In the early 1900s, east coast fishermen used hollow glass balls, or floats, on their nets as markers. Occasionally, the floats would break loose and wash ashore for lucky beachcombers to find and keep. Collecting these rare, highly sought after glass floats became a hobby in the 1950s.
Today, Jekyll Island hand-picks artists from across the country to create one-of-a-kind glass floats for its annual Island Treasures event.
The glass floats are part of a hide-and-seek style game played on Jekyll Island throughout January and February. Each day, volunteers called Beach Buddies hide glass floats around the island for lucky guests to find and keep.
Each float is marked with a special tag and instructions for treasure finders to register their Island Treasures at the Jekyll Island Guest Information Center where they will receive a certificate of authenticity and artist biography for their one-of-a-kind float. The Center is open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
2017 Island Treasures FAQ
Q. What is an Island Treasure?
A. An Island Treasure is a glass float similar to the ones fishermen used to mark their nets in the early 1900’s. Today, they are one-of-a-kind, hand blow glass balls created by artists commissioned by Jekyll Island from around the country. Each float used in the hunt has a tag with instructions on how to register it, and is numbered, signed, and stamped with a custom stamp to commemorate the year of the hunt.
Q. What are the dates for this year’s Island Treasures hunt?
A. Island Treasures runs January 1 through February 28, 2017.
Q. How many Island Treasures are hidden each day?
A. In general, two to five floats are hidden each day. This year, the Beach Buddies are hiding double the number of floats on the weekend (Fri-Sun).
Q. What time are they hidden?
A. Any time. Beach Buddies hide Treasures throughout the day, every day.
Q. Have all the Island Treasures been found?
A. Good question. It’s hard to tell, because not all Treasure finders take their Treasures to the Guest Information Center to register them. But, Treasures do remain hidden until they are found. They are not collected each day.
Q. Where should I look for Island Treasures?
A. All over Jekyll Island! Ok, not the WHOLE island. You won’t find them in the dunes, the marsh, off established paths, on the driving range, or on private property. But, the Beach Buddies don’t just stick the beach. They hide Island Treasure in public areas throughout the island, and they are hidden in plain sight.
Q. Should I look anywhere specific? Can you give me a hint?
A. Glad you asked. The Beach Buddies are super secretive, but they did divulge their favorite hiding places in this map, including places like Horton House, the Historic District, mini golf, St. Andrews, and Glory Beach. These aren’t the only places to find Treasures, but they are good starting points.
Q. How much does it cost to hunt?
A. Nothing! The Jekyll Island Treasures hunt is free. (Note: There is a parking fee to get on the island, which helps defray some of the cost of roads upkeep.)
Q. If I find an Island Treasure, can I keep it?
A. Yes! Be sure to take it to the Guest Information Center (located near the entry gates at 901 Downing Musgrove Causeway) to register it and receive your float’s certificate of authenticity and artist information.
Q. Can I find more than one float?
A. Technically, yes. But, wouldn’t it be nicer to leave that second/third/eighth one for someone else to find and enjoy?
Q. Who hides Island Treasures? Can I help?
A. Volunteers selected from Jekyll Island Authority staff called “Beach Buddies” hide the treasures. Their identity is a secret and they’re very sneaky! All Beach Buddies have been selected this year, but thanks for the offer.
Q. Can I buy an Island Treasure?
A. Official Jekyll Island Island Treasures are for sale at the Jekyll Island Guest Information Center. (Hint: These are NOT part of the treasure hunt. We don’t recommend taking them without paying for them.) You can also purchase Treasures online at shopjekyllisland.myshopify.com.
Q. Is there an online hunt this year?
A. No, the hunt is only taking place on-island this year. Hope to see you soon!
Q. Are you SURE you can’t give me a little hint?
A. Here’s the best one we’ve got.
Treasures Hints Map
A map highlighting the best hunting areas on Jekyll has been created to help first-time treasure hunters.
Date: January and February
Location: Jekyll Island