On Jekyll Island, waves lick the 10 miles of beaches as kayaks cut through the salty water, cyclists roll over 20 miles of paved trails, and riders on horseback clop through hushed maritime forests. All visitors to the barrier island can partake in myriad active, relaxing, or educational activities while immersed in its lush natural landscapes, where dunes give way to beaches filled with hermit crabs and shell collecting and where birders clutch binoculars to examine avian habitats and decode gulls' sign language. The island's public golf club, open since 1898, hosts two 18-hole courses and one 9-hole course on manicured greens and rolling terrain. In the summer, the Summer Waves Water Park provides a cool escape from the heat with six slides, a wave pool, and a lazy river. For indoor adventurers, exhibits at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center illuminate the lives of the shelled reptiles, and a museum preserves relics of the wealthy families who used the island as their gilded getaway and a place to bury their expired money. The Jekyll Island Authority oversees all conservation and development on the idyllic island, existing to continually improve the park and its amenities.
St. Simons Island, recently named the third-best island in the country by AOL Travel, is etched with an elaborate network of scenic biking trails, which visitors can explore on a fleet of rental two-wheelers. A web of leisurely tracks weaves through the south end of the resort village, winding along the marshlands coast at East Beach and along the length of Frederica Road. Cyclists can also navigate the island's pearly beaches or traverse the popular airport trail. For a more demanding outing, a 12-mile stretch originating at the northern end of Frederica Road offers wide-open riding, panoramic views, and honey-coated speed bumps.A scenic, 20-mile drive south brings island hoppers to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, a marine-turtle rehabilitation, research, and education center located on Jekyll Island. During guided tours, guests explore a host of exhibits on the islands' indigenous reptiles, illuminating the creatures' habits, human efforts to protect them, and findings from ecological and wildlife health research. In addition to sea turtles, the center also nurtures diamondback terrapins, river cooters, and gopher tortoises.
The waters and marshes around St. Simons Island are home to many creatures: dolphins, manatees, and blue herons, just to name a few. The aquatic habitats also welcome the occasional paddleboarding human thanks to the instructors at SSI SUP. These experts take paddlers of all skill levels on scenic tours. The staff also offers a complimentary Island Concierge service, helping customers plan island activities such as romantic picnics.