-plus miles of bike trails weaving through the island’s distinct geographies and captivating historical sites provide hours of exploration and exciting discovery. Stop along the way to learn more about various points of interest and wildlife found on Jekyll Island, through interpretative panels located along the paths.
With five distinct beaches, visitors have plenty to discover along Jekyll’s pristine oceanfront. Springtime favorite, Glory Beach – known as a key filming location for the movie “Glory” – has wide-open space perfect for shaking off cabin fever, splashing in the surf and letting the kids run wild.
A quick jaunt south to the Mary Ann mast – all that remains from a sunken shrimp boat on the south end of Jekyll Island – is sure to remind visitors of the adventure and challenges of life at sea. In 1995, following a long day on the water, the Mary Ann became stranded close to shore, flooding with the incoming tide. No lives were lost, and over the years the shipwreck has been swallowed by the sands. Its mast is the only part that remains visible today. Photographers often pause here to capture breathtaking shots of the unusual landmark.
In addition to beautiful beaches, Jekyll Island boasts awe-inspiring vistas of saltmarshes teeming with wildlife and ready to be explored by kayak or paddleboard. A designated park ranger also leads guided tours of the acres of maritime forest through the end of March.
A hands-on “Gatorology 101” eco-experience – offered by the internationally acclaimed Georgia Sea Turtle Center – is sure to captivate every member of the family. The program serves up fascinating facts about the biology and behavior of the American alligators that call Jekyll Island home and features up-close interaction with a juvenile alligator.
History buffs will enjoy a tour of Hollybourne Cottage, one of 11 former winter residences remaining from the period when Jekyll Island served as an exclusive private club and vacation getaway for some of the nation’s most-powerful families. As an ongoing preservation project, the magnificent character of this unique home – nearly 130 years removed – is still on display, including the innovative bridge-building techniques used to achieve open and airy rooms without impeding columns. Tours of Hollybourne Cottage are only offered on Saturdays in May.
Family members can challenge each other in a rousing game of mini-golf on two unique miniature golf courses. Golf fans may also enjoy a competitive round of championship-level play on one of Jekyll Island Golf Club’s four courses. The courses accommodate all skill levels and feature their own idyllic views of the island’s natural surroundings.
Jekyll Island plays host to three exciting annual spring events. Begin the season early with the Jekyll Island Arts Association Festival (March 9-11), featuring handcrafted creations from approximately 300 talented artists from around the country. Immediately following, is “Caffeine and Octane at the Beach” (March 16-18), which brings North America’s largest monthly cars-and-coffee event to the beachfront Jekyll Island Convention Center. Rounding out the season is the much-anticipated Turtle Crawl Weekend (May 11-13), to kick off sea turtle nesting season. With two triathlons plus a 10K and a 5K event, Turtle Crawl Weekend is a not-to-be-missed family “racecation” activity that benefits the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.
With such a variety of activities, Jekyll Island is the ideal destination for springtime adventures and family vacations. Parents will find a selection of dining, lodging and shopping choices on the island, to fit their budget and travel style.
For more information about all Jekyll Island has to offer, as well as a recommended springtime itinerary, visit www.jekyllisland.com.
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