Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island is one of the most scenic beaches in the United States. It was selected as one of the ten most romantic beaches by Coastal Living. Although we have visited Jekyll Island frequently, we had never been to Driftwood Beach before this year.
Driftwood Beach is littered with driftwood. But unlike other driftwood, which washes up on shore after spending time drifting in the ocean, Driftwood Beach’s driftwood is due to erosion of the maritime forest. The coastal islands in southern Georgia are constantly moving. Hurricanes, storms, and the tides move the sand from one area to another. Maritime forests anchor the sand somewhat but erosion is a strong force. Driftwood Beach is littered with the skeletons of the live oaks that die when the shoreline changes.
The best time to get to Driftwood Beach is at low tide, when you can really walk around and admire nature’s works of art. We like to ride our bike on the beach and wanted to share Driftwood Beach with my parents. But the tides and weather were not particularly cooperative. If you go at or near high tide, you can’t get a bike through the tangle of roots and branches. There are still places to walk, but you have to do some climbing over limbs.
So we wanted to hit Driftwood Beach at low tide on a warm and sunny day. But the tide has been high at the times we could go on warm and sunny days. So, eventually, we settled for visiting at medium tide on two cool but sunny days. Both days were also somewhat windy.
Both times Tom and I rode the length of Driftwood Beach. We like to ride along the beach because we don’t have to worry about traffic or congestion on the bike trail. Riding in the sand also gives us a little more of a workout, although the beach is always hard enough here that it isn’t difficult. Mom and Dad enjoy riding on the beach because it is easier for Dad to get around.
Last week we loaded up the bikes and headed over to Driftwood Beach. It was clear, windy, and 62. We parked in the parking lot and then rode to the beach. There is a small patch of deep, soft sand on the way, and we always have to walk the bikes through that. Once on the beach, however, we can weave in and out of the live oak skeletons and zoom along like the birds. Tom and I rode up around the tip of the island. Mom and Dad took their time and explored up and down in a smaller section of the beach.
As the tide encroached on the trees, we moved inland to the bike trail and rode it north to the pier. Riding on the bike trail is a little easier and gave us a chance to see the extensive marsh at the north end of the island. Mom and Dad walked on the pier while Tom and I rode back to get the truck.
Driftwood Beach feels wild and looks beautiful. It is a wonderful place to explore on Jekyll Island. It changes every day depending on the tides and weather.