/
/
Jekyll by the Numbers

Jekyll by the Numbers

Discovering the beauty and magic of the island one digit at a time.

By JOHN DONOVAN

Let’s start with the title of this magazine: It’s 31•81, numbers which identify, in landlubber’s terms, the latitude and longitude of Jekyll Island. (31.0735° N, 81.4114° W seemed a little unwieldy for the cover.) Numbers such as those have guided seafaring explorers to Jekyll for centuries. These days, we have a few more numerals to help you find your way around.

Seven

From the age-old natural monuments of Driftwood Beach to the family-friendly openness of Great Dunes Beach Park, Jekyll has seven distinct beaches to explore, offering a spot for just about every type of sand-and-sea lover.

Twenty-four

There may be no better way to discover a little Jekyll magic than on two wheels. Jekyll has two dozen miles of bike paths that wind through forests and along pristine beaches, much of the trip under the forgiving shade of the island’s majestic tree canopy. 

Two

The image of a soaring bald eagle is often associated with mountains and wide-open vistas. But Jekyll boasts two bald eagle nests, where pairs of Haliaeetus leucocephalus perch in the fall and hatch new eaglets in the mild winters.

Seventy-one

Some like it hot, some like it cooler, but you won’t hear many complaints when the mercury stands at 71 degrees, the average annual temperature on Jekyll Island. Some call that perfect.

Two hundred forty-three

The island’s most famous residents are its sea turtles, who nest on local beaches from late May to mid August. The sea turtle population, revered and rehabilitated at the island’s Georgia Sea Turtle Center, enjoyed a record year in 2022. Conservationists counted some 243 nests.

Fifty-one

Solomon is the biggest and, at around 51 years old, the oldest alligator on-island. And, like many Leos (gators typically hatch in late July and into August, under the sign of Leo.), Solomon loves the spotlight. He’s often seen basking on the golf course.

One thousand one hundred

In order to join America’s first transcontinental phone call in January of 1915, AT&T president Theodore Vail ordered some 1,100 extra miles of copper cable to be strung from New York to Jekyll Island. Vail popped in on the historic call while wintering on the island.

1743

Nearly 300 years ago, a military man named William Horton established a plantation on Jekyll to grow food for soldiers. He built a house on it in 1743, parts of which—it’s now known as Horton House—remain as one of the oldest tabby structures in Georgia.

Four hundred

The largest Live Oak on the island is the Plantation Oak, located just north of Crane Cottage in the Historic District. The tree measures more than 120 wide feet, limb to limb, and better than 23 feet around. It’s considered the oldest tree on-island, too, at about 400 years old.

Zero

You can find stop signs throughout any leisurely drive around Jekyll Island. There’s even a newfangled traffic circle (a roundabout?) at the entrance to the Beach Village. But traffic lights? Nope. Not a one of them. Nada. Zilch. Zero.

Four thousand three hundred and fifty-one

It should be clear to anyone who visits Jekyll Island that the natural beauty of this place is paramount. The island measures some 5,950 acres. Only 1,599 of them are developed (and those are strictly managed). That leaves 4,351 acres of unspoiled beach, waterways, dunes, marshes, and maritime forest for everyone to enjoy.

This article first appeared in Volume 6 Number 2 of 31•81, the Magazine of Jekyll Island.

Enjoy the read?

Subscribe to receive future issues of 31•81, the Magazine of Jekyll Island. 

Subscribe to the Magazine of Jekyll Island

Have each future issue mailed directly to you, at no cost. By subscribing to the magazine, you will also receive email updates from Jekyll Island to stay up to date on special events, programs, and offers from our partners.

Vote Driftwood Beach for “Best Beach” and Jekyll Island as “Best Island” before voting ends on June 30.

Report a Wildlife Incident on Jekyll Island