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The kids can channel America's early explorers on this remote and wild island, which gained protection from development when it was named a National Seashore in 1972. Famous for its free-roaming population of wild horses, Georgia's largest and most southernmost barrier can be accessed only by ferry from downtown St. Mary's, Georgia. Nesting sea turtles and more than 335 species of migrating birds as well as white-tailed deer, armadillos, and raccoons call it home. For more on Cumberland Island, click here.
While you're there
Search for coquinas, sand dollars, and moon-snail shells along the island's pristine beaches, or plan a day trip to nearby Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, a swampy wilderness where you're likely to see everything from alligators and kingfishers to wild turkeys and gopher tortoises.
Where to stay
Book one of Sea Camp Campground's 16 individual campsites or two group sites ($4 per person per night). There are restrooms and showers, fire rings and grills, a small amphitheater for ranger programs, and a boardwalk that accesses the beach. Tents not your thing? If your kids are 5 or older, book accommodations at the Greyfield Inn, a former Carnegie family estate now operated as a 16-room inn. Doubles go for $425 a night, all meals, guided island tours, free bicycle rentals, and ferry transportation included.
* All hotel prices are approximate.
Charleigh Long, 10, and her brother, Alex, 9, spend part of each summer on Cumberland Island, where their folks run Island Camp, a nature program for the guests of the Greyfield Inn held every July. "My favorite thing is seining," says Charleigh. "We go out into the surf and catch fish in a net. One time we even caught a stingray!" Besides surfing and hunting for fossilized sharks' teeth, Alex is a big fan of the island's sea turtles: "I look for their tracks in the sand, but they usually come ashore after sunset to nest."
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If you like this destination, and are interested in a variety of other travel spots, feel free to visit the following websites:
You will find travel information for a number of agencies including Bureau of Land Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps, U.S. Fish & Wildlife, National Park Service, and Bureau of Reclamation.