Thursday, January 31, 2013

How to explore cumberland island georgia

explore cumberland island, georgia

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A 45-minute boat ride from historic St. Marys aboard the Cumberland Queen is a step back in time to Cumberland Island and the ruins of magnificent Dungeness, the 1880s winter retreat of Thomas and Lucy Carnegie. Walking trails, a campground, beaches, dunes, salt marshes and a maritime forest are part of the Cumberland Island National Seashore overseen by the National Park Service. The feral horses on the island are descended from the Carnegie stables.

Things You'll Need

  • Island map and guides
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Camera
  • Sun screen
  • Bottled water
  • Lunch/snack
  • Bags for seashells (or trash)


    • 1

      Explore either with a park ranger or on your own. The restored Ice House at the landing, now a museum, presents the story of the self-sufficient Carnegie Estate. Follow crushed oyster shell trails to the 59-room Dungeness and its historic out buildings, once a landmark of the Gilded Age. When it burned down in 1959, it had been empty for many years. When Carnegie guests came to Dungeness, they were in another world of unlimited wealth and comfort, complete with an indoor swimming pool, gymnasium and squash court (now in ruins). There are four smaller mansions that were built during the Carnegie Era. One is 1900 Greyfield Inn (a bed and breakfast), the 1898 Plum Orchard Mansion and the Grange, private residences.

    • 2

      Nearby are salt marshes and miles of pristine beaches, just steps from a maritime forest hidden behind sand dunes. About 150 wild horses roam freely on the island and along the beaches. In the spring, new foals add to the enjoyment of visiting Cumberland. Seashell collectors will find an abundance of shells and photography opportunities. Children and adults will enjoy biking, hiking, collecting seashells and sharks' teeth, fishing and exploring the mainly undeveloped barrier island environment. As large as the island may be, visitors stay mainly in the southern portion with almost 50 miles of biking and walking trails to enjoy.

    • 3

      For those who love to camp, Sea Camp offers up to seven days of nature and wilderness. It has restrooms, cold showers, picnic tables, grills and drinking water. Permits and reservations are required and campsites are on a first-come basis, assigned by a park ranger. The camp features an amphitheater created with logs and a fire pit. During the summer, crafts and children's programs are offered at the Sea Camp Ranger Station on ecology, wildlife and island history. Children ages 6 to 12 may earn a Junior Ranger badge. The wide beach is just over the sand dunes from the camp. Since the horses roam unrestricted, don't be surprised if they wander by your campsite at night. You must bring all your camping supplies with you and dispose of trash on returning to the mainland. For families who enjoy the great outdoors, this can be a rewarding experience.

Tips &- Warnings

  • Restrooms and picnic areas are at Sea Camp Beach and near the Dungeness Ruins.

  • Bicycles can be rented at the Sea Camp Ranger Station.

  • The passenger ferry schedule from St. Marys is seasonal. Call 1-888-817-3421 for information.

  • Greyfield Inn is accessible by the inn's boat from Fernandina Beach, Florida.

  • Don't approach the feral horses.

  • The Dungeness mansion ruins are unstable- stay out.

  • There are no trash dumpsters on the island. Bring your trash back to St Marys for disposal.

  • There are no stores to purchase supplies or souvenirs on the island.

  • Children must be carefully supervised.

  • It is not unusual to see alligators on the beaches.


Tags: Camp Ranger, Camp Ranger Station, cumberland island, Cumberland Island, cumberland island georgia, explore cumberland, explore cumberland island