14 Things To Do With Kids on Jekyll Island

Jekyll Island is so much more than a beach vacation destination. Its history includes a mix of cultures, from illegally imported enslaved people to some of America's most well-known millionaires. You've got a winning family vacation spot when you pair history with beautiful beaches, eco-tours, and outdoor sports. 

14 Things To Do With Kids on Jekyll Island

Jekyll Island, Georgia
Image Credit: Jo Jakeman – Jekyll Island, CC BY 2.0 / Wiki Commons.

From seeing sea turtles to challenging your friends and family to a round of mini golf, this list of things to do with kids on Jekyll Island will keep you busy.

1. Summer Waves Water Park

Summer Waves Water Park Jekyll Island, Georgia
Image Credit: Summer Waves Water Park.

Families will love Summer Waves Water Park. It's got high-thrill slides for the more daring but also includes a splash pad, lazy river, and a fun kids' zone. Full-size cabanas are available around the park when your family wants a break.

Admission is cheaper Monday – Thursday. There is a food vendor in the park, but if you prefer to bring your own, there is a picnic area outside the park. If needed, you can get your hand stamped for re-entry. 

2. Visit The Georgia Sea Turtle Center

Georgia Sea Turtle Center, Jekyll Island, Georgia
Image Credit: Georgia Sea Turtle Center.

If your family has animal lovers, take advantage of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.

One building has interactive exhibits teaching about marine life and coastal habitats. The next building is where visitors can see live turtles in various stages of rehabilitation. 

The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is the only turtle rehabilitation center in Georgia, and they also do plenty of educational outreach. Summer programs include beach walks with a naturalist at sunrise or evening. Admission to the center and all the programs require a fee.

3. Ranger Walks & Tours

Jekyll Island Gatorology Tour, Alligator
Image Credit: Picasa / Jekyll Island Foundation.

Did you know Jekyll Island is a state park? The rangers offer programs and tours about the varied ecology of the island. One of the most popular is the Gatorology tour. Learn about the American Alligator and the on-island monitoring of them. You might even get a turn holding a baby alligator! 

4. Family Biking

Family Biking Jekyll Island, Georgia
Image Credit: Explore Georgia.

The best way to explore the island is by bike. Biking with kids on Jekyll Island is safe and fun, with designated bike paths with shady oaks. Three bike rental locations around the island rent tricycles, tandem bikes, surreys, and bike trailers!

5. Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding Jekyll Island, Georgia
Image Credit: Three Oaks Farm.

A fun way to explore Driftwood Beach is on horseback. Take a one-hour beach trail or sunset ride with the guides from Three Oaks Farm. They also offer carriage tours of the historic district if you prefer to ride behind a horse and not on it. 

6. Play a Round of Mini Golf

Jekyll Island Mini Golf
Image Credit: Jekyll Island Mini Golf.

Across the street from Great Dunes Park, you'll find Jekyll Island Mini Golf. There are two 18-hole courses with different levels of difficulty. Children five and under are free with a paying adult! If your kids can't get enough, same-day replay is half-price, and there's an all-day option. 

7. Burn off Energy on The Playground

Jekyll Island, Georgia Playground
Image Credit: Jekyll Island, Georgia.

Kids don't need a lot of bells and whistles to have fun. There are two playgrounds on Jekyll Island, each designated for a specific age group. They are right next to the mini-golf courses and offer shade, restrooms, and refreshment access.

I always had an ulterior motive for going to the playground. You can sit on the Red Bug Motors Pizza deck and watch your kids play. The pizza is fantastic, and the activity is an excellent way for kids to expel energy before bed or nap time.  

8. Fishing With Kids on Jekyll Island

Jekyll Island, Georgia Fishing
Image Credit: Georgia Sport Fishing Charters.

Jekyll offers plenty of opportunities for fishing all over the island. There are plenty of boat charters you can take for fishing excursions. However, grabbing your gear and heading to the beach or a dock to cast your reel is fine. 

The Jekyll Island Fishing Center has gear and bait to rent if you still need to bring yours. It's also the place to obtain a Georgia fishing license if you need one. Kids under 16 won't need a permit. 

9. Take a Family Paddle

Jekyll Island, Georgia Kayaking
Image Credit: Georgia 4H.

Whether you kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddle, there are several rental companies to choose from. If you are uncomfortable paddling in the ocean, the Jekyll River is an option. The 4-H Tidelands Nature Center offers guided kayak tours and canoe rentals. 

10. Play On Seven Beaches

Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island, Georgia
Image Credit: Dsdugan – Own work, CC0 / Wiki Commons.

Several of the beaches on Jekyll Island have their distinct vibe. Visit them all without getting bored! And remember the beach essentials. Oceanview, Corsair, and Great Dunes beaches are the more traditional beaches.

Aptly named Driftwood Beach, it has ancient driftwood scattered about and is a photo-op dream. Glory Beach was the site of filming for the movie Glory. South Dunes offers views of 20-foot dunes, while marsh-facing St. Andrews Beach is the perfect spot for bird watchers. 

11. Explore The Wanderer Memory Trail

Wanderer Memory Trail Jekyll Island, Georgia
Image Credit: Jekyll Island, Georgia.

Although slave importation was outlawed in 1800, The Wanderer came ashore on Jekyll's coast in 1858 with a cargo of over 400 enslaved Africans. The Wanderer Memory Trail includes interactive exhibits telling the story of a young African boy as he moves from capture to freedom. The trail is next to St. Andrews Beach and is a significant site in Jekyll's history. 

12. Mosaic, The Jekyll Island Museum

Jekyll Island Mosaic Museum, Georgia
Image Credit: Jekyll Island Authority.

Kids in a museum? Yes! Mosaic Museum is full of hands-on activities for kids that engage them in the stages of Jekyll Island history, from Native Americans to today's families. Climb behind the wheel of a 1950s Studebaker, hop in a Native American dugout canoe, or try on 19th-century clothes from a virtual wardrobe! 

13. Tour the Historic District 

Jekyll Island Clubhouse, Georgia
Image Credit: DiscoA340 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

The homes in Jekyll Island's Historic District are a must-see. The centerpiece is the opulent Jekyll Island Club Resort that opened its doors in 1888 to America's wealthiest as a winter retreat. The clubhouse and member cottages are worth the look. Many of the paths in the district are open to pedestrians and bikes only. 

If you're interested in more, purchase tour tickets from Mosaic. Their signature 60-minute Landmark Trolley Tour gives you fun and fascinating information about Club members and their homes and entrance to historic Faith Chapel. Other tours are also available, depending on your interests.

14. Take In One of The Jekyll Island Special Events

Jekyll Island, Georgia Turtle Crawl
Image Credit: Picasso / Jekyll Island Foundation.

If you want more things to do with kids on Jekyll Island, check out these special events! 

Island Treasures: January – February

Turtle Crawl: April

Independence Day Fireworks: July

Shrimp & Grits Festival: November

Holly Jolly Jekyll: November – December

Find Your Family Fun on Jekyll Island

Jekyll Island, Georgia Family Biking
Image Credit: Explore Georgia.

There are plenty of things to do with kids on Jekyll Island.

The only problem is deciding which activities to fit into your vacation! Most of these activities are things adults and kids can do together, which means vacation fun for everyone. So, if you're up for a road trip, here are 9 top stops on a Georgia coast vacation.

Amy Albers is a librarian in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta. When she's not getting lost in genealogy and local history, she is finding fun solo and family travel destinations to share with others. With over a dozen years of experience writing about family and travel on her own blog, Amy now enjoys freelance writing. She has three teen and young adult boys who turned her on to all things Marvel and Star Wars and a husband who has nurtured her into a committed SEC football fan. The beach and the great outdoors are her happy places but she's never mad at a luxury hotel. Her book reviews and latest adventures are found on Instagram at Exploring The Amysphere.