Jekyll Island, Georgia at a Glance
Location: Georgia’s Atlantic Coast within the chain of the Golden Isles
Access: Interstate 95; Jekyll Island Airport, Brunswick-Golden Isles Airport, Savannah International Airport, Jacksonville International Airport, St. Simons Island Airport
Major Meeting Spaces: Jekyll Island Convention Center, Jekyll Island Club Resort, Jekyll Island Ocean Club, Westin Jekyll Island
Hotel Rooms: 1,400
Off-Site Venues: Georgia Sea Turtle Center
Jekyll Island Authority
Stretching along Georgia’s southern coastline, the Golden Isles have intrigued adventurers for generations.
Jekyll Island in particular spoke to the East Coast ultrawealthy — with family names like Rockefeller, Morgan, Vanderbilt and Pulitzer — the likes of which built an exclusive hunting club there in the late 1800s Gilded Age. In 1910, the nation’s Federal Reserve System and Bank were established in that club, which evolved into the Jekyll Island Club Resort.
In 1947, the state of Georgia purchased the island, designating it Jekyll Island State Park. Acting governor M.E. Thompson declared it a “playground” for every Georgian. At the time, he likely had no idea it would become a destination that lures 3 million visitors annually.
No surprise there. Ten miles of pristine ocean beaches include Driftwood Beach, consistently voted America’s most enchanting beach. Exciting activities abound, from kayaking to horseback riding, birdwatching, sport fishing, exploring the Jekyll Island Museum and trying one’s luck at the Emerald Princess Casino. The surrounding Atlantic Ocean teems with pods of playful bottlenose dolphins, and a dolphin tour through coastal waterways, into salt marshes and past wild beaches offers lovely views of Jekyll and frequent sightings of sea life.
One of the country’s largest historic areas, the Jekyll Island National Historic Landmark District covers 240 acres with 34 historic structures. Fascinating history becomes clear on concierge-led tours, trolley tours and carriage tours. The district has been the setting for movies, including “The Legend of Bagger Vance,” and hosted stars Will Smith and Matt Damon during filming.
The island is pure magic and a shoo-in for meeting attendees to bring their families for beach time, island shopping, ghost tours and ranger-led kids programs.
“Several major draws entice planners to choose Jekyll Island as a meeting destination,” said Kathryn Hearn, marketing communications manager for the Jekyll Island Authority. “The island’s unspoiled natural surroundings provide a refreshing, inspiring setting. It’s home to the Jekyll Island Club Historic Landmark District, which offers elegant, historic venues for meetings.
“A range of accommodations from beachfront resorts to budget-friendly hotels give options to accommodate planners’ preferences. And the island’s focus on sustainability and environmental conservation makes it green-event friendly.”
Jekyll Island Convention Center
The Southeast’s only oceanfront convention space, 128,000-square-foot Jekyll Island Convention Center (JICC) can host meetings for 200 to 2,000. Built in 1929 as an indoor tennis club, its Morgan Ballroom, named in honor of J.P. Morgan, was renovated to become part of the JICC in 2012. Today, the LEED-certified center has 78,000 square feet of meeting space. With a 45,140-square-foot ballroom, 11 breakouts and in-house catering, JICC features wide ocean views to relax the busiest of corporate minds.
Today’s Morgan Ballroom, which has more than 4,200 square feet of ground-level meeting space, a mezzanine, foyer and an outdoor terrace, is ideal for gatherings of up to 500 guests.
The Jekyll Island Club Resort — with its adjacent Island Cottages — treats guests with a gracious, late-19th century charm, offers historically inspired accommodations and affords direct access to the National Landmark Jekyll Island Historic District. The AAA Four-Diamond, all-suite Jekyll Island Ocean Club shines with Atlantic views and ocean lifestyle.
Together, the two properties have 200 recently renovated rooms, including 10 suites in the former and 40 oceanfront suites in the latter. The resorts share 14,500 square feet of meeting space, use of pools and beach, all amenities, restaurants and bars, and complimentary shuttle service between the two.
Georgia Sea Turtle Center
More than 1,500 patients — all turtles — have been rehabilitated and released since the Georgia Sea Turtle Center opened in 2007. Created and operated by the Jekyll Island Authority, it is a conservation-focused, interactive education, research and rehab facility. Groups can learn about nesting sea turtles, see reptilian patients being rehabbed in hospital tanks and hear about state-of-the-art veterinary care.
Groups of more than 50 can take 45-minute tours, while six or fewer can venture behind the scenes to see the center’s inner workings. And at a Critters and Cocktails event, animal ambassadors, such as turtles and snakes, illustrate the importance of protecting the ecosystem.
Georgia’s largest public golf facility, the Jekyll Island Golf Club, boasts three 18-hole courses and one nine-hole course — a remnant of the original 1926 seaside course — as well as miniature golf, a full-service clubhouse and practice resources. A Jekyll Island Authority Golf Improvement Plan has reclassified coastal prairie land to enhance the viewshed. Teams can enjoy the Jekyll Island Tennis Center, Summer Waves Water Park, a beach run or walk, croquet, a historic cottage crawl, fishing charters or cycling on 24 miles of bike paths.