Jekyll Island

Jekyll Island

Jekyll Island is located in Glynn County, Georgia, in the United States of America. The island is part of the Georgia Sea Islands along the state’s eastern coast. It is a barrier island, and known to be one of the Golden Isles of the Georgia barrier island system. 

History Of Jekyll Island

Jekyll Island was once occupied seasonally by Guale and Mocama indigenous peoples. With the presence of European settlers, however, these peoples were executed or evacuated by both the British and French. Over time, during the British colonial period, plantations were created. The island was later developed in the late 19th and early 20th century. At the time of World War II, the US government ordered the total evacuation of the island, because its coastal location put it in potential danger of incoming attacks. In modern times, the island has become popular for Georgia natives as well as tourists and those seeking holiday homes. 

Geography Of Jekyll Island

Jekyll Island
A beach on Jekyll Island.

Jekyll Island is located southeast of the city of Brunswick, south of St. Simons Island, and North of Cumberland Island. The island is one of several barrier islands along the eastern Atlantic coast of Georgia. These islands have mainly sand beaches on their eastern, or ocean facing sides, while the opposite coast is more marshy or swamp-like. In Jekyll Island's case, the western side of the island is bordered by Jekyll Creek and salt marshes. The barrier islands are formed by the collection of sand or silt that builds up due to a plateau, or barrier, along the ocean floor. This shallow area stops the sand that is swept in by ocean waves, eventually building it up into an island.


Jekyll Island birds
Adult White Ibis with four juveniles perched in a dead tree in Jekyll Island.

The main ecosystems on the island include salt marshes, and magnolia-live oak forests, which include palmetto and scrub oak. The forests and coastlines provide ample habitat for a variety of animals. Mammals found on the island include squirrels, raccoons, rabbits, and white-tailed deer. Marine life is also vibrant, and dolphins can be seen off shore.

Jekyll Island alligator
Georgia Alligator close to Driftwood Beach in Jekyll Island.

Closer to the island, the salt marshes are excellent nurseries for young fish species and shellfish, who also spawn in tidal creeks, and alligators, which are common. Bird species include migratory birds and waterfowl, which travel through the area, feast on the many fish, or nest along the sandy beaches.

Visiting The Jekyll Island

Jekyll Island tourist
A guide takes a couple on a leisurely horse-drawn carriage tour past Crane Cottage, built in 1918 in Mediterranean revival style, on the historic Jekyll Island.

The island was listed as one of the 50 most beautiful small towns in America by Architectural Digest in 2018. The quaint and historic neighbourhoods, paired with the beautiful beaches and sea views make it very popular for tourists.

Jekyll Island tourist
Tourists ride a trolley past members of the Jekyll Island Croquet Club during a leisurely match on the Greensward in front of historic resort Jekyll Island Club. Editorial credit: Ken Schulze /

Visitors can experience guided tours of the Landmark Historic District, which show off buildings and ruins of former days. This includes some structures on the island which were made from a substance called tabby, including the Horton House of 1742. This unique process involved spacelling with crushed oyster shells with lime and water, and can be seen in some of the coastal buildings. The tour also includes the Jekyll Island Club, various buildings in the area such as the ruins of Georgia’s first pub, and the Jekyll Island Museum.Bike trails, walks and hikes, beach visits and sandbars are all popular for outdoor lovers, while the more adventurous types can enjoy Summer Waves water park.

Once a destination only for the wealthy or high class, Jekyll Island is now a beautiful space for anyone to enjoy. From its rich (if sometimes dark) history, to its stunning sandy beaches, it is an ideal location for vacationers and holidayers in the area.


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