Jekyll Island is the jewel in Georgia's Golden Isles crown. This 5,700-acre barrier island is located midway between Savannah, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida, and it's known for stunning marshland, nature trails, white-sand beaches and old-growth oak trees draped with Spanish moss.
The island was a rugged wilderness of salt marshes and palmetto forests until a group of families bought the island as a private seaside retreat in 1886. The 1900s ushered in the Gilded Age, which brought rich and famous visitors like the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers and Morgans (as in J.P. Morgan) to the Jekyll Island Club, which closed in 1942. The State of Georgia wisely purchased the island in 1947, and it has remained a pristine island habitat since then.
People still go to the island to do what the rich and famous did: golf, play tennis, bike, go horseback riding or simply picnic on the beach. It's a quiet, idyllic paradise for anyone who loves nature and a slower pace. Only small coastal cruise ships currently visit Jekyll Island, usually offering a choice of excursions or the ability to do your own thing.