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Horses on beach at Cumberland National Seashore
Horses on Beach at Cumberland National Seashore

Cumberland National Seashore

National Park Service Ferry to Cumberland National Seashore
Ferry to Cumberland National Seashore

Cumberland National Seashore is located on Cumberland Island, one of the few undeveloped barrier islands in Georgia. The only way to get to the island is by boat-either private or National Park Service ferry. The ferry leaves from the Saint Mary, Georgia waterfront. The ferry can get crowed, so it is best to make advance reservations. We visited the seashore in March 2013 and the ferry was not full but there was a good crowd.

When you get off the ferry, you have walkways in the shade of moss covered trees. Even in March the shade was welcome. It should be noted that you need to take everything you need to the island. There is water in a few places but no food.

Tree covered walkway on Cumberland Island
Walkway on Cumberland Island

Because the ferry takes you to the southern end of the island, our time was spent exploring the ruins and buildings left behind by the Carnegie family and the undeveloped beach. The Carnegies built here starting in the late 1800s. The compound of ruins and still standing buildings are a testament to the wealth that the Carnegies had accumulated.

Ruins of  Dungeness
Ruins of mansion
Ruins of Dungeness
Another view of ruins

As we wondered around we came across a collection of junk cars. These were cars that were really something in their day. You only see examples of them at car shows and museums now.

Junked cars at Cumberland National Seashore
Old cars

Feral horses are one of the features of the island. Some claim that the horses, like horses on other barrier islands, are descended from Spanish stock. The ranger told us that the horses are descended from horses left behind when private land owners left the island.

Horse and colt
Mare and colt
Horse on Cumberland Island
Beach at Cumberland National Seashore
Cumberland National Seashore Beach
Horses on beach at Cumberland Island
Share the beach

After we had explored the buildings and ruins we headed for the beach. The beach is a long expanse of undeveloped white sand. It is one of the nicest beaches we've seen on the east coast. The beach was relatively uncrowded but it has to be shared with the horses.

We caught the last ferry off the island and returned to Saint Mary's for dinner.

View of St. Mary's Waterfront from ferry
St. Mary's waterfront from Ferry

Visit Cumberland Island or Cumberland National Seashore websites for information about Cumberland Island.