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Dead trees draw wedding parties, beachcombers to Jekyll Island
By Tom Adkinson

JEKYLL ISLAND, Georgia – Dead trees usually aren’t an appealing attraction, unless they have been weathered and worn and gradually transformed into intriguing natural sculptures along an attractive Atlantic Beach. The fact they are a short distance from a historic hotel helps, too.

Driftwood Beach Jekyll Island
Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island; image by Tom Adkinson

The spot is Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island, a Georgia barrier island south of Savannah and north of Jacksonville, Florida. Driftwood is a bit of a misnomer since these trees didn’t float in. When alive, they were coastline sentinels, but erosive saltwater did them in. Wind and weather did the rest. Depending on light and weather, the beach can be described as picturesque, surreal or even spooky. It is picturesque often enough that weddings are popular here, and a cottage industry of wedding planners and supply companies has taken root. Note, however, that Georgia beaches are public, and you might have uninvited onlookers for your coastal ceremony.

Jekyll Island Club Resort
Jekyll Island Club Resort; image by Tom Adkinson

About three miles away is a popular honeymoon location, the stately Jekyll Island Club Resort. The resort traces its roots to 1888. From then until World War II, the resort was a retreat for some of America’s wealthiest families (think Rockefeller, Morgan and Vanderbilt). A point of trivia is that the resort was on the line for America’s first transcontinental phone call that included President Woodrow Wilson in Washington, Alexander Graham Bell is New York and others in San Francisco and Boston. The island was evacuated during the war, and the state bought it in 1948. The hotel at the heart of the resort deteriorated for decades, but it reopened in grand style in 1987. Today, you don’t need to be a Rockefeller, a Morgan or a Vanderbilt to enjoy its elegance.

Trip-planning resources:, and

(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s new book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available at

Published May 8, 2020

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