Wild horse in the dunes. Image by Lucy Copp.
Have you ever visited a place that speaks to you as if to say: “Your happiness awaits you here?” The Cumberland Island off the coast of southern Georgia is one of those places for me. I just got back, so the island adventure is fresh in my mind. I am still pining for everything it offered.
Why is the island so special? Why should you add it to your Places to Go Immediately list? Let me explain…
Cumberland Island is a rare place that possesses the feel of a daydream. Even though it has the usual joys of island life, what the island offers is special and unusual. The beaches are rock hard, so compact that you can ride your bike in the surf with the feeling of coasting on pavement.
Beaches for days. Image by Lucy Copp.
Between the hard beaches and dense forest are dunes where wild horses graze, their tails whipping up in the wind. Enter the canopy of the inner-island, and everything is a soft and muted shade of green. Spanish moss drapes over every tree limb, reminding every branch that dares stick out too far. Armadillos do their work under the brush, and deer play without the fear of humans.
Image by Lucy Copp.
This island is preserved, but its life and character is not stifled. It is on display for anyone who wishes to see.
Adventures to be had on Cumberland Island:
To give you a sense of just how many amazing things there are to do and see on this island, below I’ve listed my top seven favorites.
1. Visit the museum.
Cumberland Island has a rich and riddled history that isn’t devoid of the tragedies of slavery and battles between tribes to control the island. Find out more at the Cumberland Island Museum.
2. Take a ride on the beach.
Ride your low-rider bike down the beach at a cruising speed, stopping to examine the ghostly remains of horseshoe crab shells.
Straw hats on a porch. Image by Lucy Copp.
3. Go to an oyster shuck!
Most Saturday nights, the Greyfield Inn (the island’s only hotel) hosts an oyster shuck and open bar where you make your own drink!
4. Take a walk.
A walk through the forest may be the most peaceful and beautiful experience you could have on this tranquil island.
The First African Baptist Church. Image by Lucy Copp.
5. Visit the First African Baptist Church.
This small, wooden structure is not striking in any traditional way, but sit in the pews for a moment by yourself and feel its warmth and embrace. John Kennedy and Carolyn Bessette were married here, too.
6. Look for sand dollars!
Lay your bike down and continue on your feet, hunting for sand dollars on the coast. They are rare, but with time and patience you’re bound to spot one.
Sand dollar collection. Image by Lucy Copp.
7. Watch the sunset.
There’s something about a rocking chair on a porch that is immediately settling. Nestle yourself into one after a full day, watching the sun set, smelling the oysters roast, and feeling as peaceful as you’ve ever felt!