"Camden County, Georgia" Kingsland by HSC123
Kingsland Travel Guide: 4 reviews and 4 photos
Introducing Camden County
Camden County is located in the far southeastern corner of Georgia, with the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the state of Florida to the south. It is bisected by Interstate 95, a busy six-lane highway that funnels hordes of sun-seeking tourists to and from the vacationlands farther south. In addition, its location about 35 miles north of Downtown Jacksonville makes it easy for the more than 50,000 residents who live in Camden County to benefit from that city's employment, recreational, and regional amenities. While the government seat is Woodbine, a tiny town off the beaten path in the northern part of the county, the larger towns of St. Marys and Kingsland, in the southern part of the county, share most of the population. Camden County's entire coastline consists of Cumberland Island National Seashore.
St. Marys & Kingsland
St. Marys (pop. 17,700+) and neighboring Kingsland (pop. about 16,000) are old Southern towns with quiet neighborhoods and old-fashioned “Main Street” downtowns that are experiencing growth spurts. Both would probably have remained unassuming quiet towns if it were not for the fact that they straddle a very strategic location, sitting not only across the border from Florida but also within close proximity to Interstate 95. The towns themselves are linked together by a commercial highway that sports roadside accommodations, restaurants, and service stations, with some in Kingsland doubling as Georgia “welcome centers” offering maps, trinket souvenirs, and “cheap” gas. Though the smaller of the two in population, Kingsland is actually bisected by the busy interstate and thus sports the characteristic highway commercialism that drivers see when passing through the area. St. Marys, situated a few miles east of I-95, is the home of the Kings Bay Nuclear Submarine Base. St. Marys’ primary tourism draw is a historic waterfront downtown along the St. Marys River that not only offers views of Florida across its harbor, but also serves as the mainland departure point for the St. Marys-Cumberland Ferry service to Cumberland Island National Seashore.
Cumberland Island National Seashore
Cumberland Island is the largest of Georgia’s sea islands in terms of land area, but it is maintained by the National Park Service, which regulates how many visitors are allowed to set foot on the island each day. Most of these visitors arrive via the ferry since there are no bridges that link Cumberland to the mainland. Cumberland Island’s claim to fame is its population of wild horses that roam freely on the island’s beaches, woodlands, and ruins. In terms of human development, there are very few structures on the island, except for those dating back to the time when the entire island was privately owned by steel magnate Andrew Carnegie and his family. The ruins of Carnegie’s Dungeness mansion still stand on the island, though most of it burned down decades ago.
Cumberland Island’s well-regulated status ensures that it remains a protected area for many species of flora and fauna. On the flip side, the island’s limited accessibility means that locals and visitors seeking the closest traditional (and easily accessible) beach experiences have to either drive south to Amelia Island, Florida, or north to Georgia’s Golden Isles. While I have not actually set foot on Cumberland Island myself, I have seen it, several of its feral horses, and a view of the Dungeness ruins from the Intracoastal Waterway as part of a sightseeing cruise offered by Amelia River Cruises. Amelia River Cruises operates sightseeing boat excursions out of Amelia Island, Florida, which is located across the inlet from Cumberland Island’s southern tip.
Beyond Camden County
Destinations within an hour's drive of Camden County include Jacksonville, Amelia Island, and Georgia's Golden Isles.
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