You Can Camp On A Hidden Island In Georgia With Wild Horses & An Abandoned Mansion For $19

The island has more than 50 miles of hiking trails!

Georgia Contributing Writer
The Dungeness Ruins at sunset. Right: Wild horses on the beach at Cumberland Island.

The Dungeness Ruins at sunset. Right: Wild horses on the beach at Cumberland Island.

Cumberland Island is one of the best hidden gems in the state of Georgia. This rugged National Seashore hosts undisrupted beaches and historical ruins waiting to be explored.

Right outside of St. Mary's, GA nestled off the coast of the Golden Isles, is Cumberland, Georgia's largest barrier island.

Here you can camp in the protected maritime forest, or take a walk on the miles of undeveloped shore.

You must make a reservation online for a permit to camp on Cumberland, but once you arrive by boat or ferry it's only $10 to stay up to a week.

If you have a national parks annual pass however, you can obtain a permit free of additional charge.

You can settle in at one of the island's campsites, for a peaceful stay. The location has more than 50 miles of hiking trails for a secluded time in the state's natural beauty.

Wild horses roam around the island, grazing in the forest and running across the sand. They're often seen wandering around the Dungeness Ruins, a historic mansion from the 1700s that was completely abandoned after it burned down in the 1950s.

You can take a self-guided tour around what remains of the crumbling structure, or take a tour guided by a park ranger to learn about the mansion's past.

It is important to prepare in advance for your stay and bring all your food for the week. The island is undeveloped meaning there are no restaurants and available resources are limited.

Camping in the wilderness costs just $9 a night. But there are also a total of five campsites with various amenities like showers, restrooms, fire pits, grills, and food storage lockers for $12+.

Drinkable water can be found at Sea Camp and Stafford Beach and can be treated at the wilderness campgrounds to ensure it's safe for consumption.

During your time camping on the island, you can pass time kayaking, hiking, fishing, beachcombing, or stargazing.

If you don't have your own boat, you can ride the ferry from St. Mary's to the island for $17.

Camping On Cumberland Island

​Price: $10

Where: Camden County, Georgia

When: Year-Round

Why You Need To Go: This island is completely undisturbed which makes it a tranquil escape from modern life, with whimsical surroundings.


Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

Maeve Browne
Georgia Contributing Writer
Maeve Browne is a Contributing Writer for Narcity’s USA Desk focused on food and Internet trends and is based in Savannah, Georgia.