If you’re planning a Jekyll Island getaway, you’re in for an exotic ride. Expect coastal beaches, ancient ruins, and peaceful people. Then, the inviting promenade and the captivating wildlife ensure that there’s never a dull moment on Jekyll Island!
Yet, you may wonder when the best time to visit Jekyll Island is — the answer is simple: it all depends on your budget, climate preferences, and what you hope to get out of your journey.
So let us help you by guiding you on this wonderful Jekyll Island adventure! We’ll show you all you need to know.
The Best Time to Visit Jekyll Island
The most desirable time to visit Jekyll Island is either in spring (March–May) or summer (June–August). These two seasons are not only the busiest with tourists but also the hottest of the entire year.
Spring is special, as flowers bloom, the temperatures increase, and the whole island seems to be slowly reemerging from a winter’s sleep.
Temperatures usually fluctuate anywhere from the 50s in March to the 70s in May. Humidity is also a big factor at this time, so note that even when the weather’s not at its best, it won’t feel as chilly as it may actually be.
Rain is rare in spring, which is yet another reason why visitors flock to the island at this time. Avoiding the summer crowds doesn’t hurt, either.
If you pick spring for your Jekyll Island minibreak, you have to head to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. With May marking the beginning of the sea turtle nesting season in the region, it’s definitely going to be a memorable experience.
Getting immersed into the region’s history by paying Fort Frederica National Monument a visit is also a must. Unsurprisingly, summers are the busiest season on Jekyll Island.
You can expect hot weather but not scorching temperatures — typically, they vary between the upper 80s and the low 70s.
Although this is somewhat of a big difference, humidity is non-existent during summer, as summers tend to be quite dry, so high temperatures are less exhausting than they would be if humidity played a role.
In any case, summer is the perfect time to take advantage of the nice weather, hit the beach, bask in the sun, and chill in the stunning waters. If you’re coming to Jekyll Island in the summer, make sure to book your stay well in advance. Also, note that lodging costs more than usual.
One thing that you can’t go without when visiting Jekyll Island is the seasonal Summer Waves Water Park. Also, if you’re there for the Fourth of July, make sure to check local celebrations and follow the fireworks.
Cheapest Time to Visit Jekyll Island
Budget-minded folks should head to Jekyll Island in November.
Arguably the least expensive month, November is when you can score nice airfare deals and hotels, and other accommodation options may be reasonably priced compared to the hectic summer months.
Also, children are already back to school, people stick to a tighter work schedule, and crowds on Jekyll Island, on the whole, are not that much of a thing.
Least Busy Time to Visit Jekyll Island
Speaking of crowds, if you’re truly hoping to avoid them, visit Jekyll Island in the fall shoulder season — that is, anytime from September through November.
The fall season is fairly slow, so it’ll likely feel like you’ve got yourself a private island. These months, however, see temperatures drop to the low 50s, with average maximums in the 70s.
Still a comfortable month, September is the hottest out of the three, and with the arrival of October, temperatures tend to drop dramatically. Fall is ideal for touring the National Historic Landmark District.
You can either do so alone or opt for a guided tour and leave things to professionals. With 34 historic structures, National Historic Landmark District is one of the top contributing factors to Jekyll Island’s beauty and, even more so, its popularity.
If you visit the island around Labor Day, opt for a sleeping-in-a-tent experience at the Jekyll Island Campground. Heading to Jekyll Island during Thanksgiving, though, means letting locals do the cooking.
Worst Time to Visit Jekyll Island
Although there isn’t a bad time to visit this gem of an island (let alone the worst!), we’d suggest avoiding winter (December–February).
It’s hands down colder than any other season, the outdoor activities you can engage in are fairly limited, and summer clothes are out of the question. These months’ high temperatures hover around the 60s, whereas lows fall as low as the 40s or even 50s.
That said, indoor activities are always here to keep you entertained, and rain isn’t that frequent to end up ruining your island plans. Art lovers should make time for the yearly Island Treasures event (January/February).
Although winter is rather slow and somewhat monotonous on the island, the Christmas period puts everyone in a festive mood, and the island overall lightens up.
If you’re up for such festivity, consider attending the well-known Holly Jolly Jekyll. Just imagine the island decorated in Christmas splendor, lights, engaging craft workshops, and a plethora of culinary traditions. What a time to visit!
Things to Consider
To make sure your Jekyll Island adventure is as organized as possible, consider the following pieces of information:
- If you enter Jekyll Island with a vehicle, note that a parking pass is required. To obtain one, you have to buy it online before your arrival or purchase it at the island’s entry gate. You can choose among single, multi-day, or yearly passes.
- Keep in mind that the parking fee situation may change depending on the event taking place. For instance, during the Jekyll Island Shrimp & Grits Festival, the parking fee increases to an extra $4 per day/week. That said, the yearly passes don’t undergo any price changes.
- If you head to Driftwood Beach, make sure to get the latest information on the tides — when it’s high tide, the beach isn’t that readily accessible or overly spacious.
- Flashlights aren’t permitted on beaches unless they’re turtle-friendly. Motorized vehicles, overnight camping, glass containers, metal/mineral detectors, and fires aren’t allowed as well. Also, horseback riding isn’t permitted unless it’s by licensed vendors.
- Located on the coast, the island is at risk for hurricanes, which means both locals and visitors should be aware of potential storms and how to keep themselves safe if a hurricane strikes. Note that all emergency announcements are communicated via the Glynn County Emergency Management Agency. People are also encouraged to register for the Nixle emergency notification system.
- Flooding is a big deal on the island, too, with marshes and beaches being the most susceptible. The tricky thing is that flash floods occur with little to no warning. To prepare better and be alerted for any potential floods in your area, download the Flood Preparedness Pamphlet.
- Neither swimming nor fishing is allowed in ponds and lakes. Fireworks aren’t allowed either — unless authorized differently by the Jekyll Island Authority. Using drones for recreational purposes is prohibited too.
- Show respect to all wildlife. Harassing, hurting, or even feeding animals is against the law. If you‘re attacked by an animal, call 911 right away. If you come across an injured animal, get in touch with JIA Wildlife Response.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a fun fact about Jekyll Island?
There are many interesting facts about Jekyll Island, but the one that will probably surprise you the most is that there are no traffic signals on the island. Shocking, right?
Is it safe to swim in the ocean at Jekyll Island?
In general, it’s safe to swim in the ocean at Jekyll Island, but be on the lookout for official announcements by the health department regarding some beaches due to high bacteria levels.
How much does it cost to go to Jekyll Island?
Based on previous travelers’ experiences, you should set aside approximately $156 per day for your Jekyll Island holiday. On average, past visitors have spent $45 on meals and $41 on transportation per day.
Additionally, average hotel prices for a couple cost $176. That said, traveling with a family of three to four people means prices go down as kids get a free pass or lower prices, and also hotel rooms are often shared.
Last but not least, keep in mind that although these are past travelers’ budget experiences, they’re approximations and could very well change over time.
What are the most popular restaurants on Jekyll Island?
Jekyll Island has a myriad of popular restaurants. Here are the best ones: Driftwood Bistro, Grand Dining Room, Beach House, The Wharf, Zachry’s Riverhouse, Sunrise Grille, Wee Pub Beach, Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint, Tribuzio’s Grille, The Reserve Steak House, and Tortuga Jacks Jekyll.
Does Jekyll Island have good beaches?
Beaches on Jekyll Island aren’t just good — they’re spectacular. Here are our beach recommendations for your island stay: Corsair Beach Park, Oceanview Beach Park, St. Andrews Beach Park, South Dunes Beach Park, Great Dunes Beach Park.
Why is the water at Jekyll Island so dark?
The water on Jekyll Island has a brownish color as a result of the two rivers in close proximity flowing into the ocean. This “water interaction” turns the water brown by stirring up sediment from marshes and swamps.
Can you take driftwood from Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island?
While it sure is tempting to take driftwood from Driftwood Beach, doing so is strongly prohibited. In fact, during your stay on the beach, you’ll more than likely come across signs requesting people not to take any driftwood pieces.
What wildlife is on Jekyll Island?
Jekyll Island has a plethora of animals, such as bobcats, raccoons, dolphins, sea turtles, turtles, frogs, marsh rabbits, alligators, squirrels, whitetail deer, banded water snakes, diamondback terrapin, rough green snakes, and so on.
Are pets allowed on the beach on Jekyll Island?
Yes, pets are allowed on beaches, but they need to be on a leash all the time (the max length for a leash is 16ft). That said, note that pets aren’t permitted on the beach between the South Dunes Picnic Area and some 2000ft northeast of the St. Andrews Picnic Area.
Over to You — Book Your Trip Today!
Let’s quickly go through some of the details we provided in our guide to ensure you go away with the most important information:
- On the whole, the best time to visit Jekyll Island is either in spring (March–May) or summer (June–August). The weather is promising, the outdoor activities fun and engaging, and the whole island is buzzing with energy like no other.
- The cheapest time to head there is in November. If you’re trying to stick to a budget, search for flights around this time and choose the best accommodation option that resonates with you money-wise.
- The least busy time to visit Jekyll Island is anytime from September through November. A shoulder season, these three months are ideal for visitors who wish to avoid the busy summer crowds and the island heat and enjoy the limbo period before winter arrives on Jekyll Island.
- The worst time to find yourself on Jekyll Island is in winter (December–February). The weather is tourist-repellent at this time, outdoor activities are replaced with indoor ones, and the overall island lacks summer’s majestic vibe.
However, the Christmas season manages to compensate, and while Jekyll Island may not be the winter idyll from your dreams, it’s dreamlike, nevertheless.
Put simply, the island is so seductive and radiates a natural beauty few can resist, so chances are you’re going to enjoy your stay regardless of when you decide to visit. So, happy island travels!