Growing up in a small, coastal Georgia town, there wasn’t much. People, businesses and ideas came and went and not much stuck to St. Marys, Georgia. However, the ferry to get to Cumberland Island National Seashore is a main attraction for my hometown and I am so glad that it is.
If you have never ventured to Cumberland Island, pack a few things and go on a warm spring day (or in the midst of summer if you’re like me and admire 80+ degree weather). A 30 minute ferry ride along the St. Marys River is nothing short of an adventure in itself. The marsh seems to go on for miles and dolphins are commonly spotted. Upon arrival, it doesn’t seem like much but a few oak trees. There are no cars other than the ranger’s vehicles, but bikes are a popular mode of transportation (other than your own 2 feet, of course) used to peruse the paths around the island. There are ancient ruins, old cars and even wild horses.
The wild horses of Cumberland regularly stick out to tourists. Their beauty sincerely adds to the island, even though there has been controversy over their inhabitance in the recent months. Of course these wild horses didn’t swim to the island; they were brought over and later released by their owners a very long time ago. Since then, they have bred among themselves and have therefore become inbred. Many of them do not have good health in any aspect. Another issue is that they have been competing with native species; they are then forced to consume the marshland grasses that are vital to the island. This destructive factor has brought up question of their removal- but there are over 160 inhabiting various parts of the nearly 18 mile long barrier island.
Aside from the horses, Cumberland Island has a rich history, countless things to explore and a beach to relax on at the end of the day. My family and I have spent a large number of days on the sand grains of the island. A 20 minute jet-ski ride is all that separates us from this national seashore. Our days encompass hunting for shark’s teeth at low tide, searching for blue crabs around the Jetties, and competing against each other in some sort of game we make up in the moment.
These days are just a small reason as to why I love my coastal hometown so much.