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Georgia's Colonial Coast Birding Trail

Cumberland Island National Seashore

Description: Cumberland Island National Seashore is a beautiful, largely undeveloped 36,000-acre barrier island. Access is by ferry or private boat. Extensive salt marshes border the island to the west, and 16 miles of pristine, white-sand beaches border Cumberland on the east. The island hosts an amazing variety of wildlife and plant communities. A total of 322 species of birds have been seen on the island.

Types of Birds: Songbirds, shorebirds, wading birds, waterfowl, gull-like birds

Best Birding Seasons: Songbirds (spring and fall), shorebirds (all), wading birds (all), waterfowl (winter), gull-like birds (all)

Specialties: Peregrine falcon, painted bunting, red knot, black skimmer, warblers

Tips: Look for peregrine falcons during fall migration. Painted buntings are common in summer. Shorebirds are best seen in summer, winter and spring. Warblers can be seen during fall and spring migrations. Piping plovers may be spotted on the beach in winter. Bring along food, beverages, sunscreen, rain gear and other necessities because the island has no stores. Private boaters may dock at Sea Camp or Plum Orchard. Overnight boaters must anchor offshore.

Fee: Day-use Fee: $4 per person for 7 days; Sea Camp Campground: $4 per person per day; Back Country Camping: $2 per person per day; annual Day-use Pass: $20 per person

Ferry Information: $17 per adult, $15 per senior citizens (65 and older) and $12 for children (12 years and younger). The ferry runs seven days a week from March through September. From October through February, the ferry operates five days a week, but there is no ferry service Tuesdays and Wednesdays October-February.

Hours: The National Seashore is open 24 hours a day. However, access is determined by the ferry schedule. When making reservations, confirm the ferry's departure and arrival times.

Reservations: Reservations are strongly recommended and may be made six months in advance for the ferry and camping. Reservations can be made by phone Monday - Friday (10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.).

Telephone Number: For information: (912) 882-4336.

Fun Things To Do: Visit the variety of historic structures and ruins including Plum Orchard Mansion and the ruins of Dungeness Mansion. Tour the Ice House History Museum and nature trails in the Dungeness area. There is walk-in camping at Sea Camp and four back-country sites.

Directions: Take Exit 3 onto SR 40. Travel east on SR 40 10 miles to St. Marys. The Visitor's Center is at the end of the road on the waterfront. See the map.