5 Ways to Experience Sea Turtles Nesting on Jekyll Island, Georgia

It’s that time again! From May until November, it is Sea Turtle Nesting Season! An exciting time on the island, for guests and locals alike. A fun fact to know is last year the state of Georgia recorded the best year for sea turtle nests, (up to 3,966 nests). A record number of loggerheads hatched and left the nest (over 6,000)! Team members are hoping to see that number increase even more during 2023.

A newly hatched loggerhead sea turtle prepares to start his life in the water. Photo courtesy of Jekyll Island Authority.

During your time on the island, there are a handful of ways to experience these treasured creatures up close and personal. Jekyll Island is the only Georgia island where nesting mama turtles can be encountered. Here are five ways to experience sea turtles nesting on the island.

  • The Georgia Sea Turtle Center– Georgia’s only sea turtle rehab hospital, visitors get a chance to learn about the creatures, see first-hand the kind of care and rehab they receive, and participate in interactive exhibits and experiences. There are also indoor and outdoor programs offered year-round. Learn more about the center here.


  • Ride with Dawn Patrol– Early morning excursions, riding in utility vehicles (UTVs) and walking while assisting with tasks, checking for signs of predator presence, and potentially observing nest numbers are all part of what attendees of the program can expect.


  • Sunrise Turtle Walks– Be introduced to the nesting and hatching process of sea turtles, Jekyll’s ecological history, along with information on any native wildlife you might see during the walk.


  • Ride with Night Patrol– It’s okay if you aren’t an early bird. You can still explore the island for nests on foot and via the comfort of a UTV, along with the island’s sea turtle patrol team. Participants must be at least 10 years old, as the tour lasts approximately four hours.
photo credit: Jekyll Island Authority.
  • Evening Turtle Walks– Spend part of your evening with the island’s patrol team while you learn about the loggerhead sea turtles that nest along the state’s coastline. Tours met at 8:45 p.m. to begin the walk, which lasts for about two miles. Don’t forget the bug spray!

Jekyll Island, Georgia is part of the Golden Isles and makes up the southernmost part of the chain of islands. Neighboring St Simons Island offers beautiful scenery, dipped in rich history, romance, and tons of wildlife. Fly into Brunswick, GA, and experience small-town hospitality before heading to one or more of the Golden Isles. 


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