We just ended the most wonderful weekend away to Jekyll Island celebrating my 29th birthday! I am currently writing this on the plane because I want to make sure everything is fresh and nothing is forgotten. This was our first time visiting Jekyll Island and we had never even heard of it before until one of my best friends recommended it! I wanted to share a full Jekyll Island Club Review and Recap because I got so many questions and a few of you mentioned you have an upcoming trip planned as well!
Jekyll Island Club Review and Recap
When planning this trip we had it narrowed down to Jekyll Island (per my friend’s recommendation) or Palm Beach Island. Palm Beach is on my bucket list, but after a crazy year, we knew we wanted something quiet and relaxing. I knew if we went to Palm Beach I would want to change outfits 3-5 times per day with a minute-by-minute agenda and it would be all about getting content and less about enjoying the time together and relaxing. So we decided to move forward with Jekyll Island.
What really drew us to the Jekyll Island Club was it seemed to be a good balance of luxury and affordability along with a balance of beach and pool as well as history and charm. Jared and I absolutely LOVE the Carolinas and the coast of Georgia, some of our favorite destinations are Savannah, Charleston, and Hilton Head.
There are actually two resorts as part of the Jekyll Club, the Island Club, and the Ocean Club. We stayed at the Island Club but regardless of which property you stay on you have access to all of the amenities of both. The Jekyll Island Club is filled with history as it’s famously known as a highly exclusive club to the most prominent families of American history including the Vanderbilts, Pulitzers, Morgans, and Rockefellers. It was founded in 1886 when members of an incorporated hunting and recreational club purchased the island for $125,000 (about $3.1 million today) from John Eugene du Bignon. The club closed at the end of the 1942 season due to complications from World War II, President Roosevelt actually asked the wealthy families to not visit for the season due to the potential threat of war because 1/6 of America’s wealth was on the island at the resort.
Another interesting fact is the Jekyll Island Club was the location of a meeting in November 1910 in which draft legislation was written to create a central banking system for the United States, known now as the Federal Reserve.
The club is broken out by a few different room accommodations, they have the resort clubhouse which is the main building (more hotel style), or they several different cottages you can stay at. We stayed at the Sans Souci cottage which was America’s first condominium as well as home to JP Morgan’s personal suite (which is where we actually stayed). The cottages feel very private and have a nice living and dining space as well as a private porch with rocking chairs.
We popped over to the Ocean Club a few times which was about a 10-minute bike ride. The Ocean Club is definitely newer and more of what you think of as far as a traditional new ocean-front resort. Since we were staying at the Island Club we did have access to all of the amenities like I mentioned at the Ocean Club, one of which is reserved private beach chairs and umbrellas which was a super nice perk!
There are quite of few activities to do on the island and at the resort, but everything is very low-key and relaxed. There are pools at both properties along with the beach. They have a bike rental shop which was wonderful to get around the island. Riding bikes around was actually one of my favorite things we did! There are also dolphin tours, carriage tours, golf, and the sea turtle sanctuary.
We booked a dolphin tour and were lucky enough to see quite a few dolphins. We also enjoyed the carriage tour after dinner one night which was really fun to hear firsthand about all of the histories, along with some insider facts and speculated ghost sightings.
The Sea Turtle Sanctuary was another top activity we did because they had a full museum to learn about the sea turtles along with a rehab center where you could get a close-up look at the sea turtles who were recovering. They also had a sea turtle hospital with a viewing window where you could watch doctors perform surgeries or medical needs on the injured sea turtles. We watched a sea turtle receive stitches after swallowing a fish hook.
They do also offer sunrise and sunset sea turtle walks to view the sea turtle eggs and babies. Unfortunately, those ended at the end of August so we had just missed them.
One of the iconic places everyone recommends is Driftwood Beach, this is a beach with tons of fallen trees/driftwood that is actually breathtaking! Parts of the Walking Dead was filmed here because it definitely looks very post-apocalyptic. It really is like nothing I’ve seen before. However, it is a public beach and the must-visit site on the island so it was VERY crowded. We didn’t stay long because of the crowds but I would definitely recommend stopping by especially at sunset!
My only slight negative about Jekyll Island as a whole was the dining options. The entire island is only about 10 miles so naturally, there aren’t a ton of dining options. The Jekyll Island Club probably had the most dining options with The Wharf which is a nice sit-down restaurant waterside, as well as The Pool Bar and The Pantry which was a grab-and-go snack and sandwich place along with a few other options like a snack shack and sweet shop. They do also have a Grand Dining room that was closed due to COVID.
The Ocean Club has one restaurant, Eighty Ocean, which was nicer as well and there were a few other options off the resort which we visited like Tortuga Jacks, a beachside Mexican restaurant with fabulous drinks, and the Driftwood Bistro, which was a southern style home-cooking restaurant. I actually think the best meal we ate was at Driftwood Bistro. Jared and I both got the pot roast and it was AMAZING (we also biked 5 miles there so that could have played a part in it as well). There was one other restaurant called Zachry’s Riverhouse that is supposed to have great fresh shrimp, but we didn’t make it there during our stay.
Since places were limited to eat and it was a holiday weekend there were definitely long waits, however, for all of the restaurants on the property guests had priority access. On our last night, we ate at The Wharf and the waitlist was full with about a 2.5-hour-long wait, however, since we were guests on the property with priority seating we only waited about 2.5 minutes!
We did wait about an hour at Driftwood Bistro, however, it was definitely worth it.
My best friend who recommended the resort also recommended doing a Walmart Pick Up order on our way to the resort and this was absolutely genius! I ordered snacks, muffins, granola bars, and juice for breakfast as well as several bottles of wine and bottled water so we could cut costs. This was definitely a life-saver and I saw several other people checking in with groceries as well. Each room has a mini-fridge so we could keep wine, water, and juice cold, and there’s nothing like sipping wine on a private porch with a beautiful view!
12 PM: Arrived at the airport
12:20 PM: Picked up groceries in Uber
12:45 PM: Checked In
1 PM: Walked around looked at everything
3 PM: Nap and relax
6 PM: Dinner at The Wharf
9 AM: Beach
12 PM: Lunch at Eighty Ocean
1 PM: Sea Turtle Center
2:30 PM: Walked/Biked Around
4 PM: Napped and relaxed
7 PM: Dinner at The Wharf
9:30 PM: Private Carriage Tour
9 AM: Dolphin Tour
12 PM: Tortuga Jacks for Lunch
2 PM: Biked Around and Relaxed
4 PM: Biked to Driftwood Beach
5:30 PM: Driftwood Beach
6 PM: Dinner at Driftwood Bistro
7 PM: Biked Back to the resort
8 PM: Drinks at the bar
10 AM: Pool
12 PM: Lunch at Pool
3 PM: Relaxed
6 PM: Dinner at The Wharf
8 PM: Drinks at the bar
9 AM: Coffee and walked around
11 PM: Checked out and headed to the airport
*We took an Uber from the airport but Ubers aren’t on the island so we booked a car through Edwards Transportation to be picked up at the resort and go to the airport. The car service was amazing, right on time, very clean and you can book online!
Overall we had the best time and it truly felt like a restful relaxing vacation! There’s not a ton to do on the island so if you are looking for a high-energy jam-packed vacation this might not be the place for you! Personally, it was lovely to unplug and just go with the flow. We didn’t make a ton of plans or reservations and didn’t have any issues getting in places.
We loved soaking in the sun and the history. It feels like a blend of a beachfront resort mixed with the old town charm and history of a place like Savannah, GA. The resort was also very family and pet friendly so it’s great for everyone! I highly recommend the Jekyll Island Club for your next relaxing vacation. We’re already planning to go back, possibly with family next time!
* This post is in no way sponsored by Jekyll Island Club and all thoughts and opinions belong to The Thrifty Pineapple.
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