For 56 winters, between 1886 and 1942, America's rich and famous faithfully came south to Jekyll Island. Through the Gilded Age, World War I, the Roaring '20s, and the Great Depression, Vanderbilts and Rockefellers, Morgans and Astors, Macys, Pulitzers, and Goodyears shuttered their 5th Avenue castles and retreated to elegant "cottages" on their wild coastal island. It's been said that when the island's distinguished winter residents were all "in," a sixth of the world's wealth was represented. Early in World War II the millionaires departed for the last time. In 1947 the state of Georgia purchased the entire island for the bargain price of $675,000.Jekyll Island is still a 7½-mile playground, but it's no longer restricted to the rich and famous. A water park, picnic grounds, and facilities for golf, tennis, fishing, biking, and jogging are all open to the public. One side of the island is lined by nearly 10 miles of hard-packed Atlantic beaches; the other by the intracoastal waterway and picturesque salt marshes. Deer and wild turkey inhabit interior forests of pine, magnolia, and moss-veiled live oaks. Egrets, pelicans, herons, and sandpipers skim the gentle surf. Jekyll Island's clean, mostly uncommercialized public beaches are free and open year-round. Bathhouses with restrooms, changing areas, and showers are open at regular intervals along the beach.
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Things You Can't Miss
In the historic district, tour the vacation “cottages” of America’s tycoons, including Indian Mound, the 25-room home of the Rockefeller family.
Pat & Chuck Blackley / Alamy
Walk, jog or just play or snooze to your heart’s content on the island’s 10 miles of pristine beaches. Play volleyball or bocce ball at Great Dunes Park.
Tiffany stained-glass windows, terra-cotta gargoyles and animal carvings are highlights of this captivating chapel designed to be “worthy of the island.”
Ron Buskirk / Alamy
National parks and state parks are beautiful places to visit and go hiking. Maximize your fun by avoiding these common mistakes - like running out of gas or getting dehydrated.
The Jekyll Island museum brings the storied island back to life with programs and interpretive exhibits about the “country life.”
Andre Jenny / Alamy
Splurge on a stay at the magnificently restored Victorian clubhouse that was once the private retreat of America’s wealthiest families.
Bill Gozansky / Alamy
Camping gear just gets better and better, with bells and whistles ranging from solar panels to intelligent lighting. Check out these 5 products to cross off your checklist before hitting the road for your next trip to the great outdoors.
Savings at Best Western, Hilton, Days Inn, Sheraton, Motel 6, La Quinta, and more
Shared Trips to this Destination
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