The barrier islands off the coast of Georgia provide venues for year-round outdoor recreation including hiking, biking, sea kayaking, and camping. Most of the islands are accessible by boat only. The outfitters, guides, and services below provide scheduled GA ferries or custom charter services and boat rentals for those who want to discover Georgia’s “inaccessible” barrier islands.
A Brief Introduction to Georgia’s 15 Barrier Islands
The coast of Georgia has dozens of barrier islands, 15 of which are considered major islands: (from north to south) Tybee, Little Tybee, Skidaway, Wassaw, Ossabaw, St. Catherines, Blackbeard, Sapelo, Wolf, Little St. Simons, St. Simons, Sea, Jekyll, Little Cumberland, and Cumberland. Of those 15 islands, only a handful – Tybee, St. Simons, Sea Island, Skidaway, and Jekyll, are reachable by car. The others are accessible by boat only. And it is on these hard-to-reach islands where the most rewarding outdoor experiences are available.
GA Ferries and Charter Services to Barrier Islands
These scheduled GA ferries and private charter services provide a variety of boat transportation to Georgia barrier islands. The Cumberland Island Ferry and the Sapelo Island Ferry both operate on a scheduled basis for a set roundtrip fee. The type of gear and equipment passengers can take on the ferry is limited. The Sapelo Island Ferry, for example, does not allow bikes. Both Bull River Cruises and Bull River Marina can set up more flexible charter arrangements where individuals or groups can transport all of their gear, including bikes, sea kayaks, and camping equipment to the islands. In addition, they can provide information about the types of outdoor activities that may be available on the islands. The infographic below includes scheduled ferry services and experienced private charter services. If you have had experience with other private charter services to Georgia barrier islands that you recommend please add their names and contact information in the comments box below.
GA Ferries and Private Charters Providing Access to Barrier Islands
|Cumberland Island Ferry||St. Marys||7 days/week except for Dec-Feb when it’s 5 days/week||No cars, kayaks, or pets||Camping, tours and activities info on website|
|Sapelo Island Ferry||Meridian||7 days/week except for most state holidays||No beach chairs, bikes, paddle boards. No gasoline or Coleman fuel||Ferry operated by GA Department of Natural Resources|
|Bull River Cruises||Hogan’s Marina, Savannah||Operates year ‘round weather permitting||Discuss with operator||Operates 2 boats, the up to 42-passenger Island Explorer and the 1-17 passenger Island express|
|Bull River Marina||Savannah||Operates year ‘round weather permitting||Discuss with operator||Rent a boat and visit islands on your own|