Cumberland Island National Seashore | CAMPING

Sea Camp Campground on Cumberland Island

Sea Camp Campground on Cumberland Island




  • Hickory Hill
  • Yankee Paradise
  • Brickhill Bluff

There are five campgrounds at Cumberland Island National Seashore, two with modern plumbing facilities and three that are completely primitive. None have electricity or water at the sites, and all require walking from the Sea Camp ferry dock (there are electrical outlets at Sea Camp for charging phones). The concessionaire that operates the ferry also rents equipment carts for those staying at Sea Camp. Guest at all other campgrounds must carry their gear. No carts or wheeled coolers are allowed north of Sea Camp.

If you have a bike, you can ride it on any of the public roads south of Plum Orchard Mansion. Beyond Plum Orchard is the Wilderness Area, and no wheeled contraptions of any type are allowed except on the main park road, Grand Avenue. This means that if you are riding a bike to one of the backcountry campsites, you must leave it at the road and walk the rest of the way. You cannot even push your bike on the trails. Bring a chain to secure it to a tree within 15 feet of the road. Bikes can be ridden to Stafford Campground but must be pushed along the trail to Sea Camp due to the number of pedestrians.

No food is available within Cumberland Island National Seashore, so be sure to bring everything you need. Water is available, but it is only drinkable out of the tap at Sea Camp and Plumb Orchard. Water must be boiled and treated at the other campgrounds. It’s not the best tasting water, so if you want to mask the taste, consider bringing some sort of drink mix to add to it. You can purchase ice when the ferry arrives at Sea Camp Dock at 10 AM and 12:30 PM, but unless you are camping at Sea Camp, you have a very long walk back to your campsite with bags of ice that may well be melted by the time you arrive. The ferry also sells canned drinks and snacks if you really plan poorly and run out of food.

All campers must arrive on Cumberland Island at Sea Camp, the second ferry stop. After departing the ferry, be sure to check in at the Sea Camp Ranger Station.

Camper check-in at Sea Camp, Cumberland Island National Seashore

Camper check-in at Sea Camp, Cumberland Island National Seashore

The closest campground to the dock, Sea Camp Campground, is a half mile away at the end of the most beautiful trail in the park. It has a bathhouse with modern plumbing, cold showers, and drinking water. The beach is located about a quarter mile away.

Trail to Sea Camp Campground on Cumberland Island

Trail to Sea Camp Campground on Cumberland Island

The next closest campground is 3.5 miles away, Stafford Beach Campground. It has plumbing with cold showers as well, but no drinkable water (there is a water source, but it must be boiled and treated). Like Sea Camp, it is just a short walk to the beach.

After Stafford Beach Campground there are three completely primitive campgrounds ranging from 5.5 to 10.5 miles from the dock. There are no facilities, not even portable toilets. All are less than a mile from Grand Avenue. None are close to the beach. These are closed on weekends when hunting is allowed, October through January.

Reservations for all campgrounds can be made up to six months in advance and are now required. Book your campsite online at Keep in mind that unless you have your own boat, you must travel by ferry, and the campsite and ferry bookings are done at different websites. This sets up what is known as a Catch-22 situation—you can’t book a site until you have a ferry ticket, and you don’t want a ferry ticket unless you have a campsite. This usually isn’t a problem, but at busy times such as Spring Break, if only a few ferry tickets remain, it is possible that by the time you book your campsite they may be gone, and vice versa. For the current camping fees, visit Cumberland Island National Seashore’s Camping web page.

After making a reservation you must print your camp permit. Bring this with you and clip it to the post at the campsite (clips are on the post).

Those camping at Sea Camp must return on the 10:15 AM ferry on the day of departure. All other must return on the 2:45 PM ferry.

Camping fees do not include park entrance fees, so everyone must check in at the Visitor Center to pay the fee. Arrive at least an hour before your departure time to minimize standing in line, for the closer to departure, the longer the line.

Sea Camp is the first campground to fill up, and during the peak camping season (March-June) you have very little chance of getting a site if you try to make a reservation only a few weeks in advance, especially on weekends. If you aren’t interested in walking to Stafford or the wilderness sites, try Crooked River State Park on the mainland. The park has a very nice campground. I stayed there during a Spring Break visit with my family after not getting a spot a Sea Camp and not wanting to haul equipment to Stafford with a young child in tow. Two weeks prior to Spring Break half the sites were available, though by the time of my visit the campground was nearly full. Of course if you stay on the mainland, you are relegated to day trips and won’t be able to explore the island fully.

Back to the Top

With a few exceptions, use of any photograph on the National Park Planner website requires a paid Royalty Free Editorial Use License or Commercial Use License. See the Photo Usage page for details.
Last updated on April 11, 2022
Share this article