Marsh viewer and bench

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Cumberland Island National Seashore

Top choice

Georgia's largest and southernmost barrier island is an unspoiled paradise. A campers' fantasy, place for family day trips and secluded retreat for couples – it's no wonder the wealthy Carnegie family used Cumberland as a retreat (Dungeness Ruins) in the 1800s. The 36,415 acres consist of marsh, mudflats and tidal creeks. Plus, 17 miles of wide, sandy beach that you'll likely have to yourself. The interior has maritime forest, and mysterious jagged tree-lined pathways that would be at home in a Game of Thrones episode.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby attractions

1. Cumberland Island Beach

1.33 MILES

Cumberland Island's pristine, expansive and almost-empty beach runs for 17 miles. There's ample opportunity to see wildlife here. Look out for osprey,…

2. Ice House Museum

7.56 MILES

Used by the Carnegies to store ice, which was cut from frozen ponds and lakes in the winter months. The structure is now a small museum with information…

3. Dungeness Ruins

7.93 MILES

This derelict, but spectacular, mansion was built by Thomas Carnegie and his wife, Lucy, in 1884. It became the base of a vibrant social scene, a…

4. Fort Clinch State Park

11.1 MILES

Although construction commenced in 1847, rapid technological advancements rendered Fort Clinch's masonry walls obsolete by as early as 1861, when the fort…

6. St Marys Submarine Museum

11.62 MILES

Learn about St Marys 'Silent Service' through a collection of 20,000 artifacts, including vintage submarine equipment, war relics and deep-sea diving…

7. Summer Waves Water Park

12.25 MILES

Waterslides, lazy rivers, wave pools and other aquatic attractions await you and the kids at Summer Waves. Plus, a gift shop and fast-food outlets.

8. 4-H Tidelands Nature Center

12.38 MILES

Run by a staff of peppy University of Georgia science students, the Tidelands is a kid-friendly nature center with some neat display cases on local…