Our guide to Jekyll Island bike trails gives you the low down on the 20+ miles of paved (and unpaved) routes around the island, Jekyll Island bike rentals, what to see, where to go, and what to watch out for along the way. This Golden Isle is a recreational cyclist’s dream, especially if they know how to make the most out of this unique biking destination. From the historic mansions of the 19th-century industrial elite to windswept dunes and the picturesque Driftwood Beach, there is plenty to see on and off your bike on this 7-mile long barrier island in southeast Georgia.
In this article, we’ll break down the five major bike routes, along with first-hand tips and tricks with a detailed interactive Jekyll Island map that you can load on your mobile device as you explore. Before long, you’ll be biking Jekyll Island like a pro and finding your own favorite routes and spots.
Jekyll Island Map
Below is our Jekyll Island map featuring points of interest and the Jekyll Island trail system. We added extra information to the description of the cottages for a self-guided tour of the historic district. If the map does load, be sure to refresh your browser 😉
Biking the Historic District Loop
Jekyll Island’s most famous attractions are the historic cottages from the Jekyll Island Club days. The Jekyll Island Club transformed this area into “the richest, most inaccessible club in the world” when it opened its doors in 1886. Members included J.P. Morgan, Joseph Pulitzer, William K. Vanderbilt, and Marshall Field, who prized this little paradise for its “sense of splendid isolation,” beautiful landscape, and moderate climate. Soon they built cottages to pursue “a life of elegant leisure.” The who’s who of the industrial elite spent their winters on Jekyll Island with rolling fancy parties and plenty of romance and socializing. Today the Jekyll Island Club National Historic Landmark District protects and preserves 240 acres and 34 structures for the public to enjoy.
Biking through the historic district is more of a ramble than a rally. Riding the wooden paths of over the marshes is cool for riding sake, but the highlight is definitely the history. The opulent mansions and towering live oaks draped in Spanish moss transport you back in time. Even though we mapped a 2-mile loop, you will easily double this distance as you cruise through Millionaire’s Row. Be sure to stop at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center to check out their rescue efforts and the Jekyll Island Museum to learn more about the area’s unique history. There are plenty of places to stop in for a bite as you cycle through the historic district, including Doc’s Snack Shop, Island Sweet Shoppe, and The Wharf for a waterfront meal of sweet Georgia shrimp.
Ocean View Trail
Ocean View trail is a dedicated bike path that follows the coast two miles from The Jekyll Island Ocean Club up to the Beach House Restaurant and Tap Room. Here you’ll enjoy rolling sand dunes and wide beach. Be careful of sand blowing onto the path in this section. You’ll feel like you are on a true beach vacation as you pedal up and down the Ocean View Trail. This trail is an out-and-back route that you’ll probably loop into other bike rides throughout Jekyll Island. It’s so nice that you’ll probably want to work it into your weekend ride over and over again.
Stop along the way for happy hour at Tortuga Jacks or indulge in a banana mocha chocolate pate at the Jekyll Ocean Club (a terrine of milk, dark, and white chocolate, caramelized banana, and dried cherries. So good. So naughty). If you’re wondering if you should stay at the Jekyll Island Club or the Jekyll Ocean Club on your Jekyll Island bike adventure, we have an excellent post for you.
Glimpses of Golf Courses Ride
Even though Jekyll Island is only 7-miles long and 1.5-miles wide, it’s home to four golf courses. If you’re a biker, not a golfer, this greenspace makes for fantastic ways to cross the island and see a little nature along the way, maybe even a birdie! There’s also a pond or two where you might catch a glimpse of an alligator.
Would I consider the glimpses of golf courses a destination ride? Probably not, but it sure beats riding on the road to travel from the beach to the historic district and back. This route is called out as a 4-mile loop, but honestly, you’re probably just going to use it as a 1.5-mile connector from one side of the island to the other.
The North Loop Route
The North Loop is drawn as a 9-mile loop. You’ll probably want to stretch it out to at least 12 miles, so you have one more pass through the historic district and one more pass along Ocean View Trail. If you’re a rider at all, you’re going to want to add this one to your trip. You’re also going to want to go early in the morning or later in the evening to make the most of the light since there is absolutely gorgeous scenery here.
The first must-stop photo op is Driftwood Beach on the north-east corner of the island. There aren’t bike racks here, so you’ll want to bring a chain and not just a U-lock to secure your bike to a tree while you’re on the beach. Driftwood Beach faces east, so you’ll find particularly beautiful sunrise peeping through the fallen trees. Ironically, the trees there aren’t driftwood. The island is slowly moving south, so these are trees left behind as the beach erodes away.
The 1-mile oxbow through Clam Creek Picnic Area is optional as the road by the campground is very rideable and scenic. Make sure you pull onto North Loop Trail, which starts across from the campground. It’s the smoothest, most rideable trail segment on the island. It also passes through the historic Horton House, the original European homestead, and offers terrific views of the East River and Sidney Lanier Bridge. The west side of the island is optimal at sunset, so you really can’t go wrong. You can just bike the North loop twice if you want to.
The South Loop Ramble
Parents aren’t supposed to pick their favorite child, but the South Loop isn’t it. For starters, we were riding our 25mm road tires. The single-track segments here are all packed dirt, which was doable, but not great. Once we got off dirt, we were riding the road down to St Andrew’s Beach. Google Maps shows a dedicated trail on the east side of the island, but it’s all sidewalks. This loop speaks to two types of cyclists, fat tire riders (beach cruisers work here too) who want to meander through the woods or road riders who want to pump out miles on the pavement. It’s a different beast than the rest of the casual bike rides on Jekyll Island.
There is some cool stuff on this side of the island, but you’re going to have to get off your bike to see it. The Wanderer Memorial remembers one of the last slave ships to land in America. The beach just south of there has unusual fallen trees like Driftwood Beach. Glory Beach Boardwalk takes you across the largest dunes on the island onto a near-deserted stretch of sand. I’m not saying don’t go, but maybe go in your car during an afternoon rest break.
Jekyll Island Bike Rentals
You can see Jenn riding on her women’s specific hybrid on the photo above. The road tires did well on everything but the sandy trails of the South Loop. If you’re looking for Jekyll Island Bike Rentals, you have three options, Jekyll Wheels, Beachside Bike Rentals, or Jekyll Island Bike Barn. Their hours vary seasonally, so call ahead. We have placed their store locations on our Jekyll Island map. Even if you have a bike at home, you might consider renting. Wider tires will help you on the South Loop, and it’s a sure-fire way to keep sand and salt out of your gears.
- Jekyll Wheels (912.635.5185) – Located in the middle of the historic district.
- Beachside Bike Rentals (912.635.9801) – Located near the south end of the Ocean Front Trail near Days Inn and Suites.
- Jekyll Island Bike Club (912.635.2648) Located on the north end of the Ocean Front Trail across the road from Tortuga Jacks.
Rentals are hourly, daily, or weekly with price points depending on the bike selected. A mid-range Baja Cruiser rents for about $11 hourly, $36 daily, and $125 weekly. In our opinion, the daily is the best deal. You can get a taste of biking Jekyll Island without worrying about the clock. If you have just one day to ride, make sure you take the Oceanfront ride, the North Loop around the tip of the island, and dabble through the historic district. Just pick your favorite connector across the middle of the island. If you’re only riding, cut across on the golf course trail, but if you’re feeling snacky, you should stop by the Dairy Queen and Circle K for a mid-ride treat.
Wrapping up Jekyll Island Bike Trails
The 20+ miles of bike trails on Jekyll Island makes it a fantastic bike destination for riders who like a lot of eye candy while they peddle. It’s a casual, fun atmosphere with plenty of scenery and history everywhere you go. Whether you’re on a romantic Jekyll Island getaway or just looking for a weekend ride, you should consider heading out to Jekyll Island.
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