Explore Cumberland Island

  • by Kristen Wagoner
  • June 29, 2020
  • 2845 views

Get ready for a day filled of exploring Georgia's largest and southernmost barrier island! Cumberland Island is packed with pristine maritime forests, undeveloped beaches and wide marshes whisper the stories of both man and nature. Natives, missionaries, enslaved African Americans and Wealthy Industrialists all walked here. 

photo by: @jennyoetting

Cumberland Island is located six miles east of St. Marys, Georgia, and is only accessible by boat. There is a ferry and a few commercial vessels that will take you to the island. If you’re planning on riding the ferry make sure to make a reservation here. Private boats can dock 7 days a week on the north end of the island, however docking is first come first serve.

photo by: @justinwiththecamera

There are over 50 miles of trails and roads as well as 18 miles of beach. Hiking, biking, camping, birdwatching, and beachcombing are popular activities on the island. Wild horses and other island wildlife roam freely throughout the ruins, forest and along the beach.

photo by: @saratruecampbell

Things To Bring:

  • food & snacks
  • drinks
  • sunscreen
  • insect repellant
  • wear comfortable walking shoes
  • backpack
  • hat & sunglasses
  • camera and power bank for phone

There are no shops, stores, or other amenities on the island so make sure to pack a lunch and refillable water bottle. 

photo by: @elizabethpointe

Some of the spots we recommend checking out include the Dungeness Mansion ruins, the Plum Orchard, The First African Baptist Church, Ice House Museum and the Stafford Cemetery.

photo by: @blakelyclayton

The Dungeness ruins is what is left of a 59-room mansion built by Thomas Carnegie (brother of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie) and his wife Lucy in the 1880s. This mansion was part of a lavish winter estate for the Carnegie family, which included pools, a golf course, and 40 smaller buildings. A fire in 1959 reduced the mansion to ruins.

Visit The Plum Orchard Mansion

photo by: @dustybrown01

Construction of The Plum Orchard Mansion began in 1898, as a wedding gift for George Carnegie and Margaret Thaw. Visitors can take a free tour of the 22,000 square foot mansion. There is architecture, furnishings, and machinery that made operation of the house possible on display. Plum Orchard offers a glimpse into Edwardian High Society at the turn of the 20th century and the importance of recreation, indulgence, and rejuvenation thru nature.

Stay The Night At The Greyfield Inn

photo by: @pfephoto

The Inn was built by the Carnegies in 1890. The home was converted to an inn in 1962 by Margaret’s daughter, Lucy R. Ferguson, and her family. The Carnegie family still oversees the Inn, which exudes the romance and luxury of a grand hotel with the hospitality and charm of a family home.

Greyfield Inn’s private setting boasts 200-acres of unspoiled land spanning marshland on the west and ocean to the east. On Cumberland Island, guests set off for adventure each day. Their hours of escape onto the island can be spent birding, swimming, biking, hiking, kayaking, fishing, observing the island’s wild horses, and strolling along the immaculate white sand beach.

Today, the furnishings and style remain true to its history. Greyfield Inn offers 15 comfortable rooms in the main house and two additional cottages. Cozy fireplaces and a breezy, shaded veranda make the inn a wonderful year-round travel destination. The library, dinner bell, and a serve-yourself bar all come together to make guests feel right at home.

photo by: @Nicole_franzen

More Photos On The Island

photo by: @priya_green

photo by: @currentlywandering

photo by: @castophoto

photo by: @luvmyssi

photo by: @reneeayworth

photo by: @a_wall138

Map of the Island

Address: Cumberland Island- 113 St. Marys St W St. Marys, GA 31558

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