Having not been to the beach even once this year, our young family of four decided to take a short, fall vacation to Jekyll Island, GA, before the weather got too chilly to enjoy the sand and ocean. We moved to Atlanta 6 years ago and never heard of Jekyll Island until just recently. Now that we’ve been there, I feel like it’s one of Georgia’s hidden treasures and best kept secrets! We stayed at the brand new, oceanfront Jekyll Ocean Club boutique hotel. Opened in Summer 2017, the JOC is owned by the historic Jekyll Island Club Resort and, though completely different in aesthetic and vibe than its parent-property, is equally as beautiful (in my opinion). To say we had an amazing time would be the understatement of the year. So, if you’re on the fence about your next family vacation destination, here are 8 reasons you should visit Jekyll Island, GA, and stay at the Jekyll Ocean Club (listed in no particular order).
The Hotel is Small and the Rooms are Big
With only 40 suites (did I mention the rooms are all suites and all oceanfront?), you don’t have to be concerned about overcrowding at the pool or on the beach. We checked in on a Thursday and practically had the whole place to ourselves; it was amazing to be able to explore and take in the tiny details and perfect touches everywhere without a ton of people around. (Keep in mind, we visited the first weekend of October so we were there during off-season even though it was still between 85-90 degrees out; God bless the south.) By Friday night, the hotel was at capacity with all rooms being filled and it was great to have company at the pool – my girls had friends to play with – without worrying about whether we’d get a chair to lounge on or not. Even at capacity, we never felt crowded.
The suites are beautiful and were a great size (and can be adjoining, too!). Each suite has a bedroom and living area that are separated by a hallway and bathroom with pocket doors. The living area is oceanfront with sliding doors to a patio with a small table and lounge chairs. The first thing I did when I arrived was open the sliding doors so I could listen to the ocean. Such a sweet, sweet sound. The living area has black-out curtains and a pull-out sofa bed on which my girls, ages 5 and 3, slept together. There’s also a table, two chairs, and a TV. Oh, and by the way, the hotel robes in the generously-sized closet are literally the softest and most comfortable I’ve ever worn.
Side Note: One thing you should know if traveling with small children is the bathrooms do not have bathtubs, only showers. This was a less than ideal situation for my 3 year old but we powered through it. My only other wish was that we could have ordered room service but that wasn’t an option. That said, if those were the only things I would have changed, I’d say the place was pretty darn great!
Our suite was on the third (top) floor of the hotel and our view was amazing. Photos literally do not do it any justice.
The Beach is Only Steps Away
All you have to do is walk outside, grab some towels from the pool, and walk straight to the beach. The amazing Jekyll Ocean Club staff will already have beach chairs (and umbrellas if it’s not too windy out) set up at no additional charge to you. All you need to bring is your suit, sunscreen, and beach toys. The beach was very clean and not crowded at all.
The Pool is Kid-Friendly
One of my kids is an Ocean Queen who needs to be forcibly removed from the beach, the other is a Sand Dweller who won’t go near the waves. Another reason we loved how close the beach was to the hotel was that we could easily go back and forth between both (just don’t forget to use one of the convenient showers before jumping in the pool). My favorite part about the pool was that there is a 1 ft swimming area for kids that’s essentially just a giant ledge. I had never seen that before and I loved it.
There’s also a hot tub and fire pit with Adirondack chairs as well as a separate lounge area at the pool. There are immaculate restrooms and full showers out there, too. Oh, and plenty of pool chairs and umbrellas. Also, you can order food and drinks from the on-site restaurant, Corsair, while outside as well; we ate dinner at one of the outdoor tables on our second night and it was great.
The Ocean Club Living Room is Relaxing
On the main floor of the hotel, there is a Living Room area that has lots of couches, tables, games, and books to peruse. The entire hotel has a nautical theme and the Living Room was the focal point of it all. It’s just a really relaxing spot. Also, it’s right next to Corsair, which often has live music for dinner on weekends so it’s a great place to enjoy some tunes, too!
Corsair is Delicious
Corsair is Jekyll Ocean Club‘s on-site restaurant and it is ah-mazing. I love the vibe of Corsair. The natural light during the day is amazing and the kitchen is wide open so you can watch the staff prepare your meal if you’d like. The candles on each table provide a lovely ambiance at night. We ate 5 of our 8 meals at Corsair and everything we had was delicious; I don’t think there was a bad option on the menu. The drinks were phenomenal, too. Oh, and they have great kids’ options! Of course, you don’t have to worry about carrying cash because everything can be charged back to your room. I definitely went home having gained a pound or two from our stay.
You’ll Have Access to Jekyll Island Club Resort
Since Jekyll Ocean Club is an addition to the Jekyll Island Club Resort, guests of JOC are able to enjoy all of JICR’s amenities! There is a shuttle that runs between the two properties every 10-15 minutes, free of charge. We decided to take the shuttle over to enjoy the JICR’s pool one afternoon (although the one at the Ocean Club is more shallow and better suited for my small children) and have lunch at The Pool House, which is JICR’s poolside restaurant/bar. Since the resorts are connected, we were able to charge it back to our room which was very convenient.
Jekyll Island Club Resort is beautiful and full of so much history and charm. From the rocking-chair lined patio, croquet in the yard, and Grand Dining Room (make sure you bring appropriate attire if you plan to dine there), everything is perfection. We didn’t spend too much time on the property but wanted to be sure to check out its character.
The Wharf is a Great Spot
On the last night of our trip, we jumped on the resort shuttle and headed to The Wharf which is a newly reopened yet historic open-air dining restaurant right on the water. It’s part of the resort so, again, we were able to charge it to our room. Though the tide was low for our visit, we loved looking out onto the water and watching the boats. In fact, it took us a few minutes to even walk into the restaurant because we were too busy checking everything out from the dock!
We loved the casual atmosphere of The Wharf and that they even had crayons and kids’ menus for my girls to color (and cute kids’ cups, too!). Much like Jekyll Ocean Club, The Wharf had a great nautical theme that I loved.
The food and drinks at The Wharf were truly delicious and were prepared so quickly for us! I’m not sure if we just got lucky or if they’re always that fast but we weren’t complaining! And, even though I didn’t capture my girls’ meals, just know that they were delicious!
After dinner, we stayed on the dock for a bit to enjoy the scenery, chase some seagulls, and watch the sunset.
Jekyll Island Beach Village is Adorable
There is the most adorable little village just about a block away from the Jekyll Ocean Club with shops and cafes. We took a stroll over there to check it out and loved how cute it was. I had to stop myself from buying anything other than the souvenir seashells my girls picked out.
So if you’re not convinced yet, I should also add that there are a lot of family fun options on the island and the resort shuttle will take you to (at least most of) them! There’s bike-rentals, boating, mini golf, a seasonal water-park, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, horseback riding, and more! Jekyll Ocean Club is a casual, laid back, family-friendly scene that’s also great for a couple’s getaway, too. The entire staff was incredible and showed us true southern hospitality. I think it goes without saying that we will definitely be back!
Have you been to Jekyll Island, GA? If so, tell me about your trip in the comments!