Cumberland Island National Seashore

Cumberland Island National Seashore

Quick Facts

Cumberland Island National Seashore


(912) 882-4336

Map Directions

Things To Do


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. Cumberland Island is 17.5 miles long and totals 36,415 acres of which 16,850 are marsh, mud flats, and tidal creeks. It is well known for its sea turtles, abundant shore birds, dune fields, maritime forest, salt marshes, and historic structures.

Map of Cumberland Island

Latitude, Longitude: 30.720318, -81.550094



  • Boating

    Visitors may charter a boat or bring personal boats however be sure to check if your ferry operator will transport your 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 basis. Visitors are asked to deposit a fee 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.

  • Bird Watching

    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. Birding is often good at the south end at Pelican Banks, as well as on the marsh edge in the interior wetlands.

  • Bicycling

    Bikes are available for rent at the Sea Camp Dock for a fee. Bicycle rentals are on a first- come, first- served basis. Visitors may also bring there own bikes to the island on a private or charter boat but they are not permitted on the ferry. Rented bikes are not allowed on the beach and all bikes must stay on designated roads as trails are for pedestrian traffic only.

  • Camping

    Both developed and wilderness camping is available. Reservations may be made up to six months in advance and are highly encouraged! All camping is limited to seven days with spring and late fall making up peak seasons.

    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.

    Hickory Hill: 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 Mansion.

    Brickhill Bluff: 10.5 miles from Sea Camp, located on the Brickhill River. A favorite place for seeing dolphins and manatees.

    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 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.

  • Fishing

    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. All fishers 16 years of age and older must have a valid Georgia Fishing License.

  • Hiking

    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 while 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.

  • Historic Sites

    Several historical sites are located on the island, including:

    Dungeness Ruins: 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 National Seashore.

    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 Carolyn Bessette.

  • Hunting

    Six public hunts are held during Georgia's hunting seasons for wild boar and deer. The hunts are advertised in newspapers and participants are selected on a first come, first-served basis. For additional information hunters should contact the Chief Ranger at the park

  • Picnicking

    Picnic tables are located at campgrounds and at Sea Camp Ranger Station, Ice House Meuseum, Sea Camp Beach and the Settlement.

  • Water Sports

    Swimming is allowed anywhere on the island. Be advised that you swim at your own risk as 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.

  • Wildlife Watching

    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.


Summers (May through September) are hot and humid. Winters are generally short and mild with variable precipitation and occasional "northeasters."

The visitor center is open daily 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m, Monday through Sunday. Park facilities are closed on December 25. The ferry boat schedule is as follows:

Spring/Summer/Fall (March 1st to November 30th) - The ferry departs St. Marys at 9 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. , and departs from Cumberland Island at 10:15 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. (March 1 to September 30 - Wednesday through Saturday there is also a 2:45 p.m. departure from the island.) Winter (December 1st to February 28th) - The ferry does not operate on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, and there is no 2:45 p.m. departure from the island. However, the two departure times from St. Marys and Cumberland Island remain the same. . Our Plum Orchard ferry departs every second and fourth Sunday of each month at 12:45 p.m. from Sea Camp Dock. It is roughly an eight mile (45 minutes by ferry) trip to Plum Orchard where visitors get to spend two hours exploring the beautiful historic structure. The ferry returns to Sea Camp Dock promptly at 4:15 p.m.

Park Partners

Cumberland Queen

(877) 860-6787



Take Exit 3 off of Interstate 95 in the state of Georgia. The exit ends at a stop light. Turn onto Highway 40 going East. Follow Highway 40 all the way down where it ends at the Historic Downtown St. Marys Waterfront. The visitor center and ferry dock are located there at the waterfront. Cumberland Island is located seven miles east of St. Marys, Georgia, and is only accessible by water. A concession operated passenger ferry departs from St. Marys. Reservations are recommended.


Flights are available to Jacksonville International Airport and Savannah/Hilton Head International Airports. Both locations have rental car agencies.

Public Transportation

There is no public transportation available in the town of Saint Marys however there are several local taxi companies.

Phone Numbers


(912) 882-4336