St. Marys is your gateway to beautiful Cumberland Island
Wild horses, sea turtles, and pristine beaches highlight this former home of the Carnegie family. The revered island is home to Dungeness Ruins and the tiny chapel where John Kennedy, Jr. got married, First African Baptist Church. A visit to Cumberland Island is a breathtaking experience that will leave you in awe. Catch the ferry just 2 blocks from The Goodbread House. Ferry reservations are recommended due to restricted visitor limits.
If you are spending the day on Cumberland Island, we will be happy to prepare a picnic lunch to take with you. Please contact us in advance at (912) 882-7490 or inform your host that you will require lunch.
Cumberland Island Lands & Legacy Van Tour
The Lands and Legacies Tour is a motorized tour to the north end of Cumberland Island starting at the Sea Camp Ranger Station. Visitors get to see both cultural and natural landmarks, including the remains of Robert Stafford’s plantation and cemetery, Plum Orchard Mansion, Cumberland Wharf, the Settlement, and First African Baptist Church. This is a rugged five- to six-hour trip that is open only to visitors who take the 9 a.m. ferry to the island or who are campers already staying on the island. Don’t look any further for a motorized tour of Cumberland Island… this is the only one! Please know the tour does not include time at the end of the day to explore the beach on your own.
Plum Orchard Mansion
- Built in 1898, Plum Orchard is a 20,000 square foot, Georgian Revival mansion. It was built by Lucy Carnegie for her son, George and his wife, Margaret Thaw. It is almost eight miles from the Sea Camp dock to visit Plum Orchard. Access is by foot, bicycle or the Lands and Legacies Tour. Plum Orchard is open when volunteer caretakers are on site and as a stop on the Lands and Legacies Tour. The free tours are offered on the hour and last about 45 minutes. Be sure to ask at the Sea Camp Ranger Station for more information.
First African Baptist Church in the Settlement
- Located approximately 17 miles from the Sea Camp dock, visitors can explore the First African Baptist Church. During the 1890s, the Settlement was established for African American workers. The First African Baptist Church was established in 1893 and then rebuilt in the 1930s. It was the site of the September 1996 wedding of John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Carolyn Bessette.
- Between visiting historic landmarks, get a glimpse of the wilder side of the island. Under a canopy of Spanish moss, single lane roads cut through the wilderness, showing the truly rugged side of one of the largest undeveloped barrier islands on the Atlantic coast. The island has one of the largest maritime forests remaining in the United States.
Cumberland Island Hunts
- Cumberland Island hosts six hunts on the North End between October and January. During these hunts the tour will not go to the Settlement and First African Baptists Church or Plum Orchard. You can go to the Cumberland Island National Seashore website for dates and more information on the hunts.
Groups tours may be accommodated within the abilities of the tour guides. Up to two tours operate per day using multiple passenger vehicles – there is no guarantee that groups larger than 10 can be accommodated on the same tour route at the same time. All tours will see the same locations each day.
Refunds for purchased tickets will be made up to 10 days prior to the tour.
The tour will not run on Christmas Day and Tuesdays and Wednesdays between December 1 and February 28. Tours operate rain or shine but may be canceled due to extreme conditions on the island.
Reservations are strongly recommended as seating is limited. You can make reservations up to six months in advance.
Cumberland Island Walking Tour: Haunting Ruins and Wild Horses
On this Cumberland Island Walking Tour, learn the tumultuous history of this island, inhabited over the last 500 years by Native Americans, Spanish, British, and Americans, as you stroll down palmetto-lined trails past wild horses and expansive marshes.
- See the haunting ruins of the Carnegies’ Gilded-Aged mansion.
- Enter the vast servants’ quarters where over one hundred laborers catered to the Carnegies.
- Pause at the marsh-side gravesite of Revolutionary War general Light-Horse Harry Lee and learn why he was buried here far from his Virginia home.
- View the oldest building on the island, built by the family of Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Greene over 200 years ago.
Your experienced guide will tell tales of famous figures who have surprising links to the island. Ancient live oak trees, snow-white dunes, and a variety of wildlife provide an enchanting natural backdrop to this island’s deep and fascinating history.
Reservations are strongly recommended. You can make reservations up to six months in advance.