The 7 best jekyll island family activities

Our family finds comfort in the hometown feel of Jekyll Island. Looking for activities for our children (and their sensory needs) seemed daunting at first, but we had a fantastic experience.   If you’re looking for a peaceful and affordable beach vacation, Jekyll Island is the place. Keep reading for the seven best Jekyll Island activities for families.

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Jekyll Island offers island beach views, unlike anywhere in the world. Grab the family and unwind with the best Jekyll Island activities for families. Jekyll island is a perfect stop overnight for cross-country road trips when driving on I-95 (or even heading towards Florida from I-77).

The 7 best jekyll island family activities

The 7 Best Jekyll Island Activities for Families

Our family can’t get enough of the best Jekyll Island activities for families. 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. 

best jekyll island family activities

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 1. Morning Beach Walks

jekyll island family activities beach walk

The beaches of Jekyll Island are hidden gems. 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 bright-eyed children.

St. Andrew’s Beach features dolphin sightings, turtles, and birds. It’s the perfect natural scenery to kick off the day. If you’d rather take a Dolphin Tour, the 90-minute tour seeks bottlenose dolphins playing in the intracoastal waterways, salt marshes, and past gorgeous beaches.

Our family enjoys this peaceful time signaling the start of a new day. Watching the sun cresting in the sky sets fire to the dawn and prepares us for the best possible day.

2. Driftwood Beach

driftwood beach family activities jekyll island

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 a small child’s hand. Carrying a baby was nearly a dealbreaker– thank goodness for our trusted Boba carrier that has yet to steer us wrong! (Check the price for the Boba carrier now!)

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. Our dog fell in love with Driftwood Beach. This beach is a leashed, dog-friendly beach, but please clean up after them.

Children receive a well-needed break on the beach from the constant sensory overload in busy shops and attractions. What kiddo doesn’t love the sensation of the sand under their toes (and sometimes hands!)?

Tip:  If you think you will spend lots of time at Driftwood Beach, you may consider staying at Villas by the Sea, directly next 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, and time traveler camp. Jekyll Island museum even offers parades, trolley tours, and ghost walks.

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

sea turtles jekyll island

The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is a working hospital that helps injured sea turtles. You can check out actual turtle patients, experience sea turtle feedings, and learn about this unusual species. How cool is that?

We prefer to visit the turtle center on Jekyll Island first thing in the morning and leave early for the benefit of our children. It has never been jam-packed in our experience, but we like to avoid chaos when we can.

The only way this could be any better would be if humans weren’t responsible for many turtle injuries. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is a rare learning experience. We don’t often have the opportunity to teach our children how impactful our choices are on Earth.

Teach your children to do better for our planet while embracing these enduring creatures. Our little children have zero patience for planet destroyers. They are inheriting our Earth!

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 expectations, we love feeding our troops. You can bring your special snacks and drinks to nourish your little ones.

6. Jekyll Market

11 Main Street Jekyll Island, GA (In Beach Village)

Jekyll Market shack bbq shrimp & yard burger. boardwalk deli big kahuna's burrito bar long neck's beer & wine sweet shop named sprinkles
source: http://www.jekyllmarket.com/

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. We do not have to stress as much if our children are being noisy because the market is vibrant at this time of day.

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. Horton House

Horton House is a house that is more than 350 years old. While all that remains is the frame of the structure, it is truly a treat to see. The structure is called a tabby house. The grounds are gorgeous, and there is a cemetery across the street. We give a full review of the history and hauntings of Horton House that you can’t miss.

Image of Horton House on Jekyll Island

Honorable Mention: Sunsets at Jekyll Island
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 seven best Jekyll Island activities for families 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!  

Jekyll Island: The Bottom Line

Where is your ideal seaside retreat?

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10 Comments

  1. I have been wanting to try out the camping on Jekyll Island, but everytime we try to make plans, it is all booked up. Now I have an renewed drive to make that vacation work since there are so many fun activities in your list!!

  2. Oh! This is so beautiful! I love everything about it. Imagine it in winter, with a big stove to burn driftwood from the beach and the sound of stormy seas.. Your photographs are wonderful. The last one looks like a picture from a fairy tale. I love your work 🙂 Steph

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