Like romantic picnics? Or want to spread a lunch under shaded live oaks with the kids? Do you have a family reunion planned and want to do it with covered dishes close to the beach?
Jekyll Island has several great picnic areas if you like to picnic - and who doesn't? Over our years on Jeckyll Island, our family has spread a picnic lunch or supper many times at Clam Creek, St. Andrews, or South Dunes picnic areas, or any of several more "private" spots we enjoy.
Nowadays, with the boys grown and gone, Martha and I travel to Jeckyll Island most times as a couple, and enjoy more romantic picnics with just the two of us. But whether you seek romance, outdoor eating with kids, or a place for a spread big enough for a family gathering, Jekyll Island beach picnic sites can accommodate you.
Here are the picnic areas we like to use:
Beautiful St. Andrews picnic area overlooks Jekyll Sound. Here, you'll enjoy your picnic in a diverse natural environment.
There's a narrow beach that runs from Jekyll Point before ending at a tidal creek just perfect for crabbing. The picnic area is dotted with tables interspersed between live oaks, loblolly pines, and red cedars.
Local residents (and visitors in-the-know) use seine nets along the bay shore, searching for shrimp, crabs and fish species that love these nutrient-rich waters. This is arguably the best place on Jeckyll Island for seining for sea creatures or for fishing from the shore.
Spread your picnic feast on one of the many shaded concrete picnic tables, or on a blanket placed on the beach itself. Enjoy your feast while watching dolphins cavorting in the shallow waters.
St. Andrews is located off South Riverview Drive, and is a wonderful place for kids to explore, or for romantic picnics just for Mom and Dad. It's easily accessible by car or bike. St. Andrews is open every day. Fresh water and restrooms are on-site.
Clam Creek -
Clam Creek picnic area is larger and more spread out than St. Andrews. It nestles within an open woodland, and is bordered by beach, marsh, and Clam Creek. Picnic tables are scattered throughout the area.
The Jeckyll Island fishing pier is located here, and extends into St. Simon's Sound. You can fish for trout, flounder, and other species.
We've actually seen an alligator swim from the mouth of Clam Creek out into the brackish waters around the pier. I guess it was there to help the fishermen remove their catch from the hook.
Clam Creek (the picnic area's namesake) empties into the Sound here. There's a bridge over the creek where folks fish or throw crab ring nets.
Most of the picnic tables are under the shade of live oaks and pines, but some are out in the open. In the summer, these tables are rarely used as they get hot as a griddle.
Enjoy the beautiful views towards St. Simon's, or of the Sidney Lanier Bridge in the distance. Or walk across the bridge over Clam Creek and explore the marsh via the Marsh Trail, open to hikers or bikers.
You can reach Driftwood Beach from Clam Creek picnic area, but it's a long walk. We think it's worth it, however, if you're in the walking mood. It's best to explore this beach at low tide.
The Clam Creek picnic area is off Clam Creek Road. Restrooms and fresh water are available.
South Dunes -
South Dunes is a great shaded picnic area, directly accessible to one of the most beautiful Jekyll Island beach areas. Two boardwalk access points cross the 20' high dunes from South Dunes to the beach.
The picnic area itself has many stand-alone picnic tables, plus two large covered picnic shelters for family or group gatherings. Grills are spaced around the picnic site.
There are also restrooms equipped with showers for beach goers.
Explore the forest of live oaks, or the transitional shrub zone. You can usually see songbirds here, as well as blackbirds and sometimes raccoons. Closer to the beach, you might spot deer migrating along the dune ridges.
There are two freshwater ponds here, where the occasional alligator might lurk. They're usually small and won't bother you - just don't fall in!
South Dunes is accessible by bike or car, and is located off Beachview Drive.
For more information on any of the picnic areas above or to reserve a group shelter at South Dunes, call 912-635-3400.
Sometimes you want to get off the beaten path and find a more private or secluded place to spread a blanket for your romantic picnics. Here are a few of our favorite spots:
Picnic Table Overlooking the Intra-coastal Waterway -
This is one of our favorite spots for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or romantic picnics. It's located off Riverview drive on the North end of the island.
This is a single table that sets just off the road and is
within spitting distance of the Intra-coastal Waterway.
We like to pack up a breakfast and take it to the table in the early mornings and sit and watch the ships drift by on the Intra-coastal Waterway. Sometimes you might see an inquisitive raccoon, who comes by for a handout.
It's also a great place for supper. The evening sunsets are gorgeous.
Another factor in its favor - it's just a few steps from the Historic District. Which is a perfect segway into...
No picnic tables here for your romantic picnics, but plenty of spots to spread a blanket in the grass under the shade of a live oak. Or do what we like to do sometimes - commandeer a spot on the veranda of one of the historic buildings, like the Sans Souci.
If you explore behind the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, along Riverview Drive between the Historic District and the Intra-coastal Waterway, you'll find several grassy spits of land at the edge of the Waterway. These are perfect spots for romantic picnics with your sweetheart.
There's really no bad spot on Jeckyll Island for picnicking, whether its on the sandy beaches, within a designated picnic area, or some private place you find during your own explorations. There are plenty of hidden nooks on Jekyll Island. You just have to hunt for them - and that's part of the fun!
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