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Is Driftwood Beach Jekyll Island the Prettiest Beach in America? You Decide.

Tonya Prater, Owner

Driftwood Beach Jekyll Island is one of Georgia’s gems and easily one of my favorite places to experience while traveling. 

The beach has been created by erosion of the sand which has caused the trees to uproot and die. The result is a stunning, otherworldly landscape that is popular among photographers. ” Arriving at Jekyll Island Driftwood BeachOne of the benefits of van camping without an itinerary is that you can stop anywhere that catches your eye, which is how my husband and I came to be at Jekyll Island. 

When researching things to do near Savannah, Georgia, I stumbled upon an article by Atlas Obscura which mentioned the beach. I knew then that I wanted to stop. 

Dead Tree Jungle

By the time I found out about Driftwood Beach, we had already driven past the Golden Isles. My husband isn’t a fan of backtracking so we vowed to stop on our return trip to Ohio. 

Closeup of dead tree on Driftwood Beach

Jekyll Island was well worth the wait. We were also able to rent a campground for the night which allowed us to visit Driftwood Beach in the evening and at sunrise. Both offer beautiful views. 

Driftwood Beach Views

The Jekyll Island Campground is located across the road from Clam Creek and a short walk to Driftwood Beach.

To reach the beach, we walked across the street to the entrance of Clam Creek and walked along the paved trail that runs along Riverview Drive. The walk to the beach entrance is just over 1/2 a mile from the campground. You’ll find a small parking area along the road which fits about 4-6 vehicles (if I remember correctly).

Note: Our Dodge Promaster van was too long to fit in the spaces properly so if you drive an oversized vehicle you may be better off heading to Clam Creek, parking, and accessing the beach from there.  

Concrete washed up on the shore

You’ll see a short paved trail that turns to the left to continue to the bike path. To reach the beach, continue on the sandy trail and you’ll find the beach straight ahead.  

found on the beachDriftwood Beach nearly took my breath away. Incredible does not describe how amazing it is. The various brown hues of the dead wood, some dry, some wet from the tide, the gray sand and blue skies combine to create a beautiful color palette. 

More driftwood on the beach

Some trees appear to emerge out of the sand. 

So much driftwood on Driftwood Beach that its easy to see how the beach got its name.

While others have been ripped out of the sand, revealing their shallow roots. 

The tangled mass of driftwood is beautiful.

The beach is a jumbled mass of stumps,  trunks, and limbs contorted and weathered by the wind. 

algae on the wood

You’ll find hints of color and interesting patterns if you take your time and look for it. 

reflections on the water

We spent about an hour to an hour and a half on the beach the first night we arrived. 

Adding my husband into the photo standing by a piece of driftwood to give a bit of perspective.

My husband thought the beach was fascinating so he didn’t mind that I wanted to take a million photos. Driftwood Beach had a weird outcropping of rock that I found mesmerizing.

The beach is mainly flat, but you’ll find some areas that are pretty rocky. 

lichen by the sea

I photographed everything. From the lichen…

fungus on a log

to fungi…

red berries

to the red berries that stood out as a stark contrast to the rest of the beach. 

morning at Driftwood Beach

Finally, my husband could stand it no more. 

The sun rising on Driftwood Beach

The good news is, he had agreed to accompany me the next morning for sunrise photos. 

bundled up on the beach

He wasn’t up for strolling along the beach so he grabbed his reclining camp chair, bundled up with his favorite fleece blanket and settled in for a front-row seat of the sunrise while I wandered down the beach and back. 

birds flying across the sky as the sun begins to rise.

Early on, I identified this tree as my focus but so did several other photographers. So I trekked down the beach to see if something else caught my eye. 

Driftwood Beach is a popular spot for photographersWhile I had packed my tripod for our van camping trip, I didn’t take it to the beach with me. It would have been a good idea. 

sun coming up

We were there just over an hour to capture the sunrise. 

Driftwood Beach tree at sunrise

It was so worth it! 

bright morning

I really could have stayed at Driftwood Beach all day but we had other places to explore on the island. 

Morning on Jekyll Island.

My husband and I camped on the island but I know camping isn’t for everyone! Use our map below to find hotels & Airbnb’s in the area so you can stay and play in comfort. 

Have you been to Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island? 

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View Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island in photos and see why this destination should be on your road trip bucket list.



Friday 19th of June 2020

[…] Travel Inspired Living […]

Cruise Writer

Saturday 9th of March 2019

Great photos. This definitely looks like a spot worth exploring.

Tonya Prater

Thursday 14th of March 2019

It's definitely a photographer's dream spot! If you decide to visit, allow plenty of time to explore and if at all possible, coordinate your trip with either sunrise or sunset.

Rich Christensen (@wagonpilot)

Friday 8th of March 2019

Simply stunning! I spent one night on Jekyll island and long to return.

Tonya Prater

Thursday 14th of March 2019

Driftwood Beach is now my new favorite place on earth. I would go back for another visit today if I could.

Connie Reed

Tuesday 5th of March 2019

What an interesting place—add that one to my ever-growing list. Your sunrise photos are gorgeous!

Tonya Prater

Thursday 14th of March 2019

Thank you, Connie! I was unprepared for just how unique and gorgeous the beach would be. When you do get to visit, make sure you have plenty of space on your memory card. You'll need it! Protection Status
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