Camping is a great way to experience Cumberland Island National Seashore but a bit of planning and preparation will help you have a safe and enjoyable visit. Cumberland Island is only accessible by boat. Pack your items so they can be easily loaded and unloaded from the ferry. There are five campgrounds on the island: Sea Camp, Stafford Beach, and three wilderness sites Hickory Hill, Yankee Paradise, and Brick Hill Bluff. All camping requires a reservation which can be made from the recreation.gov website up to six months in advance. Walk-up reservations are not accepted. All campers must de-board the ferry at the Sea Camp dock when arriving on the island. Sea Camp campground is located a half mile from the Sea Camp Dock. There are flush toilets, drinking water, cold showers, and a dish washing sink. Each site has a fire ring with grill, picnic table and food storage. A short boardwalk provides access to the beach. Sites are $22 a night good for up to six people. There are two group sites at the Sea Camp campground group sites can accommodate between 7 and 20 campers each and sites are $40 a night Stafford Beach campground requires a three and a half mile hike to reach. The campground has flush toilets cold water showers and water spigots but all water must be treated before drinking. Campers must hang all food and trash, and each campsite has a fire ring with a grill. A short trail provides access to the beach. Each permit is $12 a night and it's good for up to six people. Be sure to bring a refillable water bottle, map, bug spray, sunscreen, and extra clothing. If you are staying at Stafford Beach campground or one of the wilderness sites a rope to hang food and water filter are essential. Carts can be rented from the ferry when you arrive at the island or you can bring your own cart in order to transport gear to the Sea Camp campground. If you are bringing your own cart please be sure that it fits there a standard sized doorway. That will ensure that it can be loaded onto the ferry. Carts are not permitted north of the Sea Camp area. If you are traveling to Stafford Beach or any of the wilderness sites be prepared to backpack all gear to those sites. Bikes can be taken to sites at Sea Camp and Stafford Beach. Please walk your bike through the campground when you arrive for safety. Bikes are not permitted in designated wilderness. If you are planning on riding a bike and staying at Hickory Hill Yankee Paradise or Brick Hill Bluff, the bike will need to stay along the roadway. You cannot take it over to the site. You may secure the bike to a tree if you wish. If you're staying at Sea Camp or Stafford Beach campgrounds please take your backcountry permit and when you arrive at your site, clip it to the numbered post that's in front. That lets Park Rangers know that you're there and how many nights you'll be staying for. All tents must be pitched within the established and designated area of the campground. Signs will display where that is. When you're picking a location to pitch your tent be sure you're not going to damage any established vegetation and that the surface materials are not going to show a lasting mark Hammocks are welcome and many sites will accommodate them. Use non-damaging straps when hanging your hammock and be sure no vegetation is harmed. Fires are permitted in designated fire rings at Sea Camp and Stafford Beach campgrounds. Campers can collect dead and downed wood for burning or bundles of wood can be purchased from the ferry. Do not leave your fire burning unattended even if leaving for just a short period of time. Fully extinguish your fire before leaving the site. Be sure to put all food trash and scented items in food storage provided at Sea Camp, or hung from a tree branch when staying at another campground. Remember that toothpaste and sunscreen may not be food but they'll smell pretty good to a raccoon or squirrel. Quiet hours are between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Please be a good neighbor. Cumberland Island is a pack-it-in, pack-it-out location. Campers must pack out all food scraps and trash with them and dispose of it when they reach the mainland. There is a dumpster at the visitor parking lot that you can use. Do not burn trash in fire pits, and when you leave your sight you can take your camping permit with you. Cumberland Island is home to several bug species that can be a nuisance. Biting midges or no-see'ums can be severe during the comfortable spring and fall weather; mosquitoes, mites, and ticks can increase the number during the summer. Consider insect repellent an essential item when camping on Cumberland Island. When you leave the island be sure to thoroughly check for ticks underneath clothing and hiding in hair. Checkout time is 10:00 a.m. for all campgrounds. Sea Camp campers must make a reservation on the 10:15 a.m. ferry departing from the Sea Camp dock the day they are leaving. For all other campers make a reservation to depart on the 2:45 p.m. ferry when it is being offered. To make reservations to camp at Cumberland Island National Seashore please visit www.recreation.gov. For more information for camping on Cumberland Island, please visit the park service website at www.nps.gov/cuis or dial 912-882-4336 and speak with a ranger.
Information to help you plan and prepare for your camping trip to Cumberland Island National Seashore. Additional information for camping at designated wilderness sites is available at www.nps.gov/cuis.