Dungeness RuinsVisit the ruins of a mansion that was once called Dungeness. First built in 1884, the Dungeness Mansion was intended as a winter home for Thomas Carnegie (younger brother and business partner of Andrew Carnegie), his wife Lucy, and their 9 children. Though Thomas passed away soon after construction, Lucy Carnegie went on to spend more and more time and resources on the island estate. Several additions and remodels were made over the next thirty years. By the time Lucy passed in 1916 the mansion had grown to approximately 35,000 square feet. The mansion caught fire in 1959 and only the brick and stone walls remain.
Though the mansion is in ruins it still remains one of the most picturesque and visited spots on the island. Visitors can walk the grounds around the house and the numerous support buildings that were part of operating the estate.
BeachCumberland Island is home to 17 miles of uninterrupted beach. No docks, houses, or other structures interrupt its serene beauty. The island boasts a healthy expanse of vegetated dunes that make it one of the most important nesting spots for loggerhead sea turtles in all of Georgia, and a sanctuary for migrating shore birds.
Swimming is very popular, but caution should be exercised. It is the open ocean and all the tides, currents, and animals that call it home exist. There are no lifeguards. There are designated crossings marked on the map providing access to the beach. These will either be trails or boardwalks. If a boardwalk exists, please use it to help protect the dunes. Crossings on the beach side are marked with a black and white striped pole along the dune line.
Plum Orchard MansionConstruction of the mansion began in 1898, as a wedding gift for George Lauder Carnegie and Margaret Thaw. The architecture firm Peabody & Stearns was employed to design the original home, as well as the additions that were made over the next two decades. The house served as the couple's primary winter residence until George's passing in 1921.
Visitors can take a free tour of the 22,000 square foot mansion. On display are the architecture, furnishings, and machinery that made operation of the house possible. Plum Orchard offers a glimpse into Edwardian High Society at the turn of the 20th century and the importance of recreation, indulgence, and rejuvenation in nature. But further exploration tells the story of a family who valued the island, and their time spent with friends and family there.
Plum Orchard is CLOSED during managed hunts on the island. Hunts are held October through January each year. Check the managed hunts page to see if this may impact your visit. Lands & Legacies tours will not be impacted by this closure.
The First African Baptist ChurchThis humble, one room church was established in 1893 by African American residents of the island and their families. Some of the founders were born into slavery and emancipated following the American Civil War. The church served as a free place of worship and community center for the Northend community known as the Settlement. The church was rebuilt in the 1930’s. It was the site of the September 1996 wedding of John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Carolyn Bessette.
Lands & Legacies Tour
Sea Camp Ranger StationSea Camp is the primary information and contact station on the island. Volunteers and Rangers are available throughout the day to provide assistance, information, recommendations and programming. The thirty minute "Dockside" ranger program is offered everyday at 4:00 pm, prior to final ferry departure.
Ice House MuseumThe original structure was built around 1900 - with a ventilated roof and walls 2 foot thick with sawdust insulation - to store large quantities of ice that were shipped to the island for the Carnegie Estate. The building was restored by the National Park Service and now serves as a small, self guided museum.
Located next to the Dungeness dock. The doors are open daily, from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm.
Facilities, Services and Activities
Last updated: May 6, 2020