This Secluded Island In Georgia Is Full Of Wild Horses, Ruins And Beaches

The perfect getaway adventure.
A person standing in a dirt road under the branches of a massive tree. Right: Horses standing around on sand.

A person standing in a dirt road under the branches of a massive tree. Right: Horses standing around on sand.

Don't you just want to get away sometimes but not so far away that you have to sit in the car for hours? Here in Georgia, we are lucky because there are many "staycation" options. One treasure to explore when you need a time-out from the city is Cumberland Island, a little slice of paradise right here in our state with tons of wild horses, beaches and trails to hike.

To get there, head down to St. Mary's, where you will find a ferry that will take you to this magical off-the-beaten-path island. You can only get there by boat, so you know there will be no traffic to get to your destination.

One thing you might notice as soon as you arrive on the island are the horses that roam freely. They were first brought here in the 1700s as livestock and just never left.

They are considered wild animals, so the island asks you to stay 50 feet away from them, but you can take as many photos as you want!

You can start off your vacation on a smooth and easy hike through the island, passing under many live oaks to keep you shaded during your trek.

There are more than 50 miles of walking trails but according to the official website, Dungeness Roadways, River Trail, Nightingale Trail, and the Parallel Trail to Little Greyfield Road are some of the most popular.

Some hikes take you by the Dungeness Ruins, which are the remnants of the mansion built by the Carnegie family in the late 1880s. You can walk through them and take in what used to be a massive, beautiful winter home on this secluded island.

There is also a museum on the island called the Ice House Museum. Here, you can stop to learn about the island's history.

After you explore the island a bit, you can take a dip into the 17 miles of beach it has to offer.

This is a wild island, and the beaches are no different. Make sure you take precautions while swimming, and always check for weather advisories before you hop in!

If you are not into camping, you are more than welcome to just visit the island and explore. You can pay a park entry fee of $10 that is good for one week.

If you are a fan of camping, you can pitch a tent on one of the island's many campsites. The nightly price ranges from $9 to $22 a night but make sure to check the website for availability and permits to camp.

The Visitor's Center is open daily for visitors from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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