I love a good getaway, however I sometimes find a way to easily forget that you don’t have to jet set across the sea to experience an escape.
Lucky for me, my husband is eager to remind me. As a surprise weekend trip, we drove to the coast, hopped on a ferry, and explored the views on Georgia’s largest barrier island, Cumberland Island.
Home to acres of undeveloped beaches and pristine nautical forests, Cumberland Island is a dream romantic getaway for any couple wanting a bit of adventure mixed in with beauty. In just one afternoon you’re dropped in to a perfect pocket of tree lined paths dripping with Spanish moss, stretches of beaches so pure you have to focus to find where the sky meets the sea, and a touch of history where the Dungeness Ruins still stand – and, of course, wild horses.
I think I drove my husband to the edge of craziness during the 45-minute ferry to the island as I repeatedly plotted out the plan to ensure we would see the horses. I swore up and down I would not go back to the mainland until we saw at least one. No worries though, before we even left the boat we were welcomed by six spotted ponies casually grazing along the water’s edge – completely unbothered by the overly excited tourist who acted as though she’d just spotted a unicorn #SorryNotSorry.
After a few (okay, okay, a lot) of pictures with the ponies in the background, we started the hike to the beach. Let me clarify. I use the word ‘hike’ pretty loosely. It’s really more of a brisk walk. It takes about an hour and a half to make it through the wooded area, ruins, and marshlands to reach the beaches – but it’s definitely worth it.
If you’re considering making the trip there are a few things to keep in mind:
- You can head to the island for a day or pitch a tent and stay awhile. If you’re going for a day trip like we did, be sure to pay attention to the ferry schedule so you don’t accidentally end up spending the evening on the island.
- When the park service rangers tell you there’s nothing on the island, they mean it. Make sure to come prepared with sunblock, bug spray, water, and a light jacket if it looks like the weather could change.
- Do your research. I know, I know, who wants a research project heading into a vacay? There’s so much history on the island though, from the Dungeness Ruins to the site of John F. Kennedy Jr’s wedding, you want to make sure you see what you want to see and skip what you, well, want to skip.
In a truly magical way, Cumberland Island remains untouched by time. As we pattered along the miles of unspoiled beaches there was no sign of humanity, let alone the distractions of the 21 Century – to say this trip is an escape is an understatement in its truest form.