Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia’s largest, southern most barrier island. This island national park is 18 miles long, beautiful undeveloped beaches, and includes a large wilderness area. There are no bridges to the island, so the only way to get there is by boat. A ferry departs St. Mary’s GA twice a day, 9:00 and 11:45. You can stay for a few hours or you can bring your tent and stay in one of the primitive campgrounds.
We had four hours to explore before the ferry returned to St. Mary’s. We were dropped off at the Visitor Center/Campground Registration building. Bicycles can be rented as well, but we wanted to walk. There are several miles of trails.
About 150 wild horses inhabit the island, descendants from modern domestic breeds. This is the only heard of feral horses on the Atlantic coast that is not managed. They are on their own here just as any native wildlife.
Horses have the right of way, and no petting or feeding them. We saw lots of them, they were everywhere.
We spotted this fella getting a drink from a fresh water pipe by the remains of this old duck pond.
Thomas Carnegie, the brother of Andrew Carnegie, began building a mansion here with his wife, Lucy, in 1884. At one time the Carnegie family owned 90% of the island and had built other estates here, a few of which are still standing. The Dungeness mansion was destroyed by fire, possibly arson, in 1959. Now it is preserved by the National Park Service.
A road turns into a trail and onto a boardwalk on the way to the beach.
Finally, to the Atlantic Ocean. The tide was out and the beach was huge!
It was not packed with people, maybe because it was only 65 degrees and cloudy. A few drops of rain fell, but that was it. After walking the beach for about a mile another boardwalk brought us over the dunes and back into the forest on the way back to the ferry.
The trees here are incredible!
There were armadillos everywhere. They’re so cute!
When we got back to the visitor center we sat in on a presentation about Cumberland Island’s sea turtle monitoring program. This is one of the most important loggerhead sea turtle nesting areas in Georgia.
Just before we arrived back at St. Mary’s we saw this docked tall ship all in sails. We had seen it earlier, but the sails weren’t up.
Next to the marina St. Mary’s has one of the most beautiful city parks we have seen.
- Ferry: $55.64