There is a legend that once you visit Jekyll Island, you will always come back to visit again. That is exactly what happened with us. We had visited for a few days last October and headed back again in April. And we are glad we did! There are so many things to do on Jekyll Island with kids. Check out our previous post on Jekyll Island.
Jekyll Island is an amazing island with a lot of history that makes it feel like you are going back in time to hang out with the likes of the top business moguls of the 1920’s. They bought the island and changed it into a hunting retreat where they were “roughing” it in their 3000 sq ft “cabins”.
The history is amazing and so is the island, beach, and activities you can do while you visit. It is an awesome family travel destination and a great weekend getaway in Georgia! Plus there are a lot of things to do on Jekyll Island for the whole family to enjoy.
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15 Things To Do On Jekyll Island With Kids
The beach is basically a huge climbing playground for kids. It is filled with driftwood that you can climb on and run around, under and through. You can get there by riding your bike on the beach from the parking lot on the very north end of the barrier island. You can also park at the side of the road near the bird sanctuary and walk down a short path to get to it.
We recommend the bike ride because what isn’t cool about riding your bike on the beach?! Be sure to check the tide since you don’t want to get stuck.
We also recommend visiting earlier in the day or when it is windy so that the bugs aren’t bad. If they aren’t you can stay for hours and let the kids climb and play to their hearts content. And don’t be afraid to climb a tree or to yourself!
If you want to see lots of dolphins playing around out in the ocean book a Dolphin Tour with Captain Phillip! Seriously, we saw so many dolphins and they were playing with each other and jumping and swimming right around our boat. It was one of our favorite things to do on Jekyll Island with kids.
You also get a look at the end of Jekyll Island and Cumberland Island. They also take you around the island to a back spot so you can go back and check out the surrounding area and vegetation.
The ride was very family friendly. There was plenty of room for the kids to sit and walk around. Plus they have bathrooms on the boat. If you want to get out on the water and see a Jekyll Island dolphin, this is the tour for you!
For more information, check out Captain Phillip’s Jekyll Island Boat Tours.
We had the opportunity to have a private Gatorology 101 class with the local ranger and it was a very educational and hands-on experience. We weren’t expecting it but all of a sudden, she pulled a little alligator out and we were all able to pet him.
She also took us back to a little known man made pond where we saw another alligator in the water along with turtles everywhere. She then shared some interesting facts about alligators along with other animals that are found on the island.
They offer classes throughout the year and she said they always have the baby alligator with them!
Learn more and get tickets for Gatorology 101.
Georgia Sea Turtle Center
Turtle hospitals are so great for what they do for sea turtles along with educating everyone on things we can do to keep the ocean and beaches safe for the turtles. They have a nice information section where you can take your card and walk around and follow the lifecycle of a turtle and based on your decisions you will see if you survive to be an old turtle or die young . . .
You can also watch them working on the turtles through a glass window. It is really cool to watch how they are able to help the turtles. Then in the back, in the actual hospital area, you can see where the turtles are living and they give talks and feedings to help you learn even more.
If you are lucky enough to be there when they do a turtle release you are able to see them release the healthy turtles back into the ocean. It is a really cool experience!
They have a nice and simple mini golf course that you can do with your family. Mini golf is always a great family activity, so this was one of our favorite things to do on Jekyll Island. Then when you are done you can head over to the playground for some more playtime!
They offer a tram tour which is really informational and teaches you all about the people who bought the island and the houses that are there. During the tour, you get to walk through 2 of the old houses. It’s really neat to see these old fashioned homes.
With young kids it can get a little long so be prepared with some snacks to keep them happy on the tour. Plus you can opt out of going inside the houses so you can just hang out on the tram and wait for the rest of the tour to come back. Overall we really enjoyed it and learned a lot!
Historic District/Jekyll Island Club Hotel
You can walk through the island historic district and check out the shops. They have a sweet shop, deli, souvenirs, and a variety of other cute little shops that you can check out.
You can also walk through the historic Jekyll Island Club Hotel – which is beautiful! Or watch people play croquet on the front lawn.
The island is great for riding bikes since there are over 20 miles of bike trails around entire island. You can rent bikes to go out and explore. They offer adult and kids bikes. Plus they have a bike stroller you can rent. Each rental includes helmets.
If you want to try something different you can rent a 4 or 6 person bike and work together to pedal your way around the island.
Jekyll Island Beach Village
If you are looking for more modern things then the Jekyll Island Beach Village is for you. It is a beautiful newer shopping center that is filled with stores and restaurants.
You can always just relax by the beach. Like we mentioned above, we love Driftwood Beach, but if you are looking for more of your typical beach check out Great Dunes Beach. Here you’ll find softer sand as well as a beach house to change into your swim suit.
If you’re looking to step up from mini-golf, you could always golf on Jekyll Island. Jekyll Island is home to 3 championship caliber 18 hole golf courses and one family friendly 9 hole course. The Great Dunes Course is the 9 hole course that would be a perfect place to take the family to play a round. With wide, rolling fairways, this course is definitely one to be enjoyed by the whole family.
Summer Waves Water Park
Looking for a little fun in the sun. Summer Waves Water Park is a thrilling experience with plenty of waterslides the whole family can enjoy. As the kids are flying down the waterslides enjoy a nice slow ride in the lazy river. This is a great thing to do in Jekyll Island with kids.
This is the restaurant that the locals go to since it is that good! And it didn’t disappoint. I had their fried green tomato sandwich and it was yummy. If you are looking for a good restaurant with decent prices and great food this is the place to eat on the island.
Jekyll Island is a magical place and well worth spending a long weekend or hopefully a week so you can really explore everything it has to offer.
St. Simon Island Lighthouse
Jekyll Island is part of the Golden Isles of Georgia and also includes St. Simon’s. We stopped here before coming onto Jekyll Island and we had a great time visiting the lighthouse where we climbed the 129 steps to the top and we could see Jekyll Island across the water.
If you want to learn more about these Georgia Islands check out: How To Pick Between The Georgia Islands [A Visitors Guide].
This fort had one of the best Junior Ranger programs that we have done. It was perfect for our 6 and 8 year olds, but I think older kids would really enjoy it too. They also enjoyed dressing up and playing old fashioned games in the visitor center.
The grounds were also beautiful, so even if you didn’t want to do the Junior Ranger program, you could walk the grounds and read all about the history of the fort.
There are so many things to do on Jekyll Island with kids and on the surrounding Golden Isles. If you are looking for a fun getaway where you can cross the bridge onto an island and forget about the rest of the world for a while, Jekyll Island is the place for you! And remember the legend once you go once you WILL be back again.
Where To Stay On Jekyll Island With Kids
If you want to get the true Jekyll Island experience we recommend staying on the island. Last time we were there we stayed off the island and still enjoyed our time when we went onto the island, but staying there made us feel so much more immersed in the island life!
Sand Dollar Cottage in Jekyll Island
Just 4 cottages away from the beach, Sand Dollar Cottage is newly renovated and is a great place to stay on Jekyll Island with kids. Includes a air conditioned and heated sun room for a relaxing afternoon after a long day visiting the historical landmarks or taking guided tours.
BEACHY SISTERS B
Beachy Sister B is a 4 bedroom 3 bath house that offers a private backyard for games with the kids. Also, offers easy access the the Jekyll Island golf courses and bike trails. With this rental you are also given pool access right on the ocean at the Days Inn.
Jekyll Island Campground
The campground is beautiful! There are huge oak trees with moss all over the place. It is just a beautiful and peaceful campground. You are also close to bike trails and Driftwood Beach.
Holiday Inn Resort
The Holiday Inn Resort on Jekyll Island is situated right on the water and has a restaurant where kids eat free if you are staying at the hotel. They also offer activities for kids, a fire pit, and pool. If you are looking for a resort like stay with kids while on the island this is your spot!
The hotel is right in the center of the island so you have access to both the north and south ends very easily. The boardwalk down to the private beach area is very nice and allows for great sunrises!
There are quite a few other hotels on Jekyll Island that offer great amenities and beach views.
Courtyard by Marriott Jekyll Island
Just outside Courtyard by Marriott Jekyll Island is the Great Dunes. Being right on the beach with a pool and restaurant makes is a great place to stay in Jekyll Island with kids. If you want to get some exercise on the beach, Glory Beach is a 9 minute walk away.
Be sure to check out our posts on Things to do in Savannah as well as Tybee Island. These are both pretty close to Jekyll Island and would make a great day trip. Plus this awesome post on the picking what Georgia Island to visit.
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#Disclosure: A big thank you to Jekyll Island Authority and Captain Phillip for hosting us on our visit. All opinions expressed are my own. #truth
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