Cumberland Island National
St Marys, GA 31558
Explore Sun, Sand, Beautiful
Vistas and a Relaxing Atmosphere await you!
Cumberland Island is Georgia's
largest and southernmost barrier island. Pristine maritime forests,
undeveloped beaches and wide marshes whisper the stories of both man
and nature. Come walk in the footsteps of early natives, explorers,
and wealthy industrialists. Enjoy ranger guided tours or explore in
quiet solitude. Your trip begins here.
Follow Hwy 40 East off Interstate 95
to St. Marys. The visitor center and ferry dock are located at the
Things to Do
For a safe enjoyable journey prepare
yourself by wearing comfortable shoes, packing a lunch, snacks, and
drinking water, using bug repellent, wearing sunscreen and/or hat
protection, and finally pacing yourself, especially in summer heat.
Beach accessible wheelchairs are available. Please advise at
check-in that if you would like to request a chair.
Island transportation is not
provided, so please plan on walking for all activities.
Bicycles are available for rent at Sea Camp. You must check with the
Ferry deck hands to rent bicycles, Park Service staff does not
handle bike rentals.
Places to Go
Revolutionary War Hero
General Nathanial Greene purchased land on Cumberland Island in
1783. Following his death, his widow Catherine Greene, constructed a
four-story tabby home that she named Dungeness. Thomas Carnegie and
his wife Lucy began building another Dungeness on the original
foundation in 1884. The Carnegie�s Dungeness burned in 1959 and
today only the ruins remain on the site.
Plum Orchard Mansion
Plum Orchard is an 1898 Georgian Revival mansion
building by Lucy Carnegie for her son, George and his wife, Margaret
Thaw. This mansion was donated to the National Park Foundation by
the Carnegie family in 1971. The contribution of Plum Orchard helped
achieve congressional approval for establishing Cumberland Island
First African Baptist Church in the Settlement
In the 1890�s, The Settlement was established for
African American workers. The First African Baptist Church was
established in 1893 and then rebuilt in the 1930�s. It was the
site of the September 1996 wedding of John F. Kennedy, Jr. and
A total of 50 miles of hiking
trails meander through maritime forests, interior wetlands, historic
districts, marsh ecosystems, and the beautiful beaches. Trails are
accessible only by foot. The roadways allow vehicle and bicycle use.
Trails at the south end include
Dungeness Trail, a ranger led or self-guided walk through the
Dungeness Historic District, River Trail (a short walk from
Dungeness Dock to Sea Camp), Nightingale Trail offers another view
of a maritime forest, while the South End trail is an interesting
collision of ecosystems.
Traveling north on the dirt shell
road, Grande Avenue takes you through the heart of the island under
a draping canopy of live oaks, forest floors packed with palmetto,
tall stands of stately pines, open fields, tidal creeks, fresh water
wetlands and lakes, Plum Orchard Mansion, and culminating at the
site of the First African Baptist Church located in the Settlement
at the north end of Cumberland Island.
For a true backcountry experience,
consider taking trails and staying off the main road.
Both developed and wilderness
camping is available. Reservations are encouraged and may be made up
to six months in advance. All camping is limited to seven days.
Spring and late fall are peak seasons. Entrance fees, camping fees
and ferry fees are additional.
Observe and practice LEAVE
NO TRACE principles.
NO FIRES, TREAT WATER, PACK OUT TRASH.
Camping is limited to seven days. Back country sites are $2.00
per person per night. There are no facilities at the backcountry
sites and water must be treated.
Campfires are not permitted in the
backcountry and portable stoves are suggested. The three backcountry
sites range from 5.5 to 10.5 miles from the Sea Camp ferry dock.
Sites are assigned upon arrival.
5.5 miles from Sea Camp, in the heart of the island, offers a
fascinating close encounter with an intriguing interior freshwater
wetland and its wildlife. Due to being located in a wetland area,
bugs are often prevalent.
Yankee Paradise: 7.5 miles from Sea Camp, also in the center
of the island and a half days walk to and from the Plum Orchard
Brickhill Bluff: 10.5 miles from Sea Camp, located on the
Brickhill River. A favorite place for seeing dolphins and manatees.
Sea Camp Campground is $4.00 per person per
night. The campground at Sea Camp has restroom facilities with cold
water showers, a small amphitheater for ranger programs, and
boardwalk access to the beach. This campground consists of 16
individual camp sites and two group sites. Group sites can
accommodate 10-20 people. Each campsite has a grill, fire ring, food
cage, and picnic table. Sites are assigned upon arrival.
Stafford camp sites are $4.00 per person per
night and are located 3.5 miles from the Sea Camp Ranger Station.
Restrooms, showers, and fire rings are available at the site. Fire
rings are on a first come first serve basis.
Six public hunts are held
during Georgia's hunting seasons. The hunts are advertised in
newspapers and participants are selected on a first come first serve
basis. Contact the Chief Ranger at (912) 882-4336 ext258 for more
information or visit www.gohuntgeorgia.com for licenses and weapon
information. For a copy of this year's hunt information, click here.
To register for a hunt, please go to
www.pay.gov and type "Cumberland" in the search box
located on the left hand side of the screen under the section
entitled "Find Public Forms". From the search results,
select "Cumberland Island Managed Hunt" and follow the
onscreen instructions to fill in the form.
Anyone 16 or older must
possess a Georgia Fishing License to fish. These can be obtained at
over 1,000 locations in Georgia. Call 1-888-748-6887 or go to
www.gofishgeorgia.com for more information. Anglers enjoy numerous
fishing opportunities including stream fishing for trout, bobbing
for Blue Gill and Bass in freshwater lakes, shore and deep sea
fishing, and gathering shrimp and crabs from the marshes.
The island's beaches and open
fields provide wonderful unobstructed views for stargazing. Campers
are welcome to bring their telescopes.
Opportunities for photography
are endless. Numerous historic structures and ruins scatter the
island. Sunrise at the beach, sunset over the marsh, tangled vines
connecting forest canopies to dappled forest floors, jumbles of Saw
Palmetto, gnarled live oak limbs, either bare bones dead or filled
with abundant plant life, various animals scurrying about, and
interesting cultural and natural features, all provide excellent
subjects for photos.
As a favorite stopping point
on the transatlantic migratory flyway, over 335 species of birds
have been recorded on Cumberland Island, including threatened and
endangered species such as the Least Tern, Wilson�s Plover and
American Oystercatcher. Pelican Banks, the southernmost point of the
island is a favorite place for black skimmers, oystercatchers,
pelicans, and numerous ducks and other shore birds.
The fresh water pond areas provide
excellent rookeries for wood storks, white ibis, herons and egrets.
In the forest canopy, you can also see warblers, buntings, wrens,
and woodpeckers. On the shores, osprey, peregrine falcons, and
occasionally bald eagles and golden eagles are often spotted. Bring
your binoculars and a field guide for a glimpse of some of these
beautiful island inhabitants.
Collecting sharks teeth and
unoccupied sea shells is allowed. Beach findings are most successful
after a strong surf or storm and may include coquinas, disc clams,
heart cockles, ark shells, moon snails, and an occasional sand
dollar or olive shell. If time allows, scour the beach south of
Dungeness Beach crossing all the way around the south end of the
Campers have an advantage over day
visitors of having more time to explore the island. Sharks teeth can
often be found in the roads because the roads are conditioned with
dredge fill. One can also locate them at low tide on the marsh side
between the Dungeness and Sea Camp docks.
Numerous species call
Cumberland Island home. From threatened and endangered manatees and
sea turtles to over 300 species of birds, the sights are endless on
Cumberland Island. Often on a single trip, visitors may see wild
turkeys, armadillos, feral horses, vultures, dolphins, and lizards
all in the same day.
To experience the more elusive white
tail deer, bobcats, and otters one should consider camping. Animal
activity is often greater at dawn and dusk and camping allows you to
be �on location� during these hours. Birding is often good at
the south end at Pelican Banks, as well as on the marsh edge in the
interior wetlands. Often visitors can simply find a spot to sit
quietly and before long one of the islands creatures will surely be
Swimming is allowed anywhere
on the island. Be advised that you swim at your own risk.
There are no lifeguards at any location. Unless a hurricane
or strong storm is near, riptides tend to be minimal. Be advised
that fresh water ponds are home to snakes and alligators.
Visitors may charter a boat
or bring personal boats. Day use docking is available at the north
end of both Dungeness and Sea Camp docks but only a limited amount
of space is available and the slips are on a first come first served
Visitors are asked to deposit $4 per
person in the entrance fee box upon arrival. No overnight docking is
permitted. Shore tying is acceptable, however be aware of oyster
beds and tidal changes.
Kayaking is a great way to enjoy the
marsh. Kayakers or other private boaters interested in camping will
still need reservations for camping and are required to pick up
their camping permit at the mainland visitor center.
Be prepared; always check tides and
weather before disembarking. A compass or GPS unit can be very
helpful and make a difference in your journey.
Bikes are available for rent
at the Sea Camp Dock for a fee of $16 per day for adult bikes and
$20 overnight for campers. Bicycle rentals are on a first come first
serve basis. See the ferry deck hands about bike rentals.
You may also bring your own bikes to
the island on a private or charter boat but they are not permitted
on the ferry. Call the reservation number to arrange for a charter.
Rented bikes are not allowed on the beach and all bikes must stay on
designated roads. Trails are for pedestrian traffic only.
As with all of your outings on
Cumberland Island, be prepared, have a map, and know the distances
of your destinations. Respect private property and keep hydrated.
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