Visiting the Jekyll Island Historic District
Steeped in rich history and natural beauty – including ten miles of pristine beaches – Jekyll Island is the perfect destination for a year-round getaway. In the southeastern portion of Jekyll Island, you’ll find the Jekyll Island Historic District: 240 acres of protected land including 34 preserved structures from the Gilded Age.
From 1886 to 1948, this area was home to the Jekyll Island Club, an ultra-exclusive winter retreat for some of the country’s most prominent figures including J.P Morgan, William K. Vanderbilt, William Rockefeller and Frank Henry Goodyear.
The historic island was designated a National Historic Landmark by the state of Georgia in 1978 and its many outdoor activities, historical landmarks and natural beauty have made it a top destination in the state ever since.
What is there to do in Jekyll Island Historic District?
There are many reasons why the Jekyll Island Historic District is a favorite destination among families, history buffs and nature lovers alike. Here are a few ways to enjoy the historic charm of the Jekyll Island Historic District.
Take a Historical Tour & Visit Mosaic Gallery
With the island’s rich history and commitment to preservation, historical tours are a must for visitors to Jekyll Island. These tours will guide you to many of the island’s historical landmarks, including Hollybourne Cottage and Faith Chapel, which was built in
1904 and features terracotta gargoyles and Tiffany stained glass windows. Another notable tour stop is Horton House, the former home of William Horton, one of General Oglethorpe’s top military aides, who grew a variety of crops and brewed Georgia’s first beer at his Jekyll Island plantation.
A walk down Millionaire’s Row, sometimes known as Millionaire’s Village, offers visitors a walk back in time. This street studded with live oak trees and Spanish moss is home to several cottages once owned by some of the most prominent and richest families in the world. The cottages, which primarily served as vacation homes, were once centerpieces of extravagant dinners and meetings among the nation’s elite.
Many of the cottages on Jekyll Island have been restored and are open to the public. Visitors can walk the grounds or join in on a guided tour, starting from the visitor center in the Jekyll Island Historic District.
Hungry for more history? Add Mosaic Gallery to your list when visiting Jekyll Island Historic District. This interactive museum offers a deeper look into the island’s lively past with in-depth exhibits and displays that are exciting for both children and adults. Mosaic Gallery is located on Stable Road and is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm.
The 60-minute Landmark Trolley Tour is a great option for a guided tour of all 240 acres of the historic district. Tickets include entry to Faith Chapel and Mosaic Gallery.
Explore Jekyll Island Club Resort & the Shops on Pier Road
When exploring Jekyll Island Historic District, be sure to visit the illustrious Jekyll Island Club Resort. This expansive resort, which was once the meeting place for the elite members of Jekyll Island Club, was also the site of the first transcontinental phone call on January 25, 1915. As if that wasn’t history enough, the club also hosted the first meeting to reform the nation’s banking system – which would later be known as the Federal Reserve.
Pier Road, located just steps from Jekyll Island Club Resort, is another great stop for visitors and is dotted with restaurants, gift shops and an ice cream shop – perfect for finding souvenirs and enjoying a leisurely day on Jekyll Island!
Bike the Island
Looking for a more active way to explore the history of Jekyll Island? Biking across Jekyll is one of the best modes of island transportation thanks to trail systems that span the 7-mile island. Bike north and visit historic Horton House and picturesque Driftwood Beach or head south and enjoy the view at St. Andrew Beach. There is endless beauty to explore all across Jekyll Island!
For Jekyll Island bike rentals, visit the Jekyll Island Bike Barn on the corner of Shell Road and Beachview Drive.