Camp on Cumberland Island

Added by Collin Enstad

Cumberland Island offers close campsites to the ferry (Sea Camp) + 3 backcountry campsites.

Cumberland Island is surreal. Although a ferry ride is required from the mainland, it is well worth it. Hopping off of the short boat ride, you can feel that this place is something special. Live Oaks covered in Spanish Moss cover the entire island. Only a certain number of people are allowed on the National Seashore at a time so you never have to worry about overpopulated trails or campsites. The only vehicles allowed on the island are the government owned ones.

There is a trail the crosses the island to the eastern shore right at the boat landing (which is southwest), or you can continue further north up the island. To properly explore the island, a 4 nighter would be most appropriate, the island is huge!

When backpacking the island, take the ferry across Fancy Bluff Creek. Once you've made it to the landing, check in at Sea Camp, where you can be assigned other campsites around the island ranging from 5.5 to 10.5 miles from Sea Camp. The most convenient trail to the backcountry sites is the Parallel Trail.

The foliage is unreal and seeing wild horses is a magical experience. The trails are all very flat, so the miles are pretty easy. Dispersed throughout the island are ruins left over from when the Carnegie family owned the island and lived on it.

I highly recommend everyone in the US makes the trip to Cumberland at least once in their life. Make your campground reservations here.

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over 2 years ago

Wild magic; come prepared

Magic is sprinkled all over this island, it is truly an otherworldly place. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, camp at one of the backcountry sites several miles inland. You’ll be rewarded with seclusion and greetings from feral horses and armadillos. Make sure you’re ready to drink sulfurous water (a small price to pay for all the adventure and beauty you’ll get) and that you’re prepared with ample bug spray, a map and a compass - this island is much bigger than you think. And stay on marked trails to avoid running into big gators!


🥇Top Contributor

about 4 years ago

Georgia's Jewel

After spending a year in the National Parks, my bias was warped and I gave little credit to some other NPS sites that are showstoppers themselves. Cumberland Island is one of those showstoppers. Your right up made me think of my amazing time on the island. Can't wait to go back!


🥇Top Contributor

over 4 years ago

Fabulous 2 Night Backpacking Trip With Our Kids

We spent two nights backpacking on Cumberland Island with our 10, 8, and 5 year old. We dropped our packs at the Ranger Sea Camp station and day hiked two miles south round trip to the Dungeness Ruins. Afterward we grabbed our packs and hiked 3.5 miles up to Stafford Beach Camp. Stafford is one of two two campgrounds with toilets (Sea Camp is the other) - which was nice with our kids. Its also close to the beach. There is water available, but it needs to be treated. The second day we hiked up to Hickory Hill, dropped our packs and walked all the way up to Plum Orchard Mansion for the tour. The house was beautiful and the hike was great. Long day for the kids (9 miles total) but they were champs. Day 3 we hiked 5.5 miles back to Sea Camp for the 2:45pm ferry back to the mainland. The Spanish Moss draped Oak Trees contrasting with the sharp, pointed, Palmetto bushes are beautiful. We also loved the ferral horses that just roam the island.

It Was Amazing

Cumberland has so many amazing things to do, I highly recommend renting the bikes to travel around the island with. Beautiful beaches, wild horses, mansions, ruins... What else could you want?!

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