Cumberland Island National Seashore

Cumberland Island National Seashore is the southern most barrier island in Georgia. In fact you can see Florida from its shores.

Like Bull Island, it can only be accessed by boat (or helicopter). A 45 minute ferry ride from the nearby town of St. Marys runs 2-3 times a day.

There are basically three ways to explore it - as a day tripper, as a camper, or by staying on the island's luxurious Greyfield Inn.

There is one standard "car" camping type campground which is about a half mile from the ferry dock. (Obviously you can't park your car there, but they do have carts to help you transport your gear from the ferry to the campground.) There are also four back country sites (even though their website says there are only three.) The closest (called Stafford Beach) is 3.5 miles away and contains a bath house with a cold water shower, and drinking water. (The water must be filtered, treated or boiled before drinking.) The other three sites are 5.5 miles, 7.5 miles and 10.5 miles away.

The island is teeming with wildlife, rivaling Shenandoah National Park. Wildlife includes armadillos, egrets, wood storks, rattle snakes, water moccasins, alligators, racoons, turkeys and 150 feral horses. (Several of these made frequent visits to our campsite.)

My sons and I came across this feral pig. The vulture standing by in the distance was one of five waiting for us to leave. Other creatures we encountered along the beach included various species of crabs and sharks.

We also discovered a couple of interesting items washed up on the beach including this meteorological monitoring device.

We also found the most pristine conch shells, scallop shells and sand dollars you can imagine.

The island has had residents for over 4000 years including some of the worlds biggest movers and shakers including the Rockefellers and Carnegies. (John F. Kennedy Jr. was married on the island.)

This structure is a former mansion now in a state of disrepair.

Warning. The ticks, mosquitoes, heat and humidity can get unbearable in the summer months. The island is truly an awesome experience but be prepared with plenty of deet and iodine tablets. Also, there are no lifeguards on the beaches. This is a wilderness area. Rip tides are a real threat. Know what to look for before entering the water.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 362 miles