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Overview

Accessible only by pedestrian ferry from the small coastal town of St. Marys, Cumberland Island is a truly magical place. Less than 18 miles long and just three miles wide, the island boasts giant swaths of desolate beach, shrub-dotted sand dunes, and a unspoiled maritime forest. A few private homes connected by a lone dirt road are scattered along the northern end of this barrier island. The Cumberland Island National Seashore protects most of the southernmost part of the island. Here, feral horses run wild along the beach, wild turkeys roam freely and shorebirds peck at the sand. Many tourists just come for the day, but visitors can camp ...

Accessible only by pedestrian ferry from the small coastal town of St. Marys, Cumberland Island is a truly magical place. Less than 18 miles long and just three miles wide, the island boasts giant swaths of desolate beach, shrub-dotted sand dunes, and a unspoiled maritime forest. A few private homes connected by a lone dirt road are scattered along the northern end of this barrier island. The Cumberland Island National Seashore protects most of the southernmost part of the island. Here, feral horses run wild along the beach, wild turkeys roam freely and shorebirds peck at the sand. Many tourists just come for the day, but visitors can camp at the primitive Sea Camp Beach or stay at the elegant Greyfield Inn (the island’s only hotel). Several remnants of the island’s history are worth exploring, including the ruins of the famous Carnegie-owned Dungeness mansion and the 1898 Georgian-Revival Plum Orchard Mansion. Only 300 visitors are allowed on the island at a time, making it seem desolate, calm and breathtaking.

Debra Landau
About the Expert

Debra Landau has written eight Lonely Planet guidebooks, including books on the USA, Caribbean, and the South.

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Debra Landau for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    The best time to visit is from April through October.