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Jekyll Island is a barrier island located six miles off the southeastern coast of Georgia, near the Intracoastal Waterway, about midway between Savannah, Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida. As part of Georgia’s “Golden Isles,” Jekyll Island offers visitors a peaceful, idyllic island setting among moss-draped oaks and swaying palm trees. The island has quite an interesting past that includes Native Americans, English colonists, French privateers and the Jekyll Island Club. The latter began in 1886 when a group of 53 very wealthy businessmen, including JP Morgan and families such as the Vanderbilts and the Rockefellers, bought the island from John du Bignon for $125,000. Their intent was to use Jekyll Island as a private “members only” resort and hunting club during the winter months. After purchasing the island, they proceeded to build a very grand clubhouse and apartments for “members only,” but eventually many of the members built more permanent and private island “cottages,” of which, many remain on Jekyll Island today. These Victorian cottages are part of the charming landscape of the Jekyll Island, and range from austere stone castles to whimsical Victorian cottages with ornate trim. Although considered resplendent by most, these “cottages” were very simple according to their owners, who wanted nothing on the island to outshine the elegant clubhouse. For more than 55 years, these wealthy families enjoyed Jekyll Island, but eventually they sold it to the state of Georgia in 1947 for $650,000. In 1978 it was designated as a National Historic Landmark and is administered today by the Jekyll Island State Park Authority. The 240-acre landmark is often referred as “Millionaire’s Village.”

Fortunately, the original owners deliberately kept the island undeveloped, and to this day, only 35% of Jekyll Island can be developed. This is good news for those looking for an uncrowded, unhurried southern island vacation experience. Due to the strict codes concerning development on the island, Jekyll Island has a truly unique, diverse environment, from a richly preserved maritime forest to its’ dunes and salt marsh ecosystems. The island has become known for its’ natural resources, as well as a being historical landmark. There’s a lot to see and do here, in addition to the historical aspect. For instance, Jekyll Island is Georgia’s largest public golf course with three 18-hole courses and one 9-hole Oceanside course. There are miles of beaches for sunning and shell collecting, biking and hiking trails, a summer wave water park, tennis on 13 courts set among beautiful landscaping, miniature golf, fishing, boating, horseback riding, sightseeing tours, plus several special events held on the island each year. However, Jekyll Island isn’t the place to come if you’re looking for nightlife, although some of the local hotels and restaurants do have their own bars. With its central location, Jekyll Island also offers the perfect location to visit several points of interest within an hour’s drive, including Savannah, Georgia, Fort King George, Sapelo Island, St. Simons Island, Cumberland Island National Seashore and Okefenokee Swamp Park.


 

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