There’s so much to do and see at Jekyll Island we easily could have spent a few days here but we were on a mission to see snow so we couldn’t stay long! Jekyll Island is a town of it’s own, people live there full time! There is a post office, churches, a golf course, an airport (granted it’s really small but still), but most importantly hotels and restaurants! The best part of all? How dog friendly Jekyll Island is!
Before you go make sure to check out the Jekyll Island Official Guide online and keep reading this post to help you plan your dog friendly Jekyll Island trip and narrow down where you would like to go, what activities you would like to do, and Instagram worthy places to see!
Jekyll Island is in a great location about 20 minutes off of I-95 in Brunswick, Georgia in between Jacksonville, Florida and Savannah, Georgia. So it’s not too far off the interstate if you’re driving from either direction on the east coast in Georgia and need somewhere to stop off and stretch everybody’s legs or stop and stay a while.
Upon entry into Jekyll Island you will come to a gate in which you’ll be required to pay an entrance fee of $6.00 per vehicle for the day (or get your pass online here). If you plan to stay longer they do also offer a weekly and annual pass. I would highly suggest turning in at the Guest Information Center right before the entrance to pick up an official guide to the island– which includes a map! Then you’ll drive a few more miles cross over a bridge and then you’ll have to decide what you’d like to do first, the Beach Village area (straight and to the right) or the Historic District (U-turn and then the first right).
Jekyll Island Pet Policy
- Dogs are allowed on beaches and in the parks year round, however they are not allowed on the beach between the South Dunes Picnic Area and 2,000 feet northeast of the St. Andrews Picnic Area
- Your dog must always be on a leash, which can be no longer than 16 feet long
- You must pick up after your dog
*Because policies may change during peak seasons, call the Guest Information Center to verify their dog policies during the time you wish to visit.
It started as a home to a mister John Eugene DuBignon but quickly developed into the most elite and inaccessible club in the world, for only the most rich well known. Pulitzer, anybody? Maybe Vanderbilt will ring a bell? Okay, what about the Rockefellers? These are only a few of the wealthy and notable members of the club. This is where members came to relax in their cottages, go horseback riding, play croquet or tennis, and golf. The cottages and the club are still being restored today to bring back some of the original beauty they once had for these members. If you’re interested in learning more about the history you can visit the exhibits and tours at the Jekyll Island Museum.
Dog Friendly Jekyll Island Activities
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to see or do, I just knew Jekyll Island was a pet friendly place to stop and take a potty break and walk around on our way up to Savannah. We took the first turn which ended up being a U-turn and then the first turn to the right onto Riverview Drive. We were headed to the Historic District!
The first place we found to park was by The Wharf. So we parked and got out and walked around for about an hour. If you’re more into biking, you can bike with your dog to look at all the cottages, plus there are actually bike specific routes throughout the island which would be a perfect way to spend a few hours riding around the entire island. It’s hard not to stare and admire the lush green grass and the tall palms and think about the lives of the rich and famous who walked these paths before us. Sahara quite honestly thought this yard was lovely and we should have found the key to the cottage, I don’t blame her, I’d move in in a heartbeat!
The Historic District was beautifully decorated for Christmas with wreaths on the doors of the cottages, sprays of garland along the banisters, trees decorates with lights, and some yard presents under the tree in front of Sans Souci Cottage and the Indian Mound Cottage.
While there isn’t a way to go swimming here (unless you scramble over the rocks, like we just so happened to do), this was probably my favorite place to explore. I do have to wonder if you are actually allowed to swim here because there was nothing posted about it but the rocks are slippery and quite dangerous. I can’t recommend trying. Perhaps there’s another access area that you are able to actually swim in, we didn’t see anywhere that would be a viable option.
I could have stayed right here on this beach for hours. There’s just so many different things to look at between all of the driftwood, the shells on the beach and the birds flying overhead, you can’t help but smile at the simplicity.
Beach Village Area
Hit up the beach with your dog anywhere with the exception of between the South Dunes Picnic Area and 2,000 feet northeast of the St. Andrews Picnic Area.
The St. Andrews Picnic Area is equipped with grills, picnic tables, and restrooms. This would be a great place to stop for a snack or a meal. It is close to public beach access and has a walking path. This historic site also has a memorial, dedicated to slaves who were brought to Jekyll Island illegally, called The Wanderer, the name of the luxury yacht.
Shopping! The Beach Village Area is a hub of all things shopping and food related. It’s a good way to run errands and refuel for your next adventure!
It is in this area that you will also find the majority of the hotels. I’ve listed dog friendly Jekyll Island hotels below.
Other places worth checking out
- Horton House
- DuBignon Cemetery
- Clam Creek Fishing and Picnic area and pier.
Our Favorite Instagram Worthy Dog Friendly Jekyll Island Locations:
Crane Cottage- this terrace area is a great place to snap some pictures
The Warf- from the boardwalk to the benches along the river you’ll want to have the camera ready. You might even catch a glimpse of a dolphin or two!
Driftwood Beach- shells, rocks, birds, driftwood, Oh My!
Where to eat
As you well know, dogs are not allowed inside restaurants for health reasons… but the following restaurants have outdoor seating, so your dog IS allowed!
- Tortuga Jacks– Mexican food (did somebody say tacos?)
- McGarvey’s Wee Pub Beach– Irish pub, homestyle food (chicken, gourmet burgers, steak, sandwiches)
- Jekyll Market- home to a cafe, grocery, deli, beer and wine, and Love Shack (shrimp and BBQ)
- Red Bug Motors– pizza, plus they deliver anywhere on the island!
- Beach House & The Tap– serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner (seafood, burgers, pizza, salads, beer)
- The Reserve– serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner (casual upscale, American food)
- Dairy Queen- ice cream and American food
- Fuse– frozen yogurt
However if you’re feeling adventurous pack a picnic and eat at any of the picnic tables in the St. Andrews picnic area, Great Dunes park, or somewhere quiet in the Historic District, that’s what I would do!
Where to stay
While we didn’t get a change to stay overnight I was able to find some dog friendly Jekyll Island hotels to share with you. Just be sure to call before you book to double check their individual pet policies! There is also a campground that is dog friendly, you can find more information about the campsite here!
Dog friendly hotels in no particular order:
- The Westin
- Villas by the Sea Resort and Conference Center
- Hampton Inn and Suites
- Holiday Inn Resort
- Quality Inn and Suites
When to go
Tourist season in southern states like Georgia is from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend or the summer. During this time there are more restrictions on where dogs are allowed to be and when they are allowed be there. This would be a great time to come if you want to be able to engage with other dogs, go on tours, or see the Island in all of its glory.
Spring and Fall would be a nice time to come when temperatures are moderate. You even might be able to go swimming! Bonus: it won’t be really crowded because tourist season isn’t in full swing yet!
During the Winter most tours aren’t running and it might be cold depending on when you go. This is a good time to come if you plan on taking lots of pictures and don’t want tourists in them or if you’d like a nice quiet place to yourself. Consider coming during or close to Christmas to enjoy the decorations of the Historic District!
Other dog friendly things to do in the area
St. Simons Island, Brunswick, Georgia
- The large bridge you saw on your way into Jekyll Island? That takes you right on over to St. Simons Island! It was closed due to potential ice on the road so we couldn’t go, but we hear there’s some dog friendly activities there!
- Per their website East Beach on St. Simons Island allows animals on the beach from Memorial Day through Labor Day between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm, from 9am to 6pm dogs are no longer allowed on the beach. While on the beach during that time, they do not need to be leashed, but must be under immediate control by their owners.
- Other pet friendly attractions on St. Simons Island include the Bloody Marsh Battle Site, Fort Frederica National Monument, Gascoigne Bluff.
- Located an hour and a half north is the city of dog friendly city of Savannah, Georgia!
Would I visit again?
I would definitely come back to Jekyll Island with or without a dog. It’s incredible dog friendly and accessible with so many different things to do. I’d love to be able to spend more time exploring the beach side of the island and go swimming. Sahara was so upset I wouldn’t let her swim but the water was way too cold. Although going in the winter was nice because there are few people and we didn’t see any dogs, a total plus when you have a reactive dog. I would stay a few days next time to enjoy a little bit of everything. Until next time, thanks for the memories Jekyll Island!