Family Vacations: Jekyll Island

Family Vacations: Jekyll Island

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Jekyll Island is one of Georgia’s Golden Isles. It is Georgia’s smallest barrier island and lies off the coast midway between Savannah, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida. But this small island has a fascinating history and an assortment of relaxing activities for modern-day visitors.

In 1886, a group of famous entrepreneurs including William Rockefeller, Joseph Pulitzer, and J. ­P. Morgan founded the Jekyll Island Club. The island became a winter retreat for some of America’s most elite families. In addition to soaking up some sun during the winter months, the men also met for discussions and dinners. “Secret” meetings at the club are rumored to have led to the creation of the Federal Reserve System and helped William McKinley to be reelected to his second term as president. But the blows of the Great Depression and World War II brought about an end to the club. In 1947, the state of Georgia bought the island and turned it into a state park.

Today tourists can visit the many mansions built by club members (they referred to the homes as merely “cottages”). You can feel like a billionaire (for a day, at least), when you take a carriage ride through the historic district. The island also has three 18-hole golf courses. For outdoors types, there are ten miles of pristine beach waiting to be explored. Year-round guided nature walks explain Georgia’s coastal life. The saltwater marsh, freshwater rivers, and ocean are all great for fishing. And if you feel adventurous, try sailing, sea kayaking, or canoeing.

Jekyll Island Information

Address: Jekyll Island Welcome Center at 901 Downing Musgrove Causeway, Jekyll Island, GA

Phone: 912/635-3636

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