National Park: Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia

by Cie McCullough Buschle on April 22, 2012. Updated May 9, 2012

in Outdoors with Kids, Travel Ideas

Wild horses and historic houses on the largest of Georgia’s barrier islands, Cumberland.

Dungeness Mansion, Cumberland Island, Georgia, prior to 1959 fire.

Dungeness Mansion, prior to 1959 fire.

Humans have lived on and used Cumberland Island for nearly 4000 years, starting with the Timucua Indians. It has held cotton plantations owned by the likes of Eli Whitney and American Revolutionary hero General Nathaniel Greene. The island has also been home to several great estates called Dungeness, the most recent of which, built by the Carnegie family on the foundation of Nathaniel Greene’s house, is now in ruins from a fire in 1959.

Another Carnegie house is Plum Orchard, which can be toured when a caretaker is around. Also on the island is the First African Baptist Church, famous as being the site of the 1996 wedding of John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Carolyn Bessette. You can tour all these if you take the Lands and Legacies tour, one of four tours offered by the Park Rangers. During the Summer an additional tour, Just for Kids, is also offered.

Cumberland is just over 36 thousand acres, and almost 19,000 are considered federal lands. Only 300 visitors a day are allowed on Cumberland Island. Catch the ferry at St. Marys, Georgia, but don’t miss the Cumberland Island National Seashore Museum. You can camp on the undeveloped beaches, but beware of alligators. There is a lot of water around – salt marshes, freshwater lakes and ocean – and alligators live in it all.

Cumberland Island is home to many wild (feral) horses.

Cumberland Island is home to many wild (feral) horses.

| Cie McCullough Buschle lives with her dog Einstein and a cat named Burton Guster Took. She enjoys researching history through holidays, toys, and everyday objects. Cie is a sculptor and clay hand builder and spends her time traveling back in time to the Middle Ages as part of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

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