• Sea Oat hold windswept dunes along Cumberland Island

    Cumberland Island

    National Seashore Georgia

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Frequently Asked Questions

Reservations Sea Camp Camping Backcountry/Wilderness Camping Ranger Programs General Wildlife Private Boaters

Reservations

Q: When can I make reservations? Are they mandatory?
A: Reservations are recommended for ferry trips, the Lands and Legacies van tour, and all island camping. These reservations can be made six months in advance. All campers must have permits which can be obtained during camping orientation at the Sea Camp Ranger Station.

Q: How do I make a ferry reservation?
A: Ferry reservations can be made up to six months in advance by calling (912) 882-4335 or toll free (877) 860-6787. If the line is busy you can also complete the fax form and fax it to the reservation office at (912)-673-7747.

Q: I'm trying to find availability for camping and ferry reservations for an upcoming date. What is the best way to do this?
A: Contact the Cumberland Queen Reservation Office at 912 882-4335 or toll free 877 860 6787.

Q: How do I know I have a reservation?
A: If you faxed a reservation request, you will receive confirmation by fax. If you made your reservation by phone, you will receive an invoice for payment by mail.

Q: What are the Cumberland Queen's reservation office hours of operation?
A: Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Q: I have camping reservations for "backcountry," but I am interested in a specific campground. Can I choose my location?
A: Maybe. Camping assignments are made during camping orientation at the Sea Camp Ranger Station. Assignments are based on the order in which your reservation was taken and availability.

Sea Camp Camping

Q: How many sites does Sea Camp have?
A: The Sea Camp campground has 16 individual sites and 2 group sites, and they can be reserved up to 6 months in advance. The site assignments are made upon arrival to the island. The campground is considered filled if all sites are taken or if the total number of campers reaches 60.

Q: How many nights can I camp?
A: Camping is limited to 7 consecutive nights.

Q: Is there a limit to the amount of gear I can bring to the island?
A: While the NPS does not place a size limit on the loads brought to the island, visitors are reminded that they must carry everything off the island including trash. The NPS does not provide storage for excess personal gear.


Q: How can I get my gear from the ferry to the campground?
A: The NPS provides small carts for Sea Camp campers to carry gear to the site. No firewood or children should be transported in the carts. Carts should be returned to the dock within 1 hour. Visitors should try to be reasonable with the amount of gear brought to the island.

Q: Are there quiet hours?
A: Quiet hours in the campgrounds are from 10:00 p.m. - 6:00 a.m.

Q: What is check out time and the departing procedures?
A: On the day of departure, sites must be vacated by 10:00 a.m. regardless of scheduled ferry departure time. Gear may be left on the Sea Camp porch until the departing ferry is ready to load. Ferry loading will begin at 10:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (2:30 p.m. Mar 1 - Sept 30) prior to day visitor loading.

Q: What facilities are in the Sea Camp Campground?
A: Facilities include cold water showers, restrooms and treated drinking water. Each site is equipped with a picnic table, fire ring/grill and food cache box. All campsites are shaded and are just a short walk to the beach.

Q: How many people can I have in a site?
A: Individual campsites are designed to accommodate up to 10 people and 3 tents. Group sites are designed to accommodate from 11 - 20 people and 6 tents. There is no guarantee of group site until check-in on the island.

Q: I am camping, do I have to check in?
A: Yes, upon arrival to the island all campers must check in with the Sea Camp ranger for orientation. Site assignments are made at this time.

Q: Where do I get my campsite assignment?
A: You will be assigned a campsite during check-in on the island. Permits should be filled out and signed by both the visitor and Sea Camp personnel.

Q: Do I notify anyone if I want to change my campsite or ferry departure time?
A: Yes, if you wish to make a change contact the Sea Camp Ranger to confirm availability.

Q: What if my camping will includes both Sea Camp and backcountry or Wilderness campgrounds?
A: Campers visiting backcountry and Sea Camp should have the backcountry sites assigned at Sea Camp check-in. If campers are returning to Sea Camp after visiting the backcountry, the Sea Camp site will be assigned upon arrival. If campers arrive prior to 3:30pm, they should check in with the ranger. If arrival is after 3:30pm, an empty site can be chosen and permit attached appropriately. If staying more than one night at Sea Camp at this point, they must inform the ranger of the site number the next morning.

Q: Where do I do place my permit?
A: Upon arrival to the site, campers should place permit on screw eye of campsite post.

Q: Can I pitch my tent anywhere?
A: Tents are to be set up in cleared spaces only, not on top of other vegetation. New areas should not be cleared.

Q: Can I have a fire at my campsite?
A: Fires are permitted in fire rings only. Down and dead wood only may be gathered. Only wood that fits inside the fire ring should be burned. Never leave a campfire unattended. Extinguish the fire completely when leaving your site or going to sleep. Wood can also be purchased from concessionaire on an irregular basis.

Q: Should I take any precautions storing my food and trash?
A: Food cache boxes are available at each site. Anything with a scent should be placed in the box if possible. Coolers should be tied shut and tied to the picnic table to prevent raccoon forays. Trash should be hung on metal poles as high as possible (at least 8' from ground and trees) A trash can is available at the water fountain kiosk for perishable food scraps only to deter raccoons. All other trash must be carried off.

Q: Is the water potable?
A: Water is treated and potable from all faucets and sinks in the Sea Camp area southward to the Dungeness area. Cold showers are also available in Sea Camp. Outside sinks at the shower house are for dishes only. Inside sinks are for personal hygiene only. Outside showers and faucets can be used for cleaning fish and rinsing shells.

Backcountry/Wilderness Camping

Q: How far is each back country site from Sea Camp?
A: Stafford is located 3.5 miles from the Sea Camp dock. It is the only back country site not located in the Wilderness. Hickory Hill is 5.5 miles, Yankee Paradise is 7.5 miles and Brickhill Bluff is 10.6 miles from the dock. No transportation is available and no wheeled conveyances are allowed in the Wilderness. Bikes are not permitted on trails and therefore should not be at Wilderness sites.

Q:Can you describe the backcountry sites to me?
A:Stafford - 3.5 miles from dock- behind dunes, under good tree cover, long site, water source in site. Bathrooms and showers are available.

Hickory Hill - 5.5 miles from dock - on slight rise, usually have to pass muddy trail on way to site, canopy more open than other sites, 1 mile from beach, sulfur well (1 mile hike to source). Filtering and boiling the water removes most of sulfur odor and taste.

Yankee Paradise - 7.5 miles from dock - in forest, surrounded by palmettos so protected from wind, shared sulfur water source with Hickory Hill (1.3 mile hike to source)

Brickhill Bluff - 10.6 miles from dock- west side of island so on marsh, may be buggy but great sunsets, water source in site, accessible to Brickhill River, good tree coverage

Q: Where do I do place my backcountry camping permit?
A: Permits should be attached to a pack while hiking and to a tent in a prominent location once camp is set up.

Q: Can I build a fire in the backcountry?
A: No-open ground fires are prohibited everywhere in the backcountry. Self-contained stoves are allowed.

Q: Should I take any precautions with my food?
A: Food should be suspended out of reach of raccoons (about 8' from ground and trees). Rope must be removed when leaving site.

Q: Is the water potable in the backcountry?
A: Water is untreated in backcountry, even from pumps and faucets. Boiling, adding iodine or filtering are acceptable methods of treating water. Treated water is available from the faucet located at the right side of the Plum Orchard mansion.

Q: Are there restrooms in the backcountry?
A: No restrooms are available in the back country. Latrines should be dug about 6" deep and at least 50 yards from campground and all water sources. Bury all human waste products. Pack out toilet paper. Dishes should also be cleaned at least 50 yards from campground and water sources to prevent contamination.

Ranger Programs

Q: What programs or tours are available?
A: The "Dungeness Footsteps Tour" begins at the Dungeness Dock at 10:00am and 12:45pm. The tour is designed to travel through the historic district on the southern end of the island as the Ranger talks about the island's natural and cultural resources. It lasts about one hour and travels one mile; there are frequent stops and limited places to sit. The "Dockside" program occurs daily at Sea Camp and begins at 4:00pm. The topic is seasonal and based on the Ranger's preference.
With advance reservations, visitors can also participate in the Lands and Legacies tour. This tour leaves from the Sea Camp Ranger Station at 10:00 a.m. and lasts about five to six hours. The tour travels the length of the island via motorized vehicle and is a very arduous journey with limited stops. There is an additional charge for this tour.

Q: How can I see Plum Orchard Mansion?
A: Visitors can walk or ride bikes 7.5 miles from Sea Camp to Plum Orchard. If available, volunteers staff the mansion daily for tours. The Lands and Legacies Tour also stops at Plum Orchard daily.

Q: How do I get to the historic First African Baptist Church?
A: Currently, there are three ways to get to the Church. You have to walk, ride a bicycle, or take the Lands and Legacies tour to the north end of the island to view the Church and Settlement. No matter which way you choose to get to the Church, the trip is arduous and is 17 miles one way.

Q: Is there a program for children?
A: The Jr. Ranger program is available to children between the ages of 4 and 12. Booklets are available at the mainland visitor center and on the island at Sea Camp Ranger Station or from any Park Ranger. During the summer a "just for kids program is offered at the Sea Camp Ranger Station at 2:00 p.m.

General

Q: Can I buy ice on the island?
A: Ice is available on the ferry while underway to and from the island as well as for 15 minutes after arrival and 15 minutes prior to departure.

Q: Are there any trash receptacles on the island?
A: No. Visitors are responsible for removing everything they bring with them.

Q: What do the "No Trespassing", "Do Not Enter" and "Private Property" signs mean?
A: The private property on the island must be respected. Honor all signs and use only marked beach crossings. Greyfield Inn is posted as private and does not welcome non-guests wandering through the property.

Q: Where can I cross the dunes to the beach?
A: Dune crossings are marked by black and white striped poles. Dune crossings without these markers are private property. Dunes are fragile ecosystems and may have nesting shorebirds, turtles or other wildlife in them. Use designated crossings and boardwalks, if present. Never walk on the dunes!

Q: How long is the ferry trip?
A: Ferry ride is about 45 minutes.

Q: Are there trails on the island?
A: Trails are available for visitor foot traffic. Private and Park vehicles use the road including beach crossings so visitors are encouraged to use the trails.

Q: Where can I ride my rented bike?
A: Bicycles are only permitted on the main road from Dungeness to the north end. Private bikes may also be taken on the beach. No bikes may be ridden on the walking trails and in the areas listed as Wilderness which includes Parallel Trail. Bikes may cross to the beach at the following marked crossings: Dungeness, Sea Camp, Stafford and North Cut Road. For safety reasons, bikes must be walked on ramps to the docks, on all boardwalks and in all campgrounds. Private boaters may also bring bikes. Charters through Lang Seafood can be arranged for the transportation of bikes to and from the island.


Q: Can I see the lighthouse?
A: Yes, it can be viewed from the south end of Jekyll Island with binoculars or from a boat. It is not accessible from Cumberland Island and is closed to the public. It sits on Little Cumberland Island and is on private property.

Q: What if it rains?
A: Life goes on. All activities still occur unless there is lightning present. Shelter is limited to the restroom and visitor center areas.

Wildlife

Q: Where is my best chance to see wildlife?
A: Most wildlife is seen around the Dungeness area between the dock and the ruins.

Q: What are the best birding locations?
A: There is good birding along Grand Avenue, around the Dungeness gardens, on the River trail, south end of island near jetties (2 ½ mile hike one way) and between the Sea Camp dock and the beach area.

Q: What souvenirs can I collect on the island?
A: Unoccupied shells may be collected (limit 2 gallons), shark teeth, dead sea stars, sea urchins and sand dollars are also allowed. Feathers, bones, plant materials and artifacts must be left where they are found.

Q: When is bird nesting season?
A: Nesting season for shorebirds and turtles is from March - October. Walking below the high tide line results in little disturbance for nesters. However, to prevent other disturbances, only lights covered by a red filter may be used on the beach.

Q: What insects should I know about?
A: Insects are common on the island. No pesticides such as bug bombing devices are permitted. Personal insect repellent is recommended for biting insects such as mosquitoes, sand gnats and ticks. Frequent tick checks should be made as reports of lyme disease have been reported on the island. If an imbedded tick is removed within 24 hours, the chance of getting a transmission of the disease is lessened. A doctor's visit is recommended if flu-like symptoms develop within three weeks of a tick bite.

Q: When is the best time to avoid gnats and mosquitoes?
A: The number of gnats and mosquitoes is dependent on the weather. The warmer and wetter the weather, the more the bugs are present.

Q: Are the animals on the island tame?
A: Wildlife abounds on Cumberland and should be treated as wild animals. Keep a good safe distance from all wildlife including horses. No harassment is allowed. You cannot feed, water, prod and touch any animals. Venomous snakes are also present on the island including diamondback rattlesnakes, timber rattlesnakes and cottonmouth. Alligators are also present and must be avoided. Any sick or injured animals should be reported to a ranger as soon as possible.

Q: Are there horses on the island?
A: Yes. The horses are feral horses and should be treated as wild animals. The horse population is not managed at this point. They are on their own like any other wild animal.

Q: Where can I see the horses?
A: Horses can often be seen around the Dungeness ruins area.

Q: Are there managed hunts on Cumberland Island?
A: Yes, they occur in the fall and winter. Please follow DNR regulations as to the weapon type. Hunts take place in the Wilderness area that is closed to the general public during this time. For further information on the hunts call 912-882-4336 extension 254.

Private Boaters

Q: Where can I dock my private boat?
A: Docking is available to private boaters during daylight hours on the north end of the Sea Camp and Dungeness docks.

Q: Can I reserve a boat dock?
A: No, docking is on a first come-first serve basis.

Q: Is there a size limit?
A: Any boat over 35' is encouraged to anchor off and dinghy in to allow space for other boaters.

Q: Can we raft boats together?
A: Yes, but no more than two boats may raft together at the dock.

Q: Can I beach my boat?
A: Yes, boats can also be beached.

Q: Is there a fee for docking?
A: No, but there is a $4.00 entrance fee. It is good for seven days and can be paid in cash at any park service dock.

Q: Can I dock over night?
A: No, boats must be anchored offshore (with proper navigational lighting) or beached overnight.

Q: Can I use my own boat to camp overnight?
A: Yes, private boaters who are also camping must check in at the mainland Visitor Center no later than 3:30pm on the departure date. Fees can be paid in cash on the island or on the mainland prior to leaving St Marys.

Q: I am kayaking, can I check in early?
A: Kayakers camping in the back country may check in on the mainland up to three days prior to departure date on the mainland, pay fees and receive their orientation and permits. The reservation office will confirm with Sea Camp personnel the availability of campsites.


Did You Know?

Osprey perched on the east coast of the island.

Cumberland Island provides important habitat for a number of important species including shore birds such as American Oystercatchers, Least Terns, and Wilson’s Plovers. The island is an important stopover point for migrating birds on the transatlantic migratory flyway.