Lights in the live oaks and a decked out Jekyll Island Club Resort turn this Georgia jewel into the best family holiday ever.

By Valerie Fraser Luesse
live oak jekyll island club
Credit: Courtesy Jekyll Island Club Resort

There’s something about Christmas at a classic Southern resort. The whole celebration tends to go old school in the best possible way, with grand trees and a sea of lights, elegant Christmas dinners and holiday breakfasts, ice skating and hot chocolate by the fireplace and visits from Santa, parades and holiday teas and cookies to be decorated. You can count on evergreens everywhere and lots of Christmas red.

Put the Jekyll Island Club Resort firmly in that camp.

What began as a private, elite hunting club in 1879 opened as the also private, also elite Jekyll Island Club about a decade later, a getaway of choice for Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Morgans, and Pulitzers. Many of these wealthy families built homes and cottages on the property. Purchased by the state of Georgia in the forties, Jekyll Island became a state park, and the original club house was later restored, reopening as a hotel in 1987. A new Jekyll Ocean Club now gives families the option of all-suite lodging.

Today, the resort pulls out all the stops from Thanksgiving through New Year’s. Some events, like a Christmas Buffet and New Year’s Eve prix fixe dinner, are open only to resort guests, while others, like the Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes and New Year’s Day breakfast buffet, are open to the public. You can find out what’s available right here.

WATCH: Experience the Magic of Christmas

The Jekyll Island Skating Village will be open through January 5, and you can enjoy holiday lights through January 5, as well. Guided Christmas twilight tours of the Historic District happen Saturday evenings through December 28. A miniature golf course on Jekyll is, for now, Peppermint Land. On December 26, 29, and 30, the resort will show movies filmed on Jekyll.

All this plus the Great Dunes golf course and the kind of amenities you would expect from a resort of this caliber. (P.S. Jekyll has miles of unspoiled beaches. It’s a state park, remember? No condo towers. Just beautiful ocean views.)

Ready to pack up the SUV and head to Georgia? We thought so.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a great beach trip.