The Best Jekyll Island Beach for Spectacular Sunrises - Driftwood Beach

Driftwood Beach may well be the most popular Jekyll Island Beach for taking beautiful photographs. You can wander among the bones of huge oaks and pines scattered along the beach, toppled by storms or undercut by erosion, and now half-buried by the unceasing movement of sand and water. It's a unique beach created in part by erosion, and we think you'll love it as much as we do.

On a storm tossed day the mood is melancholy; then, the beach reminds me of something out of the Lord of the Rings. But on a sunny summer day at low tide this Jekyll Island beach has a magic all its own.

The exposed limbs and roots of the dead trees, bleached gray-white from the scouring of wind, sand and water, resemble the skeletons of great prehistoric beasts, or sea monsters who've beached themselves in the distant past.


Who loves Driftwood Beach?

Kids love it here, playing chase and catch-me-if-you-can among the maze-like tangle of trunks and branches, splashing and laughing in the surf as they climb among the "driftwood", hunting for that perfect shell or sand dollar.

In this magical setting, imaginations are free to run wild. For a short time, kids can become dastardly pirates slinking among the bone yard, cutlasses gleaming as they furtively bury their ill-gotten gains. Or astronaut explorers, searching for life on the sands of Mars...

Bring a picnic lunch, spread it under the shade of one of the still-living trees, and watch your kids romp, living out their fantasies on this fey Jekyll Island beach.

Driftwood Beach driftwoodExplore Driftwood Beach, a Unique Seaside Environment

Camera buffs love this Jekyll Island beach for the unique photo ops, especially the chance to capture a spectacular sunrise. There's something about the play of rose and orange and velvet-purple hues created by the rising sun, (along with the vivid white clouds and dark water), contrasting with the skeletal deadwood, the grays and blacks of the driftwood trees, drawn stark against the sand. No two photos can ever be the same.

The historic St. Simon's Lighthouse on St. Simon's Island is just across St. Simon's Sound, presenting photographers another chance for a memorable photo of a different subject.

It takes a lifetime to become a truly great photographer, but even a novice can improve and shoot spectacular pictures. The free tips in our Take Your Best Photos Ever section can help you hone your skills and get the most from your efforts.


Lovers delight in the romantic atmosphere. Walk hand in hand with your special someone, leaving linked footprints along the beach. The soft sigh of the sea on the sand lulls your senses, and the outside world fades away as you explore the nooks and crannies along this Jekyll Island beach, secret spaces hidden amidst the jumble of dead trees.

It's not unusual for wedding parties to have some of their wedding pictures taken among the driftwood. Jekyll Island is famous for it's hospitality to folks getting married , and Driftwood Beach could play a prominent role in your wedding.


It's easy to spot dolphins cruising just a few feet from shore, or egrets patiently scouting the water line for their next meal. Just keep your eyes peeled.

Driftwood Beach is on the North end of the island, just north of Villas-by-the-Sea. This is the shortest, best access. It's easy to get to - you can park your car in the pull-off area adjacent to North Beachview Drive, just before the road takes a jog inland. From there, several paths through the brush and trees lead to the beach.

Watch out, though. Spiders like to build their webs across the paths. They're harmless, but there's nothing like a face-full of clingy, icky spider web to get your attention - "Where's the spider! Where's the spider!!!!", - especially if you're heading out for a dawn sunrise expedition.

You can also access Driftwood Beach from the fishing pier at the Clam Creek Picnic Area. Just walk east, cross the foot bridge.

Consider this a short, 2-3 hour hike. You'll start to see the driftwood soon after you begin your walk, but the main "treasure" is on around the point. Part of the adventure is crossing a small tidal creek that empties into the sound. It's not deep, but may be somewhat fast flowing at high or low tide.

You'll wind up just before the rock breakwater at Villa's by the Sea. Take a right at the breakwater and you'll find a trail through the trees back to the main road. Just before you get to the road, the Marsh Bike Trail cuts off to the right. It's paved and easy walking back to Clam Creek (makes for a good loop hike).

Keep an eye out for horses - Golden Isles Carriage and Trail at Three Oaks Farm runs horse riding tours from Clam Creek, and Driftwood Beach is on their itinerary.

We highly recommend the Driftwood Beach adventure. Come at dawn for the sun rise. Or during the day for the sun. And evening is the perfect time for wildlife watching. Just don't forget the camera!

And extra batteries. You'll want to take a lot of pictures of this fantastic Jekyll Island beach.

“I dropped a tear in the ocean, and whenever they find it I'll stop loving you, only then.”--Anonymous

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