a floridays journey

a floridays journey

Trip 5 – Jekyll Island

Dates:April 15 – 19, 2023
Amenities:Water, Electric, Sewer
What we learned:Get up early to catch the sunrise
Would we go back?Definitely Yes

Floridays first excursion out of Florida was to Jekyll Island, Georgia for our 24th wedding anniversary. We have always enjoyed our April anniversary trips and this was no exception.

It was a 5 hour’s drive and the traffic was horrendous just north of Jacksonville. It seemed everyone was going back north from spring break and the season. There were so many northern license plates on cars and RVs that it was hard to count. Traffic finally let up once we got into Georgia.

When you arrive at Jekyll Island there is an $8 fee to go onto the island. Our wait was not long, maybe 15 minutes. I cannot imagine how long the line is during their season. Once on the island, the campground is about 4 miles to the North. We checked into the campground and were escorted to our site. You cannot book a specific campsite online so we did not know where we would end up. F8 was a very narrow spot between 2 trees. The tricky part was a group of 12 children behind us running all over the place. Wayne had to ask the parents to watch them so I could get Floridays situated at our campsite. After settling in we went out on the bikes to explore. The campground is about .5 miles from the famous Driftwood Beach and the fishing pier. There is a beach horseback riding concession near the pier. The campground hosts a bird sanctuary, which was swarmed with birds. We were in heaven.

This is the first trip we watched and photographed every sunrise and sunset. Each one was magical in its own way. Every day was filled with adventure from before sun up to after sundown. I am not going to lie that waking up to catch sunrise was very difficult but once the orange hit the horizon the early morning grogginess disappeared.

We have ridden our bikes on most of the trips but we are by no means hardcore bike-riding enthusiasts. With that said we rode over 80 miles in 3 days. The bike rides had some of the most beautiful scenery we have encountered in the Southeast. The trail winds along the coastal savannah under giant oak trees dripping with Spanish moss. The trail goes through the historic section of the island where the rich and famous vacationed and partied. While the architecture isn’t spectacular it was unique and interesting. We did not take a trolly ride or horse and buggy ride but these items are on the list for the next visit. As you leave the historic district the paved bike path ends and turns into a dirt path through the woods. The bike trail meanders back to a paved road and dirt path a few times as you are making your way around the island. On the southeast end of the island, we ventured with the bikes down to the beach. The beach was hard enough to ride our bikes and since we had never ridden on a beach before we took off.

Wayne was not shocked in the least when I found out there was a Sea Turtle Center on the island and I wanted to visit. The $10 entrance fee was well worth the price. The center takes care of sea turtles as well as land-dwelling turtles such as gopher tortoises, box turtles, and terrapins. There is an area where you can watch the nurses and doctors work on injured turtles. While we were there we watched one of the doctors bandage up a gopher tortoise that had been attacked by a dog. Out back they have an area for box turtles and a room with tanks for sea turtles.

Who hasn’t always wanted to go horseback riding on the beach? Me. We didn’t just book a horseback ride on the beach we booked a horseback sunset ride on the beach. The largest horse there was named Barney and I chose him or should I say he chose me. He was a gentle giant. Wayne rode Betty, a beautiful white horse. We had not been on horses since our teenage years.

Animal encounters: horses, Bald Eagle, Armadillo, Racoon, Royal Terns, Black Skimmers, Cormorants, Bottle-nosed Dolphins, Painted Bunting, Hummingbirds, Laughing Gulls, White Backed Tussock Caterpillar

Wayne says we took some of the best photographs we have ever taken. We had such a great time we booked next year’s anniversary trip back to Jekyll Island while we were there. When we got home I kept texting Wayne that when I close my eyes all I see is beautiful sunrise through dead trees on a beach. To say we had a great time is an understatement.

NOTE: All photos and videos are the property of Wayne and Margaret Shoemake. If you want to use them, please click on the contact us page and email us.