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  • Southern Reverie

Discovering Jekyll Island and The Jekyll Island Club Resort: A Glimpse into Georgia's Gilded Age

Along the coast of Georgia lies Jekyll Island and the Jekyll Island Club Resort, a beautiful Southern destination steeped in history and charm. Once a playground for America's wealthiest families during the Gilded Age, this luxurious retreat has been transformed into a world-renowned resort. Once you step on the island, it is impossible not to feel the traces of a bygone era of opulence. From its grand mansions to its stunning natural landscapes, there is no shortage of things to discover and secrets to uncover here.

The Jekyll Island Club Resort
The Jekyll Island Club Resort
Jekyll Island Club Resort, Jekyll Island, Georgia
Jekyll Island Club Resort, Jekyll Island, Georgia

History of Jekyll Island and the Gilded Age

Jekyll Island offers a look at the rich history of this region of the South and the state of Georgia. This picturesque island played a significant role during the Gilded Age, serving as a playground for America's wealthiest families.

The Jekyll Island Club (now known as the Jekyll Island Club Resort) dates to 1886, when members of a hunting and recreational club purchased the island for $125,000 by selling 100 shares of the Jekyll Island Club stock to 50 people at $600 a share. The original section of Jekyll Island Clubhouse, including its signature turret, was completed in January 1888. Members of the club included affluent family names like Morgan, Pulitzer, Astor, Rockefeller, and Vanderbilt.

Jekyll Island Historic Ppstcard

The club closed in 1942 following a decline from the Great Depression and two world wars. It remained closed for five years until the state of Georgia purchased it in 1947 from the original members for $675,000 during condemnation proceedings. Georgia attempted to run it as a resort but closed it in 1971. However, it remained protected and was designated a historic landmark in 1978. It was restored and reopened as a luxury resort hotel in 1986 and is now a member of Historic Hotels of America.

In 1915 the first transcontinental telephone call was made during the Club era of Jekyll Island by Theodore N. Vail, president of AT&T to Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas A. Watson, and President Woodrow Wilson. It was also the location of a historic meeting in November 1910 in which draft legislation was written to create a central banking system for the United States following the Panic of 1907.

Today, visitors to the island can explore the historic district and marvel at the grand mansions that still stand as a testament to this fascinating era. The history of Jekyll Island and the Gilded Age gives a unique glimpse into a bygone era.

Whether you're interested in the Jekyll Island Club's history or simply looking to immerse yourself in the charm of Southern travel, this iconic resort has something to offer for everyone.

Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island, Georgia
Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island, Georgia

Things to Do on Jekyll Island

There are options for everyone when it comes to things to do on Jekyll Island. Here are a few of our favorites:

Explore the island's rich history by visiting Mosaic, Jekyll Island Museum, where you can learn about its Gilded Age past and the prominent families that once graced its shores.

Take a leisurely bike ride along the miles of picturesque bike trails, or venture out on a kayak to discover the island's stunning natural beauty.

Relax on the pristine beaches, go fishing, or do a boat tour of Georgia's coastal backwater and golden isles.

Explore Driftwood Beach, located on the north end of Jekyll Island. Photograph the beautiful driftwood and trees that resemble a scene from another world. These gnarled and weathered trees are left behind from years of erosion.

Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island, Georgia
Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island, Georgia

The Secrets of Jekyll Island Club Resort

As you explore the Jekyll Island Club Resort, you'll soon discover this historic destination holds many hidden secrets. The resort is full of intrigue, from its secret tunnels and hidden rooms to its mysterious legends and tales. Uncover the secrets of the Gilded Age as you walk through the halls of the grand mansions and learn about the extravagant parties and scandalous affairs that took place here. Delve into the stories of the influential guests who visited the resort and the secrets they left behind.

Staying at the Jekyll Island Club Resort

Jekyll Island Club Resort will immerse you in Southern charm and luxury. This historic resort offers a range of accommodations to suit every traveler's needs. From elegant guest rooms in the historic Clubhouse to private cottages surrounded by lush gardens, you'll be transported back in time to the opulence of the Gilded Age. Enjoy modern amenities, exquisite furnishings, and stunning views while surrounded by the resort's rich history. Whether you are seeking a romantic getaway or a family vacation, the Jekyll Island Club Resort offers a truly unforgettable experience.

PUP FRIENDLY? Jekyll Island Club Resort has four designated pet-friendly rooms within the Sans Souci building. Pets are not allowed at Jekyll Ocean Club or within our other historic buildings. Contact the resort directly to reserve a pet-friendly room.

Dining on Jekyll Island

The resort offers various dining options, each with its unique charm and flavors. From elegant fine dining experiences to casual beachfront restaurants, there is something to satisfy every palate. Savor fresh seafood caught locally and expertly prepared, or try traditional Southern dishes with a modern twist. The resort's restaurants boast stunning views, overlooking the ocean or nestled amidst the lush gardens. Immerse yourself in the flavors of the South and create unforgettable dining experiences at the Jekyll Island Club Resort.

Other great options on the island include:

Exploring the Surrounding Area

Many exciting activities and attractions await you in the surrounding area including inland, St. Simons Island and Sea Island. For history enthusiasts, explore the historic town of Brunswick, Georgia, with Southern Live Oak trees, historic homes, and the origin story of Brunswick Stew. For nature activities, the nearby Jekyll Island State Park offers miles of hiking and biking trails and birdwatching and wildlife spotting opportunities. Visit the Georgia Sea Turtle Center to learn about the island's conservation efforts and get up close and personal with these magnificent creatures. If you're in the mood for shopping, head to Jekyll Island beach village for a charming selection of shops and boutiques. Get out and explore all this stunning coastal region offers.

Jekyll Island, Georgia
Jekyll Island, Georgia

How to Get to Jekyll Island

Planning a trip to Jekyll Island Club Resort? Getting there is easier than you might think. If you're traveling by air, the closest airport is Jacksonville International Airport in Florida, just a short drive from the island. You can rent a car or arrange transportation to Jekyll Island from there. If you prefer to drive, Jekyll Island is easily accessible via Interstate 95. Once you arrive, you can use the island's transportation services, including shuttle buses and bicycles, to explore the resort and surrounding areas.

Some interesting facts about Jekyll Island

  • Jekyll Island is a barrier island located off the coast of the U.S. state of Georgia.

  • Jekyll Island is known for its natural beauty, rich history, and unique wildlife.

  • The island is home to several pristine beaches perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and beach combing.

  • The world’s first transcontinental phone call occurred on January 25, 1915, at Jekyll Island Club Resort.

  • Jekyll Island is just 1.5 miles wide and 7 miles long.

  • The Jekyll Island Club Resort opened in 1887.

  • The resort has 63 holes of golf spread across four courses.

  • The Classic course at the resort has been ranked among the nation's top 100 public courses.

  • Jekyll Island Club Resort is on 5,700 acres.

  • In 2022, Jekyll Island Club Resort earned the Four Diamond Award from AAA.


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