Explore the gorgeous coastal scenery, historic sites, shops and restaurants in St. Marys, Georgia, gateway to Cumberland Island.
Settled in the 16th century as a part of Spanish Florida, St. Marys became a part of Georgia in 1763. It's the gateway to Cumberland Island National Seashore and home to the island's visitors center and museum, as well as the ferry port. In the town of St. Marys, you can visit the St. Marys Submarine Museum and enjoy water sports, cycling, shopping and dining.
Things to Do
Cumberland Island Ferry
Hop on the Cumberland Island Ferry to see the Cumberland Island National Seashore. It operates five days per week in the winter and daily from March to November. Reservations are recommended, and fares do not include park entry.
Cumberland Island National Seashore Museum
The Cumberland Island National Seashore Museum features artifacts from the island from the Native American settlement to the slave trade to the arrival of the Carnegie family. An exhibit room focuses on the War of 1812 and its impact on Cumberland Island.
St. Marys History Walk
Soak up the town's past on the St. Marys History Walk, a trail with interpretive signs outlining the history of St. Marys and Cumberland Island. It starts with the Timucua Indians and the founding of the shipbuilding industry. Pick up a brochure from the visitors center.
St. Marys Aquatic Center
The seven-acre St. Marys Aquatic Center is one of the best swimming facilities in southeast Georgia. It has a lazy river, children's play area and lap pool with a slide. There are concessions, a gift shop, lockers and a restroom. It's open seasonally starting in May.
Colonial Coast Birding Trail
Scout for more than 300 species of birds at the Colonial Coast Birding Trail, which has 18 sites in locations in St. Marys and Cumberland Island. There are multiple bird habitats, including tidal rivers, freshwater wetlands and salt marshes.
St. Marys Submarine Museum
Learn about the history of submarines and underwater exploration at the St. Marys Submarine Museum, which covers the history of the Submarine Force. There are exhibits featuring models of torpedoes and a working periscope, as well as a deep sea diving suit.
St. Marys Express Train Rides
All aboard the St. Marys Express Train Rides, which allows guests to relive history with a locomotive turnaround and entertainment along the way. The themed rides include Easter and Halloween rides along with circus themed rides.
Crooked River State Park
Located on the southern tip of Georgia's Colonial Coast, Crooked River State Park has views of the intracoastal waterway and maritime forest. Visitors can stay at campsites under the oaks or put in their boats for fishing.
St. Marys Waterfront Park
In the 1800s, what is now St. Marys Waterfront Park was the site of the colony's shipbuilding and trading hub. Today, it is a community space with a riverfront walkway, public boat launch, dock and playground.
Rest your head at one of St. Marys accommodations.
Spencer House Inn Bed & Breakfast
The Spencer House Inn Bed & Breakfast, built in 1872, is one historic inn in St. Marys. Only one block from the ferry, each of the 14 guest rooms have stylish furnishings, private baths, free WiFi and flat-screen televisions. Full breakfast is served daily.
Goodbread House Bed & Breakfast Inn
Goodbread House Bed & Breakfast Inn is an 1870 home turned inn that is a great place to stay before leaving for Cumberland Island. It was restored in the 1980s but retains its original charm.
Cumberland Inn & Suites Kings Bay
Cumberland Inn & Suites Kings Bay - St. Marys is the premiere hotel in the area, located in the heart of the historic downtown. There are standard rooms and two-room suites with coffee makers, free WiFi and complimentary continental breakfast served daily.
Built in 1916, the Riverview Hotel - St. Marys is across the street from the ferry. Rooms have one or two double beds or a queen bed. All come equipped with televisions. The hotel also has its own restaurant and sports bar.
Chow down at one of St. Marys many locally owned restaurants.
Lang's Marina Restaurant
Enjoy fresh local seafood taken straight from the water at Lang's Marina Restaurant, a casual eatery serving peel-and-eat shrimp, Vidalia onion rings, hush puppies and fried oysters. They’re open for lunch and dinner, and also serve beer and wine.
Riverside Cafe opened in 2000 and is a Greek-American restaurant. In addition to lamb wraps and souvlaki, the menu includes coastal dishes like crab cakes, and shrimp and grits.
Cedar Oak Cafe
Cedar Oak Cafe is the perfect place to start your day with coffee and breakfast sandwiches before hopping on the ferry. They also have cold and hot sandwiches that you can bring with you for a picnic.
Open for lunch and dinner, Pauly’s Cafe is known for its quality beef, fresh seafood, pastas and desserts. The menu includes highlights like chicken parmigiana, almond-crusted grouper and fra diavola pasta.
The St. Marys Mardi Gras Festival is one of Georgia's Mardi Gras celebrations, held every spring. Festivities in this full-day event include a 5K run, bicycle tour, parade, arts and craft vendors, live music, food and games.
St. Marys Rock Shrimp Festival
The annual St. Marys Rock Shrimp Festival celebrates the sweet rock shrimp found in the coastal waters with a full day of kids activities, a 5K and 10K race, themed parade, entertainment, demonstrations, arts and craft vendors, and, of course, food.
St. Marys Independence Day Festival
Ring in the Fourth of July with the St. Marys Independence Day Festival. The event includes a 5K and 10K race, a parade, all-day entertainment, arts and craft vendors, food and other activities. There's also a fireworks display, best enjoyed at St. Marys Waterfront Park.