Jekyll Island Treasure Hunt happening through February

Published: Feb. 10, 2023 at 7:54 AM EST
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JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - With many of its activities tied to the beach, winter was once a traditional shoulder season on Jekyll Island.

Until the Island Treasures program turned the start of the year into hunting season there - with families and friend groups searching for unique hidden prizes, island beauty and priceless memories.

Bagging her limit is not what defines Sherri Pruitt’s annual hunts along the Georgia coast.

“I’ve found zero. But we still have a good time, it’s a great tradition. Traditions are important whether it’s with friends or family,” said Sherri Pruitt who attends Jekyll Island Treasure Hunt every year.

Pruitt brings both to Jekyll Island every year for the highlight of her winter at the Jekyll Island Treasure Hunt, an off-season event that is more about socializing than stalking prey.

“Guests can come, explore the island, hunt for some clear plastic globes and redeem them for some beautiful island treasures. And really if you don’t find one, that’s ok, because you’ve found the treasure of Jekyll Island,” said Kathryn Hearn, Marketing Communications Manager for Jekyll Island Authority.

Every day during January and February, plastic globes are hidden in plain site all around the island.

“They’re going to be in established paths, in the beach village or the historic district and can be out there waiting for you.”

And a couple hundred people go looking for them each day, letting it be known when they find one.

“We’ve been here at night with flashlights, I’m not sure if that’s ok or not. But when they find them, you can hear them a mile away when somebody’s screaming.”

“The reaction when people find them is pretty amazing. We’ve heard shouts and screams before. People get very excited about finding an Island treasure.”

They are excited about earning one of artisan glass globes designed by artists from all across the country.

“They’re beautiful. They have unique qualities to each one of them. So, the one you take home is unique you and your family.”

But they also enjoy embracing part of Jekyll history.

“In the 1900s, East Coast fishermen used glass floats to mark where they were fishing and sometimes they would come loose and wash ashore and people would hunt for them. So, in the 1950s, it became really popular to go and hunt for these globes that had washed ashore. And our Island Treasure Hunt is an ode to that history.”

For families like Pruitt’s, it’s more about the search and the tradition of searching together.

“It’s about the memories and it’s great. It wasn’t really planned to create this, but ever since we’ve done it, we’ve found all the little local eateries.”

“You just find all the little things that maybe you wouldn’t have looked for. But since you’re here hunting for the glass floats you find all the historic stuff here. It’s wonderful.”