By the Numbers: Cumberland Island National Seashore

Cumberland Island ferry, May 2005. Photo by carterjk via Flickr.

Accessible only by boat, Georgia's Cumberland Island National Seashore features undeveloped beaches, maritime forests, huge marshes, historic structures, abundant wildlife, and more. Here are some numbers that tell the story.

77,588

Recreational visitors in 2009 (down 6% from 2008).

36,415

Acreage of Cumberland Island National Seashore. Nearly half of the park (16,942 acres) is nonfederal acreage, and nearly a third (10,262 acres) is submerged.

8,840

Federally protected wilderness acreage (designated September 8, 1982). Cumberland Island, most of which consists of nearly pristine maritime forests, undeveloped beaches, and big tidal marshes, has one of the largest wilderness areas of any national seashore on the Atlantic Coast.

$495 to $595

Nightly rate for two-night minimum stay (three nights for holiday weekends) at the Greyfield Inn, the island's only hotel. This is a package rate that includes ferry transportation, meals, tours, and unlimited use of bicycles and beach/fishing/sports equipment.

335+

Bird species identified at Cumberland Island. The island offers a diverse assortment of habitats for resident, transient, and migratory birds, some of which -- including piping plovers, least terns, and wood storks -- are federally listed threatened and endangered species.

125

Archers eligible to participate (first come, first served) in last year's 3-day hog & deer archery hunt at Cumberland Island. Five other public hunts for hogs and deer are offered each year at the seashore, including two primitive weapon (100 hunters each), two modern weapon (100 hunters each), and one adult/child (50 pairs).

87

Structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Nearly all were built by plantation owners or by the Carnegies and other wealthy residents who used the island as a family retreat.

60°F

Average winter temperature. Cumberland Island's humid subtropical climate and maritime location help to keep temperatures from straying too far from reasonably comfortable. Humidity is characteristically high, making sea breezes especially welcome on hot summer afternoons.

50

Miles of hiking trails along the beautiful beaches or meandering through maritime forests, interior wetlands, historic districts, and marsh ecosystems.

17.5

Miles of clean, sandy, undeveloped beaches on the ocean-facing (eastern) side of the island. The sand is typically hard-packed and amenable to walking and bicycling.

10.5

Miles from Sea Camp Beach to Brickhill Bluff, a favorite place for viewing dolphins and manatees.

6

Months in advance that people may make reservations for the St. Marys-based passenger ferry that shuttles visitors about 6.5 miles to the island. Reservations are strongly recommended. In the event that reservations are unavailable, visitors arriving at the mainland Visitor Center can take their chances with the stand-by list. Private charters are also available by reservation.

2

Gallons of unoccupied seashells that a person may collect during a visit to this seashore. Visitors may also collect shark teeth, dead sea stars, sea urchins and sand dollars. The collecting of feathers, bones, and artifacts is banned.

1.5 miles

Approximate width of the 17.5-mile long island at its narrowest point. Nowhere is this elongated coastal barrier more than three miles wide.

1

Frontcountry campground on the island. The tents-only campground at Sea Camp Beach has 16 individual sites (reservations accepted up to six months in advance) and is considered full when the total number of campers reaches 60.

0

Places where food, beverages, and ice can be purchased on the island. Visitors must not only bring their own comestibles and other consumables, but also carry out all trash.

Comments

What are the non-package rates? If the only rates for the only lodging are the package rates, I can see why Cumberland Island National Seashore receives such a comparatively small number of visitors. At the rates cited, I wouldn’t even think of going there unless I were camping.

Traveler isn't connected with the Greyfield Inn, Cornell. I suggest that you contact the inn directly for an answer to your question.

Cornell, its also possible to make day-trips to the island. I understand that prices will be more expensive whenever you have to ferry in all the supplies by boat, but it does seem like this is another example in the trend of National Park Lodges just tending to be very pricey in general.

Does the national park service have any cabins on the island?

There are no cabins available for rent on Cumberland Island. Lodging is available only at the Greyfield Inn, and it is expensive.