Family spring break trip to Jekyll Island Club

30 April 2024

After a scoot to Florida last year with the whole Thomas fam, we happily returned to Jekyll Island for this year’s spring break. While I love the idea of doing different things for our spring breaks, and I hope we will in the future, Jekyll sure is hard to beat in this season of life: relatively inexpensive, a quick road trip away, and warm, beautiful, historic, and bike-able – among other pluses.

Even as we returned to a familiar location, we managed to sneak in some novelty along the way. I’d love to tell you about it and share a few photos, if you’d like to see!

The first big change for this visit was where we stayed. On our last two visits, we chose to stay at the Jekyll Ocean Club – and loved it both times! The suite set-up is perfect for families, and it’s a dream to be steps away from the beach and right upstairs from the in-house restaurant.

This year, we opted to stay at the Jekyll Island Club, the Ocean Club’s sister property. Located about a mile away on the marsh side of the island, it’s a beautiful historic property built in 1888. The Island Club is a little more grand and formal in feel (there’s a croquet course on the front lawn!), but friendly to families, too. When we saw that staying in the turret room (!) was only about $100 more per night, our decision to switch properties was made.

For us, it was more than worth it. The kids loved winding up and down the circular staircase, sketchbooks and markers and stuffies tucked under their arms, while John and I sat on the lower balcony, Spanish moss under our feet and the beautiful marsh view just beyond.

The second big change was that we traveled with friends! Not in a formal way – it was more akin to a happy accident – but dear friends from home overlapped with us for most of our stay and so we got to enjoy Jekyll in a new way, side-by-side. While they were staying at the Ocean Club, we met up for dinner twice, for a late afternoon on the beach, pool time, a bike ride out to Driftwood Beach, and more.

Our kids loved playing together and it was a delight to get to enjoy each other’s company while they did so. Aside from camping, this was the first time we’d ever really vacationed with friends. Although I’d consider this the most-casual version of “vacationing with friends” (we didn’t stay at the same place, share all meals, or match up our itinerary from the start), it still had the thrill of something new. Not all good friends are good friends to vacation with, but these ones certainly are!

In the midst of those two changes, we enjoyed many of the same things that keep us coming back to Jekyll. On the first night, eager to stretch our legs, we walked to dinner at Red Bug Motors Pizza. It’s a tiny spot with average food, but the walk along the golf course was lovely and the playground right next door was fun while we waited for our order.

The next morning we rented bikes from Jekyll Wheels to complete our fleet for our stay (we’d brought my bike and June’s bike from home, and rented a bike for Shep and a bike with bike seat for John and Annie). We then biked to breakfast at 80 Ocean, which is at the Ocean Club – their waffles are legendary with our kids and always their favorite meal of the trip :)

Then, we biked out to Driftwood Beach, a 10-mile loop. It still shocks me that our kids’ little legs can do it, but the bike path is almost extremely flat, so that helps. We brought lunch from The Pantry, and John and I sat on a blanket and chatted for over an hour while the big kids explored down the beach and Annie puttered around in the tide pools, perfectly content in her own toddler world.

After a gray morning, the sun popped out and lit up a brilliant blue sky when we arrived back at the Island Club mid-afternoon. The kids were desperate to get in the pool, so we did that before cleaning up for dinner at The Wharf, the restaurant steps away from the Island Club.

The next morning was also gray, so after biking to 80 Ocean for breakfast (more waffles!), we drove out to Horton Pond to see if we could see any gators. The skies opened up while we were pulling in, but we dodged the raindrops to get to the observation platform and spotted a few despite the rain. We were stranded with a kind couple from Ohio who had been vacationing in Jekyll for 18 years – it was fun to chat!

From there, we visited the Georgia Sea Turtle Center (more about that here), had lunch at The Pantry, and then met up with our friends for a gray late-afternoon exploring tide pools at the beach.

We then hustled to our rooms to change before zipping back to the Ocean Club for dinner. The kids were beyond thrilled to be seated at the kitchen bar, where they had a front-row seat to the wood-fired oven and pizza-making station. Very fun and memorable.

The next morning we had breakfast at the Island Club restaurant’s buffet. It’s fun to eat in the formal dining room, but I might skip it next time – hard to compete with those waffles, ha. We spent some time exploring the grounds and cottages before meeting up with our friends for another bike ride out to Driftwood Beach (!). I don’t think our kids would have agreed to 10-mile rides on back-to-back days, but the lure of riding with friends and playing together at the beach was overpowering.

Afterwards, we briefly swam at the Ocean Club pool before hustling back to the Island Club with a thunderstorm at our backs. We met back up with our friends at Driftwood Bistro for a last dinner together of simple, classic, yummy Southern favorites before one more night in the turret and one more breakfast of waffles before heading back to North Carolina the next morning.

Each day with these people is precious. I’m so grateful we got to return to Jekyll this year, and to add another layer onto our spring break memories. Thanks for letting me share a peek, friends!

Our 2021 trip to Jekyll Island
Our 2022 trip to Jekyll Island

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May 2, 2024 7:32 am

Loved this fun recap! Hoping to travel to the Jekyll Island Club someday thanks to your recommendation. Thanks for sharing :)

May 4, 2024 5:27 pm

What a fun adventure!😘

May 7, 2024 10:42 pm

Always so fun seeing your Jekyll recap! It’s my very favorite spot in the area! I feel super lucky that it‘s just a short drive away and easily doable for a day at the beach. But I think it would also be super fun to actually spend a couple of nights there!

May 8, 2024 2:48 pm

Looks like so much fun!! Sharing this with Dave so we can add it to our list :)