Every year, Jekyll Island hosts an exciting treasure hunt for their guests and residents to find Island Treasures; a unique and fascinating handmade glass float. “It’s an island-wide treasure hunt that began twenty-one years ago and happens every January and February. We pick artists from all around the country to create these one-of-a-kind glass floats,” says Kathryn Hearn of Jekyll Island State Park. This treasure hunt was inspired by fishermen in the early 1900s who would use hollow glass balls, also known as floats, on their nets as markers. The floats would sometimes come loose and float to the shore where they could be found and kept. In the 1950s, searching for and finding these floats would become a popular hobby for collectors.
Over two hundred clear plastic globes with redemption codes inside will be hidden throughout Jekyll Island for guests to find and exchange for a handmade glass float at the Guest Information Center. “We have volunteers called Beach Buddies that will hide the clear globes around the island. They are very stealthy and know that people are looking for them. They wander the island hiding all the island treasures in fun places. We like to say that they are hidden in plain sight,” shares Kathryn. Some places to search for treasure are common areas such as Beach Parks, the Historic District, and along established paths. You will never find a float on residential property, in the dunes or marsh, or on the golf course and driving range.
Jekyll Island offers ten miles of beaches to explore and twenty-two miles of bike paths. “We don’t have any stoplights on the island and that’s pretty unique. Biking is a great way to get around. It’s the right place to unplug and reconnect, it’s a slower pace and you’re really on island time,” says Kathryn. The island is also known for its history. “We have some really rich history on the island. Jekyll Island had the first brewery in Georgia and the first transcontinental phone call was made from Jekyll Island.”
There are many things for people of all ages to explore and enjoy during your stay at Jekyll Island. “The Georgia Sea Turtle Rehabilitation and Education Center is really fun. It’s the only sea turtle rehabilitation and education center in Georgia,” says Kathryn. There you can watch sick turtles be treated and even watch when it’s time to feed the turtles. At the Jekyll Island Bike Barn, you can rent adult bikes, kid-sized bikes, and specialty bikes. There are various bike routes to enjoy, all of which include beautiful scenery. Though the route that leads you to the Historic Horton House ruins and Horton Pond will take you where you might spot a few alligators! The Mosaic, Jekyll Island Museum has in-depth and interactive exhibits that draw you in and incredible visuals and audio that tell the story of Jekyll Island. There you can enjoy the Landmark Trolley Tours that takes you through the 240-acre Historic District and includes entry into a historic cottage.
During your trip, we recommend staying at the Hampton Inn & Suites. It has private beach access, a gym, a private pool, complimentary breakfast, and more. When it’s time to explore, Hampton Inn & Suites is just a four minute drive to Beach Village where you can shop and eat, and seven minutes away from the Historic District.
For more information about Island Treasures or Jekyll Island, please visit jekyllisland.com. For a full list of exciting events happening on the island during your stay, visit jekyllisland.com/events-calendar/. For more information or to book a stay at the Hampton Inn and Suites, please visit https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/bswjihx-hampton-suites-jekyll-island/.