Our family finds comfort in the hometown feel of Jekyll Island. Looking for activities for our autistic child seemed daunting at first, but we had an amazing experience. If you’re looking for a peaceful and affordable beach vacation, Jekyll Island is the place. Keep reading for the 7 best Jekyll Island activities for families with autism.
If you like what you see, be sure to sign up for our printable PDF of a map of Jekyll Island and activities to do on the island.
Jekyll Island offers island beach views, unlike anywhere in the world. Grab the family and unwind with our the 7 best Jekyll Island activities for families with autism.
The 7 Best Jekyll Island Activities for Families with Autism
Jekyll Island has so much to offer families with autism.
There are miles of wide-open beaches, Spanish moss dripping from the trees, and the hospitality is out of the world. The island is gorgeous and rarely crowded. Our family can’t get enough of the 7 best Jekyll Island activities for families with autism.
Disclosure: We may receive a small commission for any affiliate link that you click. It will not increase your cost, and all reviews are entirely our own!
1. Morning Beach Walks
The beaches of Jekyll Island are a hidden gem. Our family enjoys a beautiful walk on the beach in the morning. Our sons excitedly watch the men with metal detectors, both eternally hopeful to discover the treasure they seek.
The quiet of the beach means the only sounds are the waves rolling in. Our only tip? Bring sunglasses- the reflection can be very bothersome to our kiddo.
On the beach, children with autism receive a well-needed break from the constant sensory overload. He loves the sensation of the sand under his toes (and sometimes in his hands!)
Our family enjoys this peaceful time signaling the start to a new day-watching the sun cresting in the sky sets fire to the dawn.
2. Driftwood Beach
Driftwood beach is both eerie and romantic. The shapes of the driftwood are like roots growing out of the sand. The wood gently intertwines with one another, appearing intent to remain forever.
It is a bit challenging to climb over the dunes and enter the driftwood when holding the hand of small children. Carrying a baby was nearly a dealbreaker– thank goodness for our trusted Boba carrier that has yet to steer us wrong!
Once you stumble over the dunes, an oasis with ancient-looking driftwood pieces stagger across the sand into your view.
You can bring the entire family– down to your furry friend. This beach is a leashed dog-friendly beach, but please clean up after them.
Tip: If you think you will be spending lots of time at Driftwood Beach, you may consider staying at Villas by the Sea, directly next door to this beach. It has larger condos that house our growing family fits in (up to three bedrooms).
3. Jekyll Island Museum
100 Old Stable Rd. Jekyll Island, GA 31527
Formerly 101 Old Plantation Rd. (For GPS sake)
Immerse yourself in the rich cultural history of Georgia’s most magical barrier island at the Jekyll Island Museum.
The museum offers an incredible array of special events like holiday magic, colonial campfires, time traveler camp, parades, and tours.
If you are seeking an educational and rewarding experience? Check out the celebrations of black history month and the great women of Jekyll Island
It is currently undergoing a massive renovation but remains open on the same property– the brand new museum will reopen in the stables.
The museum is open daily, and entry is free. Visiting Jekyll Island’s enthralling history is perfect for families on a budget!
4. Georgia Sea Turtle Center
214 Stable Road Jekyll Island, GA
The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is a real working hospital that helps injured sea turtles. You can check out actual turtle patients, experience sea turtle feedings, and learn all about this unusual species. How cool is that?
We prefer to visit first thing in the morning and leave early for the benefit of our children. It has never been excessively busy in our experience, but we prefer to avoid chaos when we can.
The only way this could be any better would be if humans weren’t responsible for so many of the turtle injuries. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is a rare learning experience. We don’t often have the opportunity to teach our children about how impactful our choices are on Earth.
Teach your children how to do better for our planet while embracing these enduring creatures. Our little guy with autism has zero patience for planet destroyers.
The current rates are very reasonable and make for a cheap and entertaining afternoon.
- Adults $ 9 (13-61 years)
- Seniors $ 8 (62+ years)
- Children $ 7 (4-12 years)
- Children under 3 – Free
5. Jekyll Island Trolley Tour
715 N. Beachview Rd. Jekyll Island, GA
The Lighthouse Trolley Tour of Jekyll Island is a leisurely way to experience the island with your family. The tour covers all historical and ecological points of interest on the island.
What’s not to love about a trolley?
The trolley explores the island’s ecosystems, including the beachfront, inland marsh, and other natural wonders. The tour guide will regale you with tales of the wealthy socialites, like JP Morgan, Rockefeller, and Pulitzer, who called Jekyll Island home.
Tours are 90 minutes long and leave from the Beach House at The Holiday Inn Jekyll Island. Please make reservations at (912)638-3333.
- Adults $20 (13-61 years)
- Seniors $10 (62+ years)
- Children $10 (12 years and under)
- Military $10
For squirrely children (autism or not), there is a bathroom break halfway through the tour. While the tour benefits exceeded our exectations, we love feeding our troops. You can bring your special snacks and drinks to keep your little ones nourished.
6. Jekyll Market
11 Main Street Jekyll Island, GA
(In Beach Village)
The Jekyll Market is an absolute diamond in the rough that is so easy to pass by but is a must-do of mamas everywhere.
If you are an early riser, the Market features a sweet shop and café.
However, we prefer to shop later in the day at the Jekyll Market. This means that if our family is experiencing loud volumes, we do not stress.
Are you hungry? Treat your craving with a fresh salad bar, deli, and barbecue counter. The BBQ counter is adorable- and smells even better than it looks!
The shelves are full of delicious gluten-free options.
Best yet? You can grab a local craft brew or a nice glass of wine to enjoy while you shop or to relax and sip outside as you take in the sights.
7. Sunsets at Jekyll Island
The untouched dunes carved by the wind and water create a calming environment where families can gather at the end of a hectic day. We love to relax with a frosty beverage while gazing over the dunes towards the setting sun.
Autism sometimes means that our soundtrack is a little different or one parent is on duty- but we do enjoy the experience of being together.
Communing with nature and letting our little people run free is the perfect way to end a lovely island day.
Where can I get more information about Jekyll Island family activities?
The 7 best Jekyll Island activities for families with autism are the ones that create memorable moments to share with our loved ones on your vacation. When you have a child with special needs, it’s imperative to ensure that you feel prepared!
Where is your ideal seaside retreat?
Drop in the comments your favorite things to do at Jekyll Island!