This Otherworldly Georgia Beach Is Consistently Rated As One Of America's Best

When it comes to destinations in Georgia, big cities like Atlanta and Savannah undoubtedly cross visitors' minds. However, what they might not realize is that the Georgia coast is home to magnificent islands offering a slice of paradise in the Peach State. This includes Jekyll Island. Located less than two hours from Savannah, it was once a vacation haven for the uber wealthy of America's Gilded Age. This little known Georgia island boasts pristine beaches but one in particular stands out: Driftwood Beach. In 2024, Driftwood Beach came in at number eight on Tripadvisor's Travelers' Choice Awards for Best of the Best Beaches in the United States.


Likewise, Tripadvisor has Driftwood Beach listed as the top thing to do on Jekyll Island. So, what makes it so special? Visitors will find driftwood trees scattered throughout the shore, making for a magical sight to behold. "What a surprise to walk on to the beach and see miles of actual dead trees that had become weathered, some uprooted, and battered by erosion over many years. It was almost unearthly to see the beauty and stark contrast to all the lush growth on the rest of the island," said one Tripadvisor reviewer.

Another stated, "Very haunting and beautiful at the same time." If you want to experience Driftwood Beach for yourself, parking is available and is free. In addition, leashed dogs are welcomed. However, don't just come to Jekyll Island for Driftwood Beach, there is much more see and do.


Fun things to go on Jekyll Island

Although Driftwood Beach is a must-visit on Jekyll Island, it's not the only attraction it has to offer. In fact, this destination is ideal not only for beachgoers, but for wildlife and history enthusiasts. For instance, at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, visitors of all ages can learn more about the state's sea turtle conservation efforts. Several Tripadvisor reviewers say that one of the highlights is viewing the staff administering care to these endangered creatures. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day. Admission can be purchased online.


Then there's Mosaic a Jekyll Island Museum that primarily focuses on the island's Gilded Age history. It features exhibits with clothing, artifacts, and more. Like the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, Mosaic is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

Those who wish to acquire more knowledge of this aspect of Jekyll Island's past can opt for the one-hour Landmark Trolley Tour. It takes visitors to the island's historic district to view and enter the homes once owned by the affluent. Tours depart daily from Mosaic but are seasonal. Even better? If you purchase a ticket for the Landmark Trolley Tour, you can visit Mosaic at no extra charge. Bear in mind that these attractions are all under 10 minutes from Driftwood Beach.


Accommodations near Driftwood Beach

If Driftwood Beach and Jekyll Island sound like your perfect beach vacation, you can stay at Villas by the Sea Resort. It's located a stone's throw away from Driftwood Beach and offers apartment and condo-style lodgings with kitchens. Hence, it's ideal for families or for those traveling in larger groups. The smallest unit available is a studio villa and the largest is a three bedroom villa. Amenities include a pool, playground, and a restaurant appropriately named the Driftwood Bistro. 


If you're looking for a more traditional hotel layout, there's also a Holiday Inn Resort nearby as well. This property is designed to be family-friendly and kids even eat free, a plus for budget-minded travelers. There's a pool that overlooks the ocean and pet-friendly options for those traveling with their furry friends.

Of course, Airbnb is another option for finding accommodations. One guest favorite is this one bedroom apartment that is minutes away from Driftwood Beach. Prices average about $200 per night and it can sleep up to three guests.