Visiting Cumberland Island

Cumberland Island - Wild Horses

Cumberland Island National Seashore, in southeast Georgia, is one of many National Park Service units that I’ve been wanting to see for a long time. And today I finally made it.

Cumberland Island - Lenny on boatYou can’t just decide to go to Cumberland on the fly. It’s an island so you need reservations on a ferry. The ferry goes out of St. Mary, a small town almost on the Georgia/Florida border.

We took the ferry and were greeted by a ranger, Ginger, who gave a tour of the southern end of the island from Dungeness Dock.

Cumberland Island - Dungeness in ruinsThe island is managed as a wilderness, though there are still 23 families that live on it. On the rest of the island are the remains of a lavish style of the Carnegies during the Guilded Age. Thomas Carnegie, younger brother of the more famous Andrew, and his wife built a “cottage”, a large home on the Southern tip of the island. The building burned in 1916 but the ruins remain.

And then there are the horses, also remains of all the inhabitants. The horses are not managed but run free and mostly graze quietly. We also saw an armadillo. I’ve never seen one except in a zoo.

So what is there to do on Cumberland? You can hike on very flat trails, rent a bike to go to the northern part of the island, beach comb, and camp.

Whatever you do, it will be very different from the mountains.


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