The South Loop - A Network of Bicycle Trails for Family Exploration

The bicycle trails of the South Loop have it all - beach, marsh, and maritime forest. When planning your family's bicycle adventure, take your plethora of choices into account and add in enough time to see everything.

This approximately 6 mile loop will take you along Beachview Drive. You'll pass an area where they've torn down the old Holiday Inn and Buccaneer Hotels and are building new ones (check out the brand-new Hampton Inn, open now!), and alongside South Dunes Picnic area. South Dunes is a wonderful shaded picnic nook where you can meet some of our best Jekyll Island friends - the squirrels! Take peanuts.

Hampton InnHampton Inn as Seen From the Boardwalk, courtesy Meredith Clark

Next, you'll pass the Jekyll Island Soccer Complex, a good place to stop, stretch your legs and take in a "football" game. Here you can also access the beach via the Glory boardwalk.

Further north, St. Andrews beach beckons, one of our favorite sandy places. Ride on past the 4-H Club Camp, and loop around to Jekyll Point and St. Andrews Picnic Area. Check out the Wanderer Exhibit, eat a snack, and walk the beach. If you're lucky, you might encounter folks casting seine nets for shrimp.

From St. Andrews there's no paved trail. To continue the loop, you'll need to ride on Riverview Drive for bit. Stay to the right and obey all bicycle riding rules.

Most of the time there's not a lot of traffic, and we've never experienced any trouble along these bicycle trails, even when our boys were little. Just watch for cars, and give them plenty of room.

Just before you reach Summer Waves Water Park, on the left, is the trail head to Shark's Tooth Beach, a great side ride. This trail is about a mile long, and you can bike about two-thirds of it. Then, due to close growing bush and overhanging branches, you'll need to abandon your bikes and walk the rest of the way.

Past the Shark's Tooth Beach trail head, the bike path veers into the woods, where you'll ride in gloriously shaded maritime forest. Watch for deer, raccoon, marsh hare and the ever-present Jekyll Island squirrel (boy do these guys have it made!).

The path then takes you back out to Riverview, but there's a paved bike path on this section. Ride down the road to Tidelands Nature Center, stop in and visit the folks there. They provide nature walks and kayak trips down Jekyll River to supplement your bicycle adventures.

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