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Nature, History and Culture at the Historic Jekyll Island Hotel

Program Number: 19138RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/2/2014 - 3/7/2014; 9/27/2015 - 10/2/2015; 2/18/2016 - 2/23/2016; 3/6/2016 - 3/11/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Jekyll Island, Georgia
Price starting at: $987.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: History & Culture Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 11; 5 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Experience the Gilded Age days of Jekyll Island — playground in the sun for America’s elite. With the National Historic Landmark Jekyll Island Club Hotel as your base, learn the history of the island, from its colonization in 1735 to its heyday as a millionaire’s retreat. Historians lead you through lavish cottages and to view the Tiffany window in Faith Chapel. At the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, go behind the scenes to learn about sea turtle conservation.


• Leave society and enter the natural world as you explore the amazing Okefenokee Swamp in pontoon boats and traverse the Swamp Walk.
• Study the barrier island dynamics and natural history during expert-led beach walks.
• Learn the history of the shrimp industry in Georgia and seine for shrimp in St. Simons Sound.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to one mile on daily field trips, some over uneven terrain; boarding a pontoon boat and shrimp boat.

Date Specific Information


Join us at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel for a big band dance featuring dinner and dancing to the Jekyll Island Big Band and EZ Credit Combo. Enjoy dance lessons, dining, and live music.

Coordinated by Center for Educational Adventure.

Jekyll Island

One of Georgia’s southernmost barrier islands, Jekyll Island has a storied past. At the turn of the century, it hosted an exclusive club that attracted the likes of the Astors, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts. Much of that world is preserved in a historic district near the riverfront. Today, the island is popular for golfing, fishing and kayaking.

Elegant and historic Jekyll Island Club Hotel, Jekyll Island`s only 4-star resort and National Historic Landmark.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Griffin Lotson, Ring Shouters

Griffin Lotson is manager of the nationally acclaimed Gullah/Geechee Shouters in Darien, Ga. Gullah-Geechee is the traditional African culture brought to America by African slaves who worked the fields and plantations along the coasts of Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas. The ring shout is a traditional slave-day expression of spirituality and community. Griffin has traced his ancestral roots before slavery to Africa.
Meals and Lodgings
   Jekyll Island Club Hotel
  Jekyll Island, GA 5 nights
 Jekyll Island Club Hotel
Type: Resort
  Description: The Jekyll Island Club Hotel is Jekyll Island's only four star resort and National Historic Landmark. Enjoy casual and fine dining, nine miles of beach, bicycling, 63 holes of golf, tennis, heart of historic district, horseback riding, and much more.
  Contact info: 371 Riverview Drive
Jekyll Island, GA 31527 USA
phone: 800-535-9547 xor9126352600
  Room amenities: iPod Dock Clock Radio, Color 32" LCD Flat Panel TV with Cable and DVD player, Iron / Ironing Board, Hair Dryer, High Speed Wireless Internet Service, Phone with V/M & Data Ports, In Room Safe, Refreshment Center, Coffee Maker
  Facility amenities: Sweeping verandas and Victorian architecture •Room Service (7:00am – 10:00pm) •Lending Library •Day Spa and Salon •Gift Shops •Concierge Services •Babysitting Services (72-hour notice required) •Valet Parking •Swimming Pool (Outdoor) •Croquet Lawn •Putting Green •Hotel Tours (Monday – Thursday) •Complimentary Intra-Island Transportation •Fitness Room •Wireless Internet Access
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Seasonal rates determine price Call the hotel for current price rate.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Seasonal rates determine price Call the hotel for current price rate.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel check-in begins at 4 pm. Program begins with Road Scholar orientation at 5:00 pm followed by dinner at 6:00 pm. You will be staying at Jekyll Island Club Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Road Scholar program ends by 10:00 am. Hotel check-out time is 12 noon. You will be staying at Jekyll Island Club Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Road Scholar Health & Safety Information form. Please send directly to the Center for Educational Adventure no later than 3 weeks prior to the program.
  Parking availability:
Parking is free of charge. There is a $5 entry fee each time you come onto the island. If you stay a week, you may get a discounted pass for coming and going. We provide transportation for all field trips.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Jekyll Island, GA
  Nearest city or town:  Brunswick, GA
  Nearest highway: I-95, Highway 17
  Nearest airport:  Brunswick, GA
  From End of Program
  Location: Jekyll Island, GA
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Jacksonville, FL or Savannah, GA to Jekyll Island


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Thrifty Car Rental Partner
Advanced Reservations Required


Travel Time:


One and one half hours 




70 miles


For guests who require transportation to the Hotel from the airport, the hotel provides a shuttle service or car rentals at a reduced rate through Thrifty Car Rental Partner. Following hotel shuttle rates require a 72-hour notice for booking and/or a 24-hour notice for cancellation. When making your reservations, please provide all flight information including arrival and departure times, flight number and airline. Additional charges may apply for delayed flights. Rates quoted are one-way.


Jacksonville, FL


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
A2B Transport
phone: 912-223-3271
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$120.00 for up to two people. This includes sales tax but not gratuity.
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1 hour 25 minutes 




77 miles


They require advanced reservations and accept all major credit cards.


Brunswick, GA


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
A2B Transport
phone: 912-223-3271
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$53.00 for up to two people. This includes sales tax but not gratuity.
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


20 minutes 




10 miles


Advanced reservations required. They accept all major credit cards.


Savannah, GA


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
A2B Transport
phone: 912-223-3271
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$159 for up to two people. This includes sales tax but not gratuity.
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1 hour 35 minutes 




85 miles


Advanced reservations required. They accept all major credit cards.

Driving Directions
  I-95 to Jekyll Island By Land On I-95 take Exit 29 onto Highway 17/82 North for 6 miles to the Jekyll Island Causeway (State Road 520). Proceed on the Causeway East 6 miles to the Jekyll Island collection station ($5 park entry fee). Make the first left (U-turn) and move to the far right lane. This is Riverview Drive and takes you directly to the front of the hotel.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival & Check-in, Registration & Orientation, Get Acquainted
(Sunday, March 2)
 Afternoon: HOTEL CHECK IN: Hotel check in begins at 4:00 pm. PROGRAM REGISTRATION: Road Scholar orientation begins at 5:00 pm. You’ll receive your arrival packet containing the most up-to-date schedule and program information that we’ll review before having dinner at 6:00 pm.
 Dinner: Dinner will be in the Grand Dining Room or a specially appointed room just for our group. Beautifully restored in the Victorian mode, the Grand Dining Room features Ionic columns and gleaming white woodwork. Three handsome fireplaces, add cheer on a Winter's day, while in Spring, the lawns and the river seen through expansive windows frame the first blossoms of crepe myrtle and magnolia trees. NOTE: Meals have been carefully selected. If you have a special dietary request, be sure and contact us in advance. We will work with the kitchen to try and accommodate your request if possible but may not be able to provide for every request.
 Evening: ORIENTATION: You'll have an informative overview of the program to come plus an opportunity to meet the program staff and your fellow participants during an introductory get-acquainted session. We’ll review the updated schedule, answer any questions you may have, and cover responsibilities, safety guidelines, and emergency procedures. The remainder of the evening is yours to begin getting to know one another. (If you arrive late, please pick up your packet at the hotel front desk.)
Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of any changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding!
The historic Jekyll Island Club Hotel is not just our base of operations but part of our course of study. So much of significance took place in and around here that you will be amazed. The hotel is also Jekyll Island's only four star resort and National Historic Landmark.
Accommodations: Jekyll Island Club Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: History of Jekyll Island and Millionaire’s Village By Tram, Behind The Scenes At The Historic Hotel, Maritime Forest And Live Oak Walk, Barrier Island Dynamics
(Monday, March 3)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the Grand Dining Room.
 Morning: PRESENTATION & FIELD TRIP: A local historian will tell you all about the social history of Jekyll Island and the Club. Following the presentation, we’ll go behind the scenes with an expert guide for views not available to the general public. At the turn of the century, tycoons, politicians, and socialites flocked to Jekyll Island to revel in their own luxury and America's burgeoning wealth. Their exclusive club was described in the February 1904 issue of Munsey's Magazine as "the richest, the most exclusive, the most inaccessible club in the world." Its members included such luminaries as J.P. Morgan, William Rockefeller, Vincent Astor, Joseph Pulitzer, William K. Vanderbilt. Other names on the roster included Macy, Goodyear, and Gould. You are staying in what was "their" exclusive club hotel.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: When the term live oak is used in a specific rather than general sense, it most commonly refers to the southern live oak (Quercus virginiana), the first species so named, and an icon of the Old South, but can often refer to other species regionally. Dry southern live oak lumber has a specific gravity of 0.88, among the highest of North American hardwoods. An expert led trip through the maritime forest of live oaks will give you a chance to see first hand the giant trees as you study the ecology of the land.
 Dinner: Dinner will be at the hotel.
 Evening: PRESENTATION: The Barrier Island Dynamics will be presented by Driftwood Education Center. Lower Coastal Plain Map meets the Atlantic Ocean along the sandy beaches of the present-day barrier islands, known as the Sea Islands or the Golden Isles. Scientists refer to them as barrier islands because they form a barrier between the sea and the land. The current configuration of Georgia's shoreline is only the most recent in a long series of changing shorelines. Learn about this with the experts from Driftwood.
Accommodations: Jekyll Island Club Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Sea Turtles, Georgia Sea Turtle Center, Beach Walk, Free Evening
(Tuesday, March 4)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the Grand Dining Room.
 Morning: PRESENTATION & FIELD TRIP: A representative of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center will present some interesting facts about the turtle hospital and the turtle adoption program. She will prepare you for your field trip visit to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. At the Center, you’ll explore exhibits on sea turtle conservation, rehabilitation, and trace their amazing journey from egg to adulthood. Presentations by key staff will highlight Georgia’s unique coastal ecosystem and the mysterious world of these ancient reptiles. Going behind the scenes to the sea turtle hospital, you’ll be able to observe animals undergoing special treatment. You’ll also learn about the Center, its operations, and how it works to help save sea turtles.
 Lunch: We'll have lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Led by a naturalist, we’ll take a beach walk to compare and contrast the north and south end beaches. Discussions will focus on barrier island dynamics, natural erosion and accreation patterns, human impacts, and possible solutions.
 Dinner: Enjoy dinner on your own or join with newfound friends or the group leader at one of the local restaurants in the hotel or surrounding the hotel. All are within walking distance. Be back by 7 pm for the evening presentation on the Okefenokee Swamp.
 Evening: PRESENTATION: The Okefenokee Swamp. Leaving society and entering the natural world, our expert will provide an overview and highlights of tomorrow’s field trip to the swamp. The Great Okefenokee Swamp is one of North America’s most unspoiled, fascinating and precious natural areas. It is the largest, intact and un-fragmented wetland wilderness swamp in North America. "Okefenokee" — what the Creeks and Seminoles called "Land of Trembling Earth" — covers approximately 700 square miles in the southeast corner of Georgia.
Accommodations: Jekyll Island Club Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Full-Day Okefenokee Field Trip, Cook-Out At Swamp, Free Evening
(Wednesday, March 5)
 Breakfast: Breakfast will be in the Grand Dining Room.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Today will be a full day of nature you won’t see anywhere else! We will depart early for the amazing Okefenokee Swamp. Led by expert guides, we’ll ride pontoon boats into the heart of the swamp via the Suwannee Canal, surviving principal waterway. This pristine wilderness comprises more than 438,000 acres and covers approximately 700 square miles. More than 230 species of birds, 600 plants, 49 mammals, 64 reptiles, 37 amphibians and 39 fish have been identified in the swamp — living in seven different habitat types. Wear comfortable clothing and bring insect repellent for the boat trip into the swamp.
 Lunch: Lunch will be a cook out at a landing in the swamp with peach cobbler and ice cream for dessert.
 Afternoon: Your afternoon continues as we traverse the Swamp Walk — a 3/4 mile wooden walkway that leads to a 50-foot high observation tower overlooking Okefenokee Swamp. The boardwalk winds through dense swamp growth, open prairie, and ponds before reaching the observation tower overlooking Chesser Prairie and Seagrove Lake. Sandhill cranes may be spotted year-round, as can many species of egrets and herons. Pig frogs are perhaps the most vocal animal along the boardwalk, but rarely seen. Birds such as Northern parula and Prothonotary warblers are warm weather residents and may be seen and heard. There is a place to sit half way if you decide you do not want to go the entire way.
 Dinner: Dinner will be at the hotel followed by a free evening of rest and relaxation.
 Evening: Free Evening
Accommodations: Jekyll Island Club Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Shrimp Trawl-Dolphin Cruise, Evening Entertainment
(Thursday, March 6)
 Breakfast: Breakfast will be in the Grand Dining Room.
 Morning: Transferring to Brunswick, we will board the shrimp trawler “Lady Jane” for a study cruise. You’ll learn about the life cycle of this tasty and economically vital delicacy and the history of shrimping in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina, And you’ll actually see how it has been done for generations.
As we cruise along the waterways banked by the Marshes of Glynn — made famous by Sidney Lanier’s poem — you’ll likely spot egrets, pelicans, seagulls, and dolphin. Entering St. Simon Sound, the captain will order the crew to drop the shrimp net over the stern. The crew will tell you about the types of shrimp they catch and of course lots of sea stories. While we are dragging the bottom for shrimp, dolphin often follow the net to pick up an easy meal. They are very curious and will hang-around until we empty the net anticipating additional morsels. As we bring in the net, you will see many different varieties of fish, crabs, and what shrimpers called the "by-catch". In addition to shrimp, the crew have brought up (and, of course, released) stingrays, squid, jellyfish, and shells. We'll put our catch on display where everyone can help identify it. By now, the dolphin are usually joined by seagulls and brown pelicans!
The crew will take some of the shrimp just caught and boil them on the spot. That's as fresh as you will ever get! The entire field trip is done in protected no need to be concerned if your "land-lubber" system is not quite up to the motion of the ocean. Should Mother Nature decide to test us with a Blowing Noreaster, we'll just traverse the rivers and creeks where those tasty little crustations love to hide out.
 Lunch: Lunch will be on your own in the Jekyll Island Historic District. Choose from a casual cafe with outdoor seating or fancier in the Grand Dining Room or walk across the street and have lunch on the water. Be back by 2:00 pm for an exciting beach walk.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a free afternoon on Jekyll. Bikes may be rented at the hotel. There are wonderful paved bicycle paths on flat and even terrain. Spend the afternoon at the beach. Jekyll Island Hotel has a pavilion with towels right on the beach or sit by the pool and enjoy a book.
 Dinner: Dinner will be at the hotel.
 Evening: Sit back and enjoy a musical group of Gullah performers. The popular Ring Shouters will perform at our hotel just for our Road Scholar group. The Ring Shouters, one of the worlds top performing artists of the Geechee Gullah culture, are descendants of African slaves continuing the tradition of their ancestors with music and culture. They performed at the Smithsonian and during the presidential inauguration .
Accommodations: Jekyll Island Club Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Up Close And Personal With Island Retiles, Wrap-Up Farewells, Program Concludes
(Friday, March 7)
 Breakfast: Breakfast will be the Grand Dining Room.
 Morning: PRESENTATION: Experts with Driftwood Education Center will surprise you with their presentation and your hands on with reptiles. Then we’ll review what we’ve seen and learned as we wrap up a wonderful week of exploration and discovery and say farewell to new-found friends. Hotel check-out is at 12 Noon. We hope you’ve enjoyed this learning adventure and will join us for other exciting Road Scholar programs with the Center for Educational Adventure. Best wishes for all your journeys!
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A Guide to a Georgia Barrier Island: Featuring Jekyll Island With St. Simons & Sapelo Islands

Author: Taylor Schoettle

Description: Testimonial: Ever wished, as you walked along a deserted stretch of beach or stared at the ruins of a stately old home, you had a naturalist/historian along with you? Buy A GUIDE TO A GEORGIA BARRIER ISLAND and you'll be in the company of both. His name is Taylor Schoettle. His informative, easy-going style and eager descriptions of what you're walking on, looking at, and interested in make this book a tremendous bargain.

A Guide to the Georgia Coast, The Georgia Conservancy

Author: Suzanne McIntosh

Description: Natural, historical, cultural, and recreational sites along the Georgia coast are described in detail. Includes driving maps and directions.

Jekyll Island Club, The (GA) (Images of America)

Author: Jekyll Island Museum

Description: In the late nineteenth century, some of the wealthiest families in America joined together to form the Jekyll Island Club. The Club operated for 54 years, from 1888 until 1942, and attracted an elite membership. The families of Cyrus McCormick, J.P. Morgan, Joseph Pulitzer, and William Vanderbilt were among those who enjoyed the leisurely pace and recreational adventure of the Georgia coast. The Jekyll Island Club includes images of the architecture, clothing, transportation, and natural beauty unique to the island. This exquisite collection is sure to rekindle awe and wonder in the hearts of those who have visited the island, and will serve as a wonderful introduction for newcomers. The Jekyll Island Club is a fascinating look at a bygone period. Show More Show Less

Jekyll Island: The Nearest Faraway Place

Author: unknown

Description: Jekyll Island's undisturbed beauty, combined with its pleasant year-round weather and refreshing ocean breezes, provides a breathtaking backdrop for a variety of wonderful experiences. Located midway between Savannah, Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida, Jekyll Island is approximately 5,700 acres and the smallest of Georgia's barrier islands. As a tribute to the Island's allurement, the Jekyll Island Authority has published Jekyll Island The Nearest Faraway Place, a coffee table book recognizing the inspired talent of residents and guests and their ability to capture unique perspectives of our cherished Island. During the period of March through September 2010, a competition was conducted to discover photographs of, and poems about, Jekyll Island. Scenic images and inspiring narratives portraying Jekyll's beach and marsh, sunrise and sunsets, wildlife, nature, historic landmarks, and views from above were sought for inclusion in this project. Submissions included 70 from Georgia, 17 from different states, 4 from Canada and 1 from the United Kingdom. Results of the competition were announced and the winning selections are featured in the commemorative publication. Copyright of the selected works and all rights to publish became property of Jekyll Island Authority. Jekyll Island The Nearest Faraway Place is now currently available at the Visitor Information Center, the Commissary, the Jekyll Island Book Store, the Jekyll Island Museum Store, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and Hattie's Books in Brunswick.

Ten Years on a Georgia Plantation Since the War

Author: Frances Butler Leigh

The Beaches are Moving

Author: Kaufman and Pilkey

Description: Our oceans are eroding, sinking, washing out right under our houses, hotels, bridges; vacation dreamlands become nightmare scenes of futile revetments, fills, groins, what have you - all thrown up in a frantic defense against he natural system. The romantic desire to live on the seashore is in doomed conflict with an age-old pattern of beach migration. Yet it need not be so. Conservationist Wallace Kaufman teams up with marine geologist Orrin H. Pilkey, Jr., in a evaluation of America's beaches from coast to coast, giving sound advice on how to judge a safe beach development from a dangerous one and how to live at the shore sensibly and safely.

Trembling Earth: A Cultural History of the Okefenokee Swamp

Author: Megan Kate Nelson

Description: This innovative history of the Okefenokee Swamp reveals it as a place where harsh realities clashed with optimism, shaping the borderland culture of southern Georgia and northern Florida for over two hundred years. From the formation of the Georgia colony in 1732 to the end of the Great Depression, the Okefenokee Swamp was a site of conflict between divergent local communities. Coining the term "ecolocalism" to describe how local cultures form out of ecosystems and in relation to other communities, Megan Kate Nelson offers a new view of the Okefenokee, its inhabitants, and its rich and telling record of thwarted ambitions, unintended consequences, and unresolved questions.

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