Cumberland Island National Seashore | GUIDED TOURS

Lands and Legacies Tours stops at The Settlement on the north end of the island

Lands and Legacies Tour group at The Settlement on Cumberland Island

There are three history-oriented guided tours offered at Cumberland Island National Seashore. The most comprehensive is the all-day Lands and Legacies Tour. This tour is conducted by vehicle, and a fee and reservation is required. It covers nearly the entire island and is the only practical way to see the northern end if you are visiting for the day. The tour begins at the Sea Camp dock right after the morning ferry arrives and progresses north to The Settlement, the northernmost point in the park open to the public. If time allows, the tour guide will take guests down to the Dungeness historic area. See the Lands and Legacies Tour web page here on National Park Planner for details.

Two other tours are run by the National Park Service and both have the disclaimer, “When Staff is Available.” The most likely of these to be held is a tour of Plum Orchard Mansion. The mansion is nearly eight miles from Sea Camp, so day trippers on foot, unless they plan to jog, won’t be able to make it to the mansion and back in time to catch the last ferry to the mainland. However, the trip is perfectly viable for those with a bike. Get off at the Sea Camp ferry dock and be sure to ask a Ranger if tours are being held before traveling to the mansion. See the Plum Orchard Mansion web page for more information.

The Footsteps Tour is a Ranger-guided tour of the Dungeness historic area that, if held, runs twice a day at 10:15 AM and 12:30 PM on the weekends during the fall and winter, with more days added starting in April (again, “when staff is available”). These times correspond with the two daily ferry arrivals (the tour begins at the dock). If you plan to get off at Dungeness specifically for the tour, ask if it is being held when you check in at the Visitor Center before your ferry departure time. The tour lasts one hour and covers one mile of ground. It is not a loop, so you must eventually walk back to Dungeness dock. I did not take this tour. In fact, the two times I got off at Dungeness I never even noticed any Rangers standing around looking like they were about to give a tour. If you plan to see the area when no guided tours are being given, be sure to check out National Park Planner’s Dungeness Area Tour, a self-guided, detailed walking tour that covers the entire historic area.

Molly’s Old South Tours also conducts walking tours of the Dungeness area. As with the Footsteeps Tour, I did not attend this tour and therefore cannot comment more on it.

There is also a Dockside program every day at 4 PM at the Sea Camp Ranger Station. This is a lecture given by a park Ranger that is held inside the building. Topics vary, and the talk lasts thirty minutes. If you find yourself waiting for the 4:45 PM ferry, be sure to stop in.

Ranger station at Sea Camp on Cumberland Island

Ranger station at Sea Camp on Cumberland Island

Special events are also held throughout the year. For a schedule, see the National Park Service’s official Calendar web page for Cumberland Island National Seashore.

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Last updated on August 19, 2022
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