A total of 50 miles of hiking trails meander through maritime forests, interior wetlands, historic districts, marsh ecosystems, and the beautiful beaches. Trails are accessible only by foot. The roadways allow vehicle and bicycle use.
Trails at the south end include Dungeness Trail, a ranger led or self-guided walk through the Dungeness Historic District, River Trail (a short walk from Dungeness Dock to Sea Camp), while Nightingale Trail offers another view of a maritime forest, and the South End trail is an interesting collision of ecosystems. Traveling north on the dirt shell road, Grande Avenue crosses through the heart of the island under a draping canopy of live oaks, forest floors packed with palmetto, tall stands of stately pines, open fields, tidal creeks, fresh water wetlands and lakes. This course also displays Plum Orchard Mansion, and culminates at the site of the First African Baptist Church located in the Settlement at the north end of Cumberland Island.
For a true backcountry experience, consider taking trails and staying off the main road.
Collecting sharks teeth and unoccupied seashells is allowed. Beach findings are most successful after a strong surf or storm and may include coquinas, disc clams, heart cockles, ark shells, moon snails, and an occasional sand dollar or olive shell. If time allows, scour the beach south of Dungeness Beach crossing all the way around the south end of the island. Sharks teeth often can be found in the roads because roads are conditioned with dredge fill. One can also locate them at low tide on the marsh side between the Dungeness and Sea Camp docks.