hidden gemgwt

St Mary's Water Trail Hidden Gem 

Dec 1-3, 2017

Registration Coming Soon

Join Georgia River Network on the St Marys Water Trail for our 16th Hidden Gem Event. Participants will enjoy delicious meals, live entertainment and tent camping near the beach under gorgeous live oak and palmetto forest. There will be fascinating presentations about wildlife, local lore, coastal restoration efforts and an opportunity to enjoy and explore Cumberland Island by foot/bicycle.

Tickets are available to accommodate physically fit sea kayakers desiring to join the group paddling from the mainland to Cumberland Island, as well as for those who would like to take the ferry across and enjoy the weekend event. 

St. Mary's Water Trail Hidden Gem is

a Project of 
Georgia River Network
in partnership with
St. Marys Riverkeeper
RIVERKEEPERlargerstmarys vectorized 2 1


st. Marys hidden gem

Journey Details

 "St. Marys is the gateway to Cumberland Island, Georgia's largest and southernmost barrier island. Here pristine maritime forests, undeveloped beaches and wide marshes whisper the stories of both man and nature. Natives, missionaries, enslaved African Americans and Wealthy Industrialists all walked here.  Cumberland Island is also home to over 9,800 acres of Congressionally designated Wilderness." National Park Service Website

Participants will enjoy paddling/taking the ferry through the Golden Isles of Coastal Georgia from the historic town of St Marys through marsh, open/blue water, and along the south end of Cumberland island to our destination at Dungeness. We will camp at 'Sea Camp' Friday and Saturday night. The campsites are primitive without electricity or plumbing however it is only a short walk to the bathhouse which has cold showers. We will travel over to the island Friday afternoon, set up camp, relax and enjoy a delicious catered dinner. We will spend Saturday on Cumberland exploring by foot/ bicycle and enjoy a number of educational presentations followed by evening entertainment. We will pack up Sunday morning and return to the mainland after enjoying our last hot breakfast on the island!

St. Marys Water Trail Hidden Gem Itinerary 
  • Day 1, Dec. 1:: St Mary's (Mainland) to Dungeness Dock (Cumberland Isl.) - 7 miles
  • Day 2, Dec. 2:: Spend the day exploring Cumberland Isl., enjoying presentations, bicycling/hiking to historic sites, fossil finding & beach combing
  • Day 3, Dec. 3:: Dungeness Dock (Cumberland Isl.) to St Mary's (Mainland) - 7 miles 

Cumberland Boardwalk1Cumberland kayakerCumberland Camping




Paddling spots will be limited to physically fit participants with open/blue water kayaking experience. However, tickets are also available for those who would like to join us on Cumberland for the weekend event but not paddle. While paddlers will be led by experienced local guides, none will be prepared to pull paddlers who tire from lack of fitness. Paddlers must have an intermediate level of physical fitness. 

St Marys Hidden Gem Registration Information

Registration Fees:

Adults/ Youth: TBD * 

Adult/Youth ticket PLUS - VIP Gourmet Farm to Table Dinner at Stafford: TBD *

* Includes T-shirt, Map, NPS Day Use Fee, Camping Fee, ACA Insurance, Chartered Gear Ferry, and Dinners, Lunches, and Hot Breakfasts.

Ticket Options:

Island Intermediate Paddlers: Participants must be physically fit with sea kayaking experience and able to paddle from the mainland to Cumberland Island (7 miles) on Friday and make the return journey on Sunday. 

Island Ferry Participants: This ticket is for those who would like to participate in the weekend event by taking the ferry to/from the mainland to Cumberland.

Cumberland BoardwalkCumberland Live Oak



This is an ACA-sanctioned event 

Mark your calendars!
See all of GRN's 2017 events HERE!

Hidden Gems Paddling Series

Photos & Partners from Past
Hidden Gem Paddles
Lower Oconee Hidden Gem Paddle & Campout - 2016
Event Partners: Georgia River Network, .Altamaha Riverkeeper, and Lower Oconee Water Trail
Coosawattee River Hidden Gem Paddle to Farm to Table - 2016
Event Partners: Georgia River Network, Georgia Organics, & Coosa River Basin Initiative.
 thumb IMG 6507 1024
Ochlockonee River Hidden Gem 2015 Tea-Stained Waters, Cypress Knees & Rich Wildlife Diversity
Event Partners: Georgia River Network, Ochlockonee River Water Trail, and Golden Triangle RC&D.
South River Hidden Gem 2015 - From Urban Wasteland to Wet & Wild Oasis
Event partners: Georgia River Network, South River Watershed Alliance, Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area & Rockdale County
Photos from the trip.
Middle Oconee Hidden Gem 2015 - Bubbling Shoals, Rocky Outcrops & Historic Mills
Event partners: Georgia River Network, Upper Oconee Watershed Network, UGA Office of Sustainability, Upper Oconee Watershed Network, UGA Odum School of Ecology - River Basin Center, UGA College of Environment & Design, and Athens-Clarke County Oconee River Greenway Commission.
Satilla River Hidden Gem 2014 - Giant Magnolias and Burnt Forts - A Glimpse of the Satilla’s Unique Past
Event partners: Georgia River Network,
North Oconee Hidden Gem 2014 - Bobbin Through Remnants of the Oconee’s Historic Timeworn Textile Mills
Event partners: Georgia River Network, Upper Oconee Watershed Network, State Botanical Gardens of Georgia, University of Georgia Office of Sustainability, UGA College of Environment & Design, UGA Outdoor Recreation, and Athens-Clarke County Oconee River Greenway Commission.
Photos from the trip. 
Chattahoochee Columbus Hidden Gem 2014 - From Derelict Dams to Recreational White Water -Adventure on a Revitalized River in Columbus
Event partners: Georgia River Network, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, and Chattahoochee Riverwarden.
Ogeechee River Hidden Gem 2014 - Secrets of South Georgia’s Tea-Colored Waters and White Barking Sands
Event partners: Georgia River Network, Ogeechee Riverkeeper, and Georgia Interfaith Power & Light.
Altamaha River Hidden Gem 2013 - Ancient Giants of the Altamaha River
Event partners: Georgia River Network, Off Grid Expeditions, & Altamaha Riverkeeper.
Savannah River Hidden Gem 2013 - Savannah River’s Last Remaining Shoals
Event partners: Georgia River Network, Georgia Kayak Fishing-Paddle4Tomorrow & Savannah Riverkeeper.
Etowah River Hidden Gem 2013 - Paddling Through Cherokee History on the Etowah
Event partners: Georgia River Network, Coosa River Basin Initiative, Upper Etowah River Alliance & Cherokee Historical Society.
Chattahoochee River Hidden Gem 2013 - Behind the Scenes of Atlanta's Work Horse on the Chattahoochee
Event partners: Georgia River Network, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, & Keeping it Wild!
Yellow River Hidden Gem 2012 - Yellow River Unveiling the Hidden Gems of Metro Atlanta
Event Partners: Georgia River Network and Yellow River Water Trail
South River Hidden Gem 2012 - Unveiling the Hidden Gems of Metro Atlanta
 Event Partners: Georgia River Network and South River Watershed Alliance.