Itinerary: (Subject to change due to local conditions, unforeseen events, or more interesting, as-yet unplanned awesome experiences that become available)
Extravagance on Jekyll Island
Gilded Era Tours ~ Sea Turtles ~ Okefenokee Swamp St. Simons Oyster Roast
Six Day Tour ~ January 12-17, 2021
Highlights: Nonstop, Roundtrip Airfare Newark to Jacksonville • Five Nights’ Accommodations at the Exclusive Jekyll Island Club Resort • Historic Landmark District Home Tour • Mosaic Jekyll Island Museum • Island Treasures • Driftwood Beach • Horton House • Horton Pond and Tupelo Trail • Sea Turtle Center • Rockefeller Experience Tour • Wanderer Memorial Trail • Tidelands Nature Center • Pier Road Shops • Okefenokee Swamp • Obediah’s Okefenok • 1948 Crash Site B29 Bomber • St. Simons Island Tour • Cannon’s Point Preserve • Fort Frederica National Monument • Redfern Village • Bloody Marsh Site • Pier Village • Dolphin Cruise • St. Simons Lighthouse • Avenue of the Oaks • Gasciogne Bluff • Cassina Garden Club Slave Cabins • St. Simon’s Oyster Roast • All Breakfasts • Three Lunches • One Oyster Roast Dinner • Fully Escorted
Let’s go where the dead of winter doesn’t exist! With January temperatures averaging 60 degrees it’s a great time to take advantage of the quiet off-season and experience the serenity of the nature infused Jekyll Island. There is also a lot to do here and we will see it all! We are privileged to stay in our own island sanctuary at the opulent and exclusive Jekyll Island Club Resort. Our resort which dates back to 1888 is centrally located in the Jekyll Island Historic District and within walking distance to several shops and restaurants. A shuttle is available to whisk you away to the Ocean Club where there are more shops, restaurants, beaches and ocean views.
Day 1. Our first day will be one of leisure. After checking into our beautiful resort, you will have time on your own to wander the manicured grounds, browse the unique gifts and handmade artisan collections at the Pier Road shops, take the shuttle to the beach and oceanside and find a wonderful restaurant to enjoy dinner on your own. If you’re lucky and venture out onto the beach on a clear, cloudless night, you may catch a glimpse of a pure dark sky, perfect for seeing the amazing surreal Milky Way, along with millions of stars, tempting us to contemplate our place in this expansive universe. Definitely worth staying up late for!
Day 2. We will start the day exploring the historic district where a tram tour will guide us through the 240-acre historic area created as an exclusive Gilded Era island retreat dating back to 1888. This tour includes entry into William and Almira Rockefeller’s exquisite vacation home, Indian Mound, Faith Chapel and the Mosaic Jekyll Island Museum. After an included lunch in the hotel, there will be more to see on the island outside the historic district. While we’re exploring these nature filled spaces we can take part in the Island Treasures event dating back to the early 1900s. Hollow glass floats used by fisherman used to wash up randomly on the beach for lucky finders to collect. We’ll partake in the hide and seek game designed in this tradition to search for clear globes, that if you’re lucky enough to find, you can exchange for a real glass float made by a talented artist. Our first stop will be an escape to another world on Driftwood Beach where ancient driftwood lines the waterfront in a spectacular panorama. We will then make our way to Horton Pond where we’ll stroll along the observation deck bringing us close to turtles, alligators and wading birds and if you’re feeling energetic, you can take a walk on the adjoining Tupelo Trail which winds through multiple habitats revealing the diverse nature of the island. After our nature walk, we’ll visit the Horton House, one of the oldest tabby buildings in Georgia. This house and grounds will take us back in time to 1743 where we’ll learn about William Horton and life on Jekyll Island in the 18th century. The rest of the night will be yours to enjoy at our lovely resort with dinner on your own.
Day 3. This morning after breakfast, we’ll say hello to sea turtles and learn about their research and rehabilitation at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. Then we will make our way to a delicious included lunch on our journey to explore more island nature. We’ll take a leisurely walk along the banks of the Jekyll River on the Wanderer Memorial Trail and learn the intriguing story of America’s last known slave ship, the Wanderer. We will then travel to the Tidelands Nature Center, nestled between a salt marsh and a salt pond where we can connect with nature and view exhibits of live animals native to this ecosystem. Again, you will have the rest of the evening to enjoy the resort and find your favorite place for dinner on your own.
Day 4. Today will be swamp day! Leaving Jekyll Island, we will be transported into the prehistoric environment of Okefenokee Swamp where we’ll encounter alligators, carnivorous plants and rare birds, all while being encompassed by ancient Okefenokee cultures A guided railway tour will take us on the edge of the wetlands to Pioneer Island with a re-created homestead and the Wilde’s Cabin Museum. A boat will then take us down the Seminole Indian Waterways to get up close and personal with native plants and wildlife. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a walk on the low walkway boardwalk right on top of the swamp, then climb the 90 foot observation tower to get a different perspective. If you want to take a safer approach to getting close to swamp wildlife, watch the Eye On Nature live show. It will be a fantastic day in the swamp! After a satisfying lunch we will continue our exploration to Obediah’s Okefenok, the 1800s restored homestead of the great swamper Obediah Barber. Here we’ll experience nature, history, adventure, education and recreation. On the way back to the island, we’ll stop by the 1948 Crash Site Memorial of the B29 Superfortress Bomber, an interesting piece of history.
Day 5. Our last journey will be St. Simons Island, with its moss draped oak lined streets and picture-perfect beaches and villages. Cannon’s Point Preserve, consisting of salt marsh, tidal creek, and riverbeds, is perfect for exploration. You may even come across some middens dating back to 2500 BCE and 19th century plantation ruins. The archeological remains of Fort Frederica are still standing for us to explore their inspiring history. The Redfern Village District is a perfect place for lunch and browsing eclectic storefronts. The marshlands, creeks, rivers and small waterways of St. Simons Island are a favorite for bottle nose dolphins. We’ll cruise right up next to these magical mammals and will also be on the lookout for bird habitats, sharks, and the beautiful Georgia island coast. The Pier Village District is waiting to be explored with its boutique shops and cafes. If you’re feeling adventurous, an amazing view awaits the climb of 129 steps at the top of the St. Simons Island Lighthouse, or just enjoy the view at the bottom. We’ll stop by the Bloody Marsh Battle Site which ended Spain’s claim to the Georgia territory and pass by the magnificent Avenue of the Oaks, lined with 160 year old oak trees. Off to Gascoigne Bluff, filled with moss draped oak trees and the second largest Southern Red Cedar tree in Georgia, to end the night with a delicious Oyster Roast featuring food and drinks from 50 local vendors, live music and stunning views!
Day 6. Today we say goodbye to Jekyll Island but our time in the Golden Isles isn’t over yet! We’ll make a quick stop in the quaint, historic town of St. Mary’s where we’ll take in the quiet atmosphere aboard our trolley tour. A perfect farewell to our time in the Golden Isles.
Air transportation is provided by United Airlines. A surcharge will apply if United Airlines increases the price of its airfare. One piece of luggage per person (baggage fee by United is not included) and one small carry-on are permitted. A valid, government-issued picture ID is required to board the plane.
Tuesday, January 12: Flight #3501 departs Newark at 11:29 AM and arrives in Jacksonville at 1:59 PM
Sunday, January 17: Flight #3500 departs Jacksonville at 4:32 PM and arrives in Newark at 6:51 PM
Price per person is $2240.00 Twin & $2695.00 Single. No reservations accepted without a deposit of $350.00 per person. Make checks payable to “Group Tours & Travel”, and mail to our address. Final payment is due October 9, 2020. Deposits are fully refundable if cancellation occurs on or before October 9, 2020. There are no refunds if cancellation occurs after October 9, 2020. One piece of luggage per person and one carry-on are permitted. Group Tours is not responsible for any delays, cancellations, injuries or circumstances beyond its control and reserves the right to change the itinerary. All trip components are subject to change in accordance with Government, State and Local guidelines and/or mandates. Travel protection/cancellation coverage is available and highly recommended but not included. This tour will run rain or shine.
Methods of Payment:
Pay by check: make payable to Group Tours & Travel, mail to 1710 E. Lancaster Ave. #319, Paoli, PA 19301
Call 973-513-9001 to pay by credit card over the phone (Credit Card payments have a 4% surcharge)
Please contact us with any questions regarding your payment.