One of the barrier islands along Golden Isles in the state of Georgia, Jekyll Island overflows with coastal charm. It’s in proximity to historic Savannah, but the island offers an abundance of kid-friendly activities. Choose from many Jekyll Island vacation rentals to find your new home away from home. Check out the most popular things to do on Jekyll Island.
1. Learn About Sea Turtles
Kids get an up-close look at sea turtles with a visit to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island. Don’t let its small size fool you. This center engages kids and adults with interactive displays that aim to educate visitors about wildlife conservation in a fun way. Kids get a chance to see different types of turtles, including sea turtles undergoing rehabilitation at the facility. Glimpse into the exam room, and you may see a turtle patient receiving care from the staff. This quick stop is suitable for all ages, although young toddlers may get a bit bored. Grab a plush turtle in the gift shop to put on display in your vacation rental as a reminder of the amazing wildlife surrounding you on the island.
2. Explore the Beach
Driftwood Beach is a favorite spot on Jekyll Island for kids of all ages. Large chunks of driftwood cover the beach. As the tide rises, some of the driftwood sticks out of the waves. Kids enjoy climbing on the sturdy pieces of wood between building sandcastles and searching for treasures. Young kids can safely enjoy Driftwood Beach with adult supervision to prevent falls from the branches. Great Dunes Beach is another popular option with a more traditional beach feel and soft sand that’s perfect for kids. Visit the beach early in the morning for the first chance at finding shells and other treasures. Wash all of the sand off in your nice warm vacation rental shower before climbing into your cozy beds after a day at the beach.
3. Go Fishing
Stop by the Jekyll Island Fishing Center before heading out on the nearby Jekyll Island Pier to get the supplies you need for a day of fishing on the pier with your older kids and teens. This spot is also popular for crabbing. If you don’t have crabbing equipment yourself, you may get lucky and see someone checking crab traps while you’re on the pier. Cook up your catch in the kitchen of your vacation rental after you cast your line for the final time.
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4. Cruise for Dolphins
Delight the young dolphin fans in the family by taking a dolphin cruise from Jekyll Island. Once you board the boat, your kids enjoy watching the water’s surface to spot dolphins jumping and playing in the waves. You also get a chance to see the island’s vegetation from the water for a slightly different view. See if you can spot your vacation rental from the boat as you pass by the island.
5. Take a Tour
Jekyll Island boasts lots of beautiful vegetation and historic buildings. A tour of the island lets you catch a glimpse of those highlights while learning more about the island’s history. Hop on the tram tour for a fun, kid-friendly way to see the island. Young kids may get a little bored by the end of the tram ride, so this option is better for older kids.
6. Bike Around the Island
Jekyll Island offers many paths perfect for riding bikes. You can rent bikes on the island if you don’t want to haul your own. Another fun rental option for families is a surrey rental. These pedal vehicles hold four to six people. Four wheels and bench-like seats make the surreys comfortable and safe, so you can easily cruise at your own pace and stop as desired to enjoy the island’s beauty. Some surreys feature non-pedaling seats for younger kids. Choose a vacation rental with a garage to store bikes if you bring your own from home.
7. Walk the Historic Area
The historic part of the island is a fun place to walk with kids. Explore the various shops in the area, and let the kids find the perfect souvenirs. A sweet shop is another favorite with kids. Look for brick outlines of long-gone historic buildings and green posts to mark former cottages. Many cottages still stand in the area, and many previously serving as island retreats for wealthy families. Visit the Jekyll Island Museum to learn more about the island’s history.
8. Play a Round of Mini Golf
A classic mini golf course on the island is the perfect way to get your kids active with a little friendly competition. Preschoolers and older kids can typically handle mini golf. This course features the classic windmill and other iconic obstacles and decorations. Choose the beginner’s course if you’re playing with young kids, or test your older kids with a round of mini golf on the challenging course.
9. Play in the Water
Splash in the ocean water surrounding the island for a fun way to entertain older kids. The waves away from the shore may be a little too much for younger kids. You can also rent kayaks to play in the water without getting wet. If you prefer the pool to the ocean, take the kids to the Summer Waves Water Park. Kids enjoy going down the slides and splashing in the wave pool. For a relaxing activity, float along the lazy river. Toddlers get their own special play area, so even young family members can enjoy the water park.
10. Look for Gators
Georgia features a range of wildlife, including alligators. Visit Horton Pond on the island’s north side for a chance to see alligators and turtles. A new observation deck along the shore gives you an ideal vantage point to see the wildlife on the basking platform positioned in the middle of the water. You can also see wading birds in this area. Walk the Tupelo nature trail loop to see freshwater wetlands, water oak, pond pine, wild blueberries, and black tupelo trees. The trail is less than a mile, so this activity option works for kids of all ages. See if you can spot Georgia wildlife from the deck of your vacation rental when you return.
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