My brother and 15-year-old son put in our kayaks on the beachside at 8:15 am at the first public beach site north of the convention center. Morning is a good time to take this trip as there is no one on the beach. I paddled my 17' CD Storm, my brother paddled a Wilderness Systems Woodsman (14.5') and my son paddled a Wilderness systems pamlico tandem (15'). The reason I like launching here is that there are no steps on the wide boardwalk that takes you down to the beach. Our route took us south and parallel to the beach then into the sound around the south dunes and St. Andrews picnic area and finally up Jekyll Creek to the public boat ramp just south of the Jekyll marina.
We unloaded the boats on the beachside prior to the trip and left them with my son while my brother and I dropped off one vehicle at the takeout point. We arrived at the boat ramp at about 10:45 after moderate paddling. I believe in paddling with the tides so we timed our trip so that by the time we reached the south end of the island, the tide was running in- assisting us instead of having to fight it. Remember the song - "Row, Row, Row your boat gently down the stream." The sights along the way are beautiful. We saw lots of birds in the marsh behind the island and great views of Little Cumberland Island just across the sound. The real treat was a group of about 12 dolphins that passed close enough to our boats to hear their breathing sounds (AWESOME). Check weather conditions and tide charts as you plan your trip.
There are numerous motels and houses for rent on the island. There are restrooms and changing facilities at most of the public beaches.
$3.00 parking fee to get on the island.
From I-95 take the South Golden Isles Parkway East(GA 520, US 17). If you are coming north from Jacksonville, you will turn right at the bottom of the ramp - if you are coming south from Savannah then you will turn left at the bottom of the ramp. Proceed until you see the sign for Jekyll Island on your right. Take a right here and the causeway will take you to the entrance of the island. It'll cost you $3.00 to get on the island per vehicle. To get to the takeout point (public boat ramp)take a right on S. Riverview Drive which is just past the toll booth. You will turn right at the Tidelands Nature Center and follow the shell and dirt road to the end. The ramp is nice and there is an abundance of parking. To get to the launch point - backtrack to Fortson Parkway (where the toll booth is) turn right and proceed to the stop sign. Turn left on N. Beachview drive past the convention center to the first beach parking where there is a pavillion (just before you get to Blackbeard's Seafood Restaurant). Park here and Carry your boats down the boardwalk to the beach
You will receive a map of the island at the toll booth.