Cumberland Island National Seashore
|Cumberland Island National Seashore|
|Location||Camden County, Georgia, USA|
|Nearest city||St. Marys, Georgia|
|Area||36,415.39 acres (147.3679 km2)
18,700.34 acres (75.6776 km2) federal
|Established||October 23, 1972|
|Visitors||40,291 (in 2005)|
|Governing body||National Park Service|
Cumberland Island National Seashore preserves most of Cumberland Island in Camden County, Georgia, the largest of Georgia's Golden Isles. The seashore features beaches and dunes, marshes, and freshwater lakes. The national seashore also preserves and interprets many historic sites and structures.
The island is only accessible by boat. The Cumberland Island Visitor Center, Cumberland Island Museum, and Lang concession ferry to the island are located in the town of St. Marys, Georgia. Public access via the ferry is limited, reservations are recommended. Camping is allowed in the seashore. The 9,886-acre (40.01 km2) Cumberland Island Wilderness is part of the seashore.
Cumberland Island National Seashore Museum
The Cumberland Island National Seashore Museum is located in St. Marys, Georgia on the mainland entrance to the seashore, across from the park's visitor center. The main exhibit focuses on the island's history, including displays on the Timucua Indians, antebellum plantations, and the estates of the Carnegie family. It includes information about the lives of American Revolutionary hero General Nathaniel Greene and cotton-gin inventor Eli Whitney, the history of the ruined mansion Dungeness and the Plum Orchard estate. A secondary exhibit holds one of the finest transportation exhibits in coastal Georgia, including wagons, carriages, and elite travel equipment. The new exhibit "Forgotten Invasion" describes the occupation of Cumberland Island and Camden County during the War of 1812. The museum is staffed by volunteers and is open on weekday afternoons.
The public areas of Cumberland Island are part of a national seashore managed by the National Park Service. NPS restricts access to 300 people on the island at a time, and campers are allowed to stay no more than 7 nights. The island is only accessible by boat. The Cumberland Queen ferry runs three times a day from March 1st to September 30th. From October 1st to November 31st it only runs twice a day. From December 1st to February 28th the boat runs twice a day only on Mondays - Thursdays to Cumberland Island from the mainland (St. Marys, Georgia). Visitors cannot bring vehicles or bikes on the ferry, and there are no paved roads or trails. Bikes are available for rent at the Sea Camp Dock, on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitors may bring their own bikes to the island via private or charter boat. The eastern seashore is 17.5 miles (28.2 km) of continuous beach. There is one camping area with running water and bathrooms with cold showers; the other camping sites do not have facilities. All food, ice and supplies must be shipped from the mainland, as there are no stores on the island.
Things to see include:
- Feral horses
- First African Baptist Church. Maintained by the National Park Service, this simple one-room frame structure, with 11 handmade pews and three windows on each side, was built in 1937 to replace an earlier 1893 structure.
- Plum Orchard mansion
- Ice House Museum
- Graves of British Marines from War of 1812.
- Dungeness ruins and grounds, including segregated workers' quarters.
- The National Parks: Index 2001–2003. Washington: U.S. Department of the Interior.
- Official NPS website: Cumberland Island National Seashore
- Cumberland Island Wilderness
- World Database on Protected Areas: Cumberland Island NS