If you have never been to Jekyll Island, Georgia, now is a great time to go. If it’s been a while, it’s time to plan a return trip. The Jekyll Island Authority is in the midst of a major revitalization effort. During a recent trip to St. Simons Island, I scouted the improvements at Jekyll Island and was quite surprised at the transformation. Here are some of the most exciting updates.
The Village Green in Beach Village: As soon as you reach the island, past a traffic circle is a new gathering space between the Jekyll Island Convention Center and The Westin Hotel. The open air space plays host to outdoor movie nights, concerts and seasonal events. Surrounding the green space is the Beach Village Shops, which include restaurants, boutiques, gift shops and a sweet shop — because what beach village is complete without a place for ice cream?
Ice Skating on the Beach: A new signature experience on the Georgia Coast is oceanfront ice skating at North Dunes Park on Jekyll Island. The rink isn’t really made of ice; it’s a synthetic blend, but you strap on skates and glide across just the same. If you’d like to ice skate on the beach, better hurry. The Jekyll Island Skating Village closes on Jan. 10, 2016, but stay tuned; it’s sure to come back again next holiday season, and I’m betting it makes a few guest appearances during the year, as well.
More Hotel Choices: I’m a huge fan of the historic Jekyll Island Club Hotel, but I’m glad to see some additional options available. I toured the common areas of The Westin and the Hampton Inn and Suites, two of three new hotels on the island. The Westin is a convention hotel located next to the Village Green. They have several oceanfront rooms as well as a rooftop bar that looks out over the dunes. The Hampton Inn and Suites sits off the ocean behind the dunes, but with easy access and lots of gathering areas for families. The third new hotel is the Holiday Inn Resort. I need to make a return trip to check out that one.
And some old favorites: Now through February, the Jekyll Island Authority is hosting the annual Island Treasures glass float hunt. Search for one-of-a-kind glass floats created by artists across the country. That event is on my bucket list, but here are five things to do on Jekyll Island that my family has enjoyed and are easy to do any time of year.