Since access is limited, reservations should be secured well in advance. Boats leave each day at 9 a.m. and 11:45 a.m., with two return options during spring through summer. Come prepared for a full day of beach and hiking with food, water, sunscreen, bug spray, etc. These things are not available on the island.
Cumberland Island is maintained by the National Park Service. Access is limited per day and only available via ferry from St. Marys, Georgia.
If you visit during the summer, I would definitely recommend the 9 a.m. ferry, so you can beat the heat of the day.
We visited in spring because we are well aware of how hot summers are in the South. Spring provides mild temperatures and few thunderstorms, making it an ideal time to visit.
Many believe Cumberland Island has one of the most beautiful, undeveloped beaches on the east coast. But, while it may boast Georgia’s best beach for families, a trip to the island isn’t just a trip to the beach. For one, the Cumberland Island horses are famous. Quite a few visitors come just to see the beautiful wild horses. In addition, the island is also rich in history, architecture and natural areas. It is a must visit for any family wanting to get away from the crowds and enjoy a day of solitude in the coastal south. Begin by getting off the ferry and heading to the beach. Next, head to the Ruins of Dungeness, the former home of Thomas Carnegie and his family. Lastly, try your luck at Cumberland wild horse sighting. Perhaps you’ll get to view a playful bunch as we did.