Cumberland Island is Georgia's largest barrier island. About 80% of the island is owned by the National Park Services.
Cumberland Island is Georgia’s largest barrier island. About 80% of the island is owned by the National Park Services as it was established as a national seashore in 1972. The ferry service leaves from St. Mary’s at 9:00am, and again at 11:45am, and leaves from the island promptly at 4:45pm. If you are on the island past 4:45pm, you are considered a camper and not a day visitor. The next boat off the island would be at 10:30am the following day.
The ferry ride took about 45 minutes and was a very scenic ride across the Cumberland Sound. The dolphins were there to catch the bow waves and give us a nice show.
The first stop was Dungeness Dock, located on the south end of the island. A park ranger, Renee, met us at the dock to give us some history and a tour of Dungeness. After the tour, we walked the Dungeness Trail to the beach. It is approximately 1.5 miles from the dock to the beach.Along the shoreline, we explored shells, sand dollars, and driftwood that the tide had brought in, and watched a flock of sandpipers and gulls walk along the water’s edge. Upon reaching the southern tip of the island, we were actually less than a mile from the Georgia/Florida state line and had a beautiful view of Fort Clinch State Park at the northern tip of Amelia Island.
Empty shells and shark’s teeth are the only souvenirs that you can take from Cumberland Island. After about 1.3 miles, a black and white pole in the sand dunes let us know we had arrived at Sea Camp Beach. We followed the path through the campground and the beautiful oak trees for another half mile to the Sea Camp Dock. There were picnic tables and rocking chairs there to rest and wait for the ferry to pick us up and take us back to St. Mary’s.
If you are looking for the perfect trip to take in a day, I highly recommend Cumberland Island. The tour with the park ranger was very entertaining and fun, and the history of the island is almost as amazing as our island. It is definitely an ideal trip to take, especially while we have this beautiful spring weather. Be sure to pack a lunch, water, sunscreen, and a camera as you are sure to see wildlife and other beautiful photo opportunities. Also, there are no trash cans on the island so you must take all of your trash back with you.