The ferry service from St. Marys, Georgia to Cumberland Island National Seashore during fall season runs 7 days a week from October 1st through November 30, 2018. It’s a 45 minute ferry ride over to the island. (Also read related article, “Cumberland Island Tourist Tips.”)
Fall Ferry Times
The ferry to Cumberland Island departs St. Marys, GA at 9 am and 11:45 am during this two month period. The return ferry for day trippers departs from Cumberland Island at 4:45 pm. (There’s also a 10:15 am ferry leaving the island, typically used by campers).
Arrive Hour Early
For those traveling from Amelia Island, FL, expect the drive to take 45 minutes to an hour (depending on traffic), north to St. Marys, GA. The Park Service and ferry concessionaire advise ferry reservation holders to arrive one hour early before departure time, to check in. According to the NPS website, “All unclaimed ferry reservations will be cancelled 30 minutes prior to departure and those spots offered to walk-ins.”
Note that since Hurricane Irma, an alternative ferry dock (pictured above, the “Gateway Dock”) is being used and requires a bit more time for parking and walking to the dock about three blocks away. Watch the National Park Service video below explaining check in process and parking instructions.
Ferry Ticket Cost
Adult ferry tickets cost $30 with tax (advance ferry reservations recommended), plus a $10 park entry fee. Bikes can be transported on ferry for $10 fee. However, space is very limited, only ten allowed per ferry trip. Otherwise, rent a bike for $16 from ferry company (first come, first serve, adult-sized bikes only). Note that rented bikes are not allowed to be ridden on the beach (only private bicycles allowed beachside).
Ferry Check In
After checking in for the ferry, those who arrive early with a little extra time can wander the waterfront park along the St. Marys river — there are plenty of places to sit, relax and enjoy the waterfront view.
Find out much more about what to expect when visiting Cumberland Island, tours and island highlights.