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Have often have you been able to find fun family entertainment for $6 dollars lately? Yea me either! Since P and I were out most of December and January we were always looking for some entertainment. And mamas, family entertainment is not cheap! I cringe thinking about what we spent when we went to the movies several times. That being said, I am always on the look for some cheap entertainment for weekends, holidays, breaks ect. Good cheap entertainment can be hard to come by sometimes so imagine my happiness when I come across exactly that for $6 bucks or around the cost of a cheeseburger.
Insert Jekyll Island Treasure hunt. I am ashamed to say after living here for almost seven years now, this was our first year participating. Boy have we been missing out! Every year on Jekyll Island during January and February they host the annual Island Treasure event for GORGEOUS glass balls or “floats”. At the turn of the century you see, fishermen used hollow glass balls or “floats” to mark their nets. Sometimes the floats would wash to the shore. Artists from across the country recreate these unique “floats” especially for Jekyll Island’s annual Island Treasures event. The floats are hidden daily in various quantities for a two month long hide-and-seek style game in January and February of each year.
The game’s structure has changed slightly since it’s onset but currently volunteers hide clear plastic globes with directions inside that are then exchanged for the rare glass floats . Once you have found the clear globe you simply return the globe to the Jekyll Island visitor center, located by the toll booth, and then you are allowed to select the float of your choice to keep. First, Pierce and I wandered into the visitor center once we got on Jekyll and I recommend making this your first stop before you head onto the island. The welcome center is full of knowledgable staff who can give you much history and information about Jekyll Island as well as the treasure hunt ( you just might get a hint;) ). Additionally the prizes ,or floats, are all on display in the back of the welcome center gift shop and you can look at them as well as see a sample of what you should be actually looking for on the treasure hunt. These floats are crazy beautiful and would look SO great on display in your home. I was seriously drooling YA’LL. They are each perfection and are truly glass artwork! Here is a link with even more information, HERE .
So you are probably asking yourself where the $6 bucks comes in. We had to pay the $6 toll to get on the island but that is the only cost associated with the hunt. If you visit frequently or think that you may ( think summer waves, turtle museum, BEACH ect ect ect) they also offer a pretty affordable annual pass as well. We happened to have just filled up on some fresh belgian waffles ( I am on a susie homemaker kick lately lol ) prior to leaving the house so I knew eating would not be an expense this particular day #winning. Maybe you and the crew have a further drive and you will have to eat on your adventure. In that case Jekyll Island is a fantastic place to bring a packed picnic from home because there are just SO many beautiful locations to have a picnic here. I am always down for a good PB &J so ya’ll so get your creative mama juices flowing. I can also highly recommend Jekyll Island Seafood Company as well as Zachary’s on Jekyll if you are in the mood to splurge little more during your visit. Find reviews on these HERE and HERE . If you are in the mood for great seafood, another great option on the mainland is Marshside and that review is HERE . If you are not in the DIY mood but need to keep it cheap(er) you can never go wrong at the neighborhood DQ right on Jekyll. Their $5 buck lunch complete with ice cream sundae is hard to beat 🙂
If you can’t tell already MT is pretty partial to Jekyll Island friends. While I LOVE St. Simons, I feel like Jekyll Island is the understated sister that is often overlooked in that equation. Give me the romance and solitude of Jekyll and her mysterious ancient oaks any day. On this particular day we were keeping it frugal in a quest to plan the perfect cheap day date. We paid our toll and immediately headed to the “historic district” which happens to be at the Jekyll Island Club hotel. There is no fee to park and we were able to roam the grounds for a few hours looking for the treasure. I have to confess I felt like I was on an adult version of a easter egg hunt and I loved every minute of it. We ran, walked, climbed stumps, fell, chased each other. We were outside- together- and neither of us was behind or in front of a screen excluding camera on my phone. It was wonderful. There were quite a few shops open in the historic district as well as snack stands and more than one place to get ice cream! There are huge colorful mansions sprinkled throughout the property that were once home to some of the wealthiest oil and railroad tycoons of their time such as the Vanderbilts and Rockefellars. You can also walk into the “big hotel” and see beautiful historic buildings and decor galore. If you are feeling tired from all the treasure hunting you can always watch hotel guests play racquet ball on the front lawn and you feel like you are back in the early 1900s. In our walk all over the property in search of the elusive floats we spotted several horse drawn carriage rides as well as a trolley tour. There is a TON more to see and do in this area than what I have listed but again, we were staying on our $6 budget.
Next we decided to check out driftwood beach and see if we could find any treasure there. Driftwood beach is treasure in and of itself. On the way we passed the Horton House ruins which is really a neat area. You can get out and walk about the ruins and several other significant areas nearby for no additional cost beyond the entrance fee to the island. It is really a sight worth seeing. We also passed TONS of bike trails and this would be a great place to load up your bikes and bike the island as you explore and hunt for floats. We finally arrived at driftwood beach where we looked around some for treasure but on this particularly COLD day we had ran out of steam quickly. We hung out and tossed the frisby for awhile and explored the natured made playground i.e. the famous beached driftwood/trees. I never get tired of these mother nature formed sculptures on the beach. They are standing as proof that even in destruction there is great beauty. Once we were successfully frozen, yet still empty handed, we made a pact and decided we would come back another day soon and try again. We caved and hit the local Dairy Queen on our way home ( OPTIONAL yet still very cheap under $3 for mini blizzard 🙂 ).
While we did not find a float or any other tangible treasure on this particular day, we had a lot of fun and spent quality time together for a very small amount of money. I encourage you to take advantage of this inexpensive activity between now and the end of February. I think your family will have a lot of fun if you do treasure or not. You can spend as much or as little as you like and still enjoy the day together and all that beautiful Jekyll Island offers. And maybe after all the true treasure here is not actually the well hidden floats but rather the precious time spent together exploring all that this area has to offer us- that treasure is priceless. I wish you and your treasure hunters the BEST of luck and if you happen to be lucky enough to find one of the special floats please let me know 🙂
From one “treasure” hunter to another-