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Triathlon Tour Guide: Jekyll Island, Georgia

This quiet, pristine barrier island in southeast Georgia makes for a peaceful training escape or a fun family-friendly getaway.

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This quiet, pristine barrier island in southeast Georgia makes for a peaceful training escape or a fun family-friendly getaway. Read our complete feature on the Jekyll Island Turtle Crawl Triathlon here.

GO
In May for the Turtle Crawl Triathlon and NestFest weekend, or between Memorial Day and Labor Day for the best weather.

FLY
To Jacksonville, Fla. (an hour away) or Savannah, Ga. (90 minutes away).

STAY
The brand-new (April 2015) Westin Jekyll Island is located at the center of the Turtle Crawl Triathlon festivities, and the hotel caters to athletes with a special recovery meals menu, fresh juice, ice baths upon request, New Balance gear rental and a run concierge who will take you on a group run or show you where to go (rates around $200 per night, Westinjekyllisland.com).

Turtle Power

Nest Fest
Georgia’s coastal southeast is well known for its sea turtle population, and Jekyll is home to one of the nation’s few sea turtle research and rehabilitation centers. Every year, nesting season is launched during Nest Fest (which coincides with the Turtle Crawl Triathlon, see “Race It!”), a day full of live music and activities that culminates with a celebration where sea turtles are released back into the ocean. This year, 16 turtles were sent back to their natural habitat. You can also visit the turtle “hospital” while on the island.

Drifting Away

Driftwood Beach
Like something straight out of a Tim Burton movie, Driftwood Beach is strewn with massive trees that look like a petrified forest washed ashore. It’s definitely the most Instagram-able site on the island.

Tee Time

Play (cheap) golf
Because Jekyll is a state park, the four golf courses only charge a municipal rate of $40 or less for 18 holes, and the courses are diverse and free of homes or distractions—outside of the local deer and osprey, of course.

Entertain The Kids

Fun for the Family
There are 20 miles of bike paths around the island, so the whole family can rent bikes for a leisurely ride by the water and through the oak tree tunnels. And what kid doesn’t love a water park? Summer Waves has a wave pool, high-speed slides and a lazy river.

Race It!

The Turtle Crawl Triathlon (Jekyllisland.com) is the same weekend as Nest Fest every May, with a sprint and international triathlon and 5K on the same morning. This year, a combined 800 participants took part in the three events, giving it a relaxed, local race vibe. The ocean swim can be a little choppy, but outside of that, you can look forward to pancake-flat roads that will aid in some super fast bike and run splits. The finish line area features a post-race beer tent, frozen yogurt and a Westin recovery area with massage therapists, foam rollers and chocolate milk. The finisher’s medal—in the shape of a turtle, naturally—is one you’ll want to display as a fun race/trip memento.

RELATED – Your Next Family Racecation: Jekyll Island’s Turtle Crawl Triathlon

More triathlon tour guides.