“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Cumberland Island, Georgia


Cumberland Island is a must-see spot if you ever get the chance (note:  you can only get here via boat but there is a ferry service from the mainland).

Cumberland Island consists of large areas of salt marshes, a dense maritime forest with gnarled live oak trees covered with Spanish moss and palmetto trees, as well as white-sandy beach which stretches over 17 miles. The island is known for their feral horses that roam freely, but we also came across an armadillo, turkeys, a raccoon, and some dolphins (when we got back to the boat). However, we still haven’ seen any alligators.




Cumberland GA ICW


Cumberland GA ICW-001


The history of the island is pretty interesting, in summary:

  • First inhabitants were indigenous peoples who settled there as early as 4,000 years ago.
  • The Spanish arrived in 1566 and set up shop.
  • Starting in1683, pirates attacked the island and settlements – the Spanish got the heck out of town. Survivors retreated to St. Augustine (Florida) to the south.
  • In 1733, English General James Oglethorpe established a hunting lodge called Dungeness.
  • In 1786, Catharine Littlefield Greene built a huge, four-story tabby* mansion on top of a Native American shell mound. She named it Dungeness, after Oglethorpe’s hunting lodge.  *Tabby is a type of building material made from lime, water, sand, oyster shells, and ash.
  • In 1790, live oak wood from the island was used to build the USS Constitution, “Old Ironsides”
  • In 1866, Dungeness burned down
  • In 1884, the Carnegie family bought land on the island and began building a castle-like mansion on the site of Dungeness, as well as pools, a golf course, extensive gardens, and smaller buildings to house the hundreds of servants.
  • 1929 marked the last event held at Dungeness: the wedding of a Carnegie daughter.
  • In 1959 fire, Dungeness burned down (again)
  • On October 23, 1972, the US Congress established Cumberland Island as a national seashore; the bill was signed by President Richard Nixon. The Carnegie family sold the island to the federal government. With donations from the Mellon Foundation, Cumberland Island became a national park.
  • Today, there is a small private Inn located at the northern part of the island, small houses are  still used for restrooms and ranger stations, and the Dungeness ruins remain.





ruins around


3 thoughts on “Cumberland Island, Georgia

  1. Putting this on the to do list. Thanks

  2. Looks like a great place … would love to see the wild horses!

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