A Travel Price Comparison for Georgia Cumberland Island National Seashore vs. Saint Simons for Beaches, Hiking, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Cumberland Island National Seashore

Cumberland Island National Seashore is a undeveloped, untouched, and pristine island. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It's also known for beaches and hiking.

Saint Simons

Saint Simons is a relaxing, laid back, and scenic island. With plenty of activities and sights, this is a small town worth visiting. It's a gorgeous place to visit. Other reasons to visit include shopping, food, and beaches.

Cumberland Island National Seashore and Saint Simons: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for shopping
Pros
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Nice resorts
  • Popular beach
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Small town charm
Things to Consider
  • Less hiking options
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Saint Simons. Although Cumberland Island National Seashore and Saint Simons are both popular with visitors, Saint Simons has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Saint Simons is more popular for its museums, food, nightlife, resorts, shopping, and small town charm, while Cumberland Island National Seashore is known for its beaches, hiking, and impressive beauty. Saint Simons is more touristy than Cumberland Island National Seashore and is popular for its beaches, charter fishing, and golf courses. It is also home to East Beach. Cumberland Island National Seashore is popular for its pristine and undeveloped beaches, miles of hiking trails, and wild horses.

How is Cumberland Island National Seashore different from Saint Simons?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Saint Simons and Cumberland Island National Seashore. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons?

Cumberland Island National Seashore
Saint Simons

Saint Simons is adequate for its historical sights. However, Cumberland Island National Seashore is not known for its sights and museums.

While most people don't head to Saint Simons specifically for the museums and attractions, it does offer a few options. St. Simons Lighthouse is a highlight for many visitors. There's a maritime museum attached to the lighthouse as well. Fort Frederica National Monument is another historic site that is worth a visit.

Cumberland Island National Seashore offers a few options for museum-goers. There aren't any museums on the island, but on the mainland there's a visitor center as well as the Cumberland Island National Seashore Museum.


Is the Food Better in Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Cumberland Island National Seashore
Saint Simons

Saint Simons is a great island for its local flavors and cuisine. However, Cumberland Island National Seashore is not known for its local cuisine and restaurants.

The food selection at local restaurants is excellent in Saint Simons. There are more than 70 restaurants on the island that range from cafes to fine dining. You can enjoy an eggs benedict for brunch, crab cakes for lunch, and shrimp and grits for dinner. Many restaurants take advantage of the mild climate by offering outdoor seating. There are also several dessert places with ice cream or donuts.

Most people don't head to Cumberland Island National Seashore for a culinary experience, but it does have restaurants to choose from. There are no restaurants on the island, so you need to pack any food that you might need before you arrive.

Is Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons Better for Nightlife?

Cumberland Island National Seashore
Saint Simons

Saint Simons is adequate for nightlife. However, Cumberland Island National Seashore is not known for nightlife and partying.

Saint Simons doesn't have the most active nightlife scene. There are several family-friendly bars with laid back atmospheres around town, but if you're looking for a wild night out, there aren't a lot of places to go.

People don't go to Cumberland Island National Seashore for the nightlife. Stargazing is amazing on the island, but you're left to your own devices when it comes to evening entertainment options.

Is Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons Better for Resorts?

Cumberland Island National Seashore
Saint Simons

Saint Simons is a popular place for its luxury resorts. However, Cumberland Island National Seashore is not a resort destination.

Saint Simons has a handful of resorts to choose from. There are a handful of nice resorts with pools and beachfront settings.

Cumberland Island National Seashore is not a resort destination.


Is Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons Better for Beaches?

Cumberland Island National Seashore
Saint Simons

Cumberland Island National Seashore is an unbeatable place for its beaches. Also, Saint Simons is still popular, but not quite as popular for the beache.

Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in Cumberland Island National Seashore. There are 17 miles of pristine beaches along the island. You'll also find wild horses and miles of hiking trails. Swimming is popular, but do take note that there are no lifeguards on the island.

Saint Simons is a very popular place to visit for its beaches. There's golden sand and a beautiful setting. Visitors enjoy swimming or walking along the coastline. You'll also find piers and playgrounds. East Beach is one of the most popular.

Is Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons Better for Hiking?

Cumberland Island National Seashore
Saint Simons

Cumberland Island National Seashore is an unbeatable place for its hiking experiences. Also, Saint Simons is still popular, but not quite as popular for hiking.

People visit Cumberland Island National Seashore specifically for its hiking, as the natural beauty is well-known. You'll find more than 50 miles of hiking trails on the island. They pass through a number of ecosystems such as wetlands, forests, and beaches. Most visitors come for the day and spend most of their time on the Southend of the island. This is where you'll find the highest concentration of hiking trails. Some of the most popular trails are Dungeness Roadways, River Trail, and Nightingale Trail.

Many people include a hike when visiting Saint Simons. There are several parks and natural areas where you can enjoy a walk in nature. Cannon's Point Preserve has a nice trail system. Other trails on the island include John Gilbert Nature Trail, Earth Day Nature Trail, and Wanderer Memorial Trail.

Is the Shopping Better in Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons?

Cumberland Island National Seashore
Saint Simons

Saint Simons is a great island for shopping. However, Cumberland Island National Seashore is not known for its shopping opportunities.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Saint Simons. You'll find a good concentration of gift shops and clothing boutiques on the island. Antiquing is also popular. Head to Pier Village for a nice mix of shops.

Cumberland Island National Seashore has some shopping areas for those that seek them out. There aren't any shops or stores on the island so plan accordingly.


Is Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons Better for Families?

Cumberland Island National Seashore
Saint Simons

Saint Simons is a great island for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Cumberland Island National Seashore is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its family-friendly activities.

Saint Simons is a very family-friendly destination. The beaches are kid-friendly and there are many family-friendly restaurants in town. There's also the St. Simons Lighthouse, minigolf, and kayaking, as well as Neptune Park Fun Zone.

Cumberland Island National Seashore is a family-friendly place to visit. In addition to the hiking trails, coastline, and wildlife, the island also has junior ranger programs and educational experiences for kids.

Is Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons Better for Couples?

Cumberland Island National Seashore
Saint Simons

With fun activities for couples, both Cumberland Island National Seashore and Saint Simons make for a high quality place to visit.

Cumberland Island National Seashore is a great island if you're traveling as a couple. Couples will appreciate the pristine coastline, beautiful wildlife, and secluded hiking trails. Many people visit the island as a day trip, but it's also possible to stay at one of the island's campgrounds. For a truly romantic experience you could also stay at the Greyfield Inn.

Saint Simons is a very popular place to visit for couples. There are romantic restaurants, beautiful beaches, and nice hotels. Sunset walks on the beach or a round of golf all make this a favorite couple's destination.

Is Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Cumberland Island National Seashore
Saint Simons

Cumberland Island National Seashore is a great destination for backpackers. However, Saint Simons is a island with minimal options for backpackers and budget travelers.

Backpackers come from all over to visit Cumberland Island National Seashore. Backpackers appreciate the secluded and pristine atmosphere. There are miles of hiking trails as well as campgrounds on the island for those who want to stay overnight.

Saint Simons is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. There are campgrounds in the area that offer access to the island.


Is Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Cumberland Island National Seashore
Saint Simons

Cumberland Island National Seashore is a island with a few options for its public transit. However, Saint Simons is a island with minimal options for times when you don't have a car.

Public transit is generally limited in Cumberland Island National Seashore. The only way to the island is by ferry. It leaves from the town of St. Marys and advanced reservations are recommended.

Public transit is quite limited in Saint Simons. While there are trolley tours available, public transportation is basically non-existent.

Is Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons a more walkable city?

Cumberland Island National Seashore
Saint Simons

Cumberland Island National Seashore and Saint Simons are good when it comes to walkability.

Cumberland Island National Seashore is somewhat walkable. There are many hikes on the island, but the whole island is 18 miles long, making it difficult to walk in one day. Many visitors spend their time near the campgrounds where there's the highest concentration of hiking trails. This area is known as Sea Camp.

Saint Simons is a somewhat walkable place. The downtown area is walkable, but to access much of what is available, you'll want to have a car.

For even more information, also check out Is Cumberland Island National Seashore Worth Visiting? and Is Saint Simons Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Saint Simons or Cumberland Island National Seashore?

How long in Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons?

It's fun to spend time in either Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Saint Simons due to the larger number of activities and things to do. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Cumberland Island National Seashore, and 2-4 days is enough time in Saint Simons.

Families should spend more time in Saint Simons than Cumberland Island National Seashore. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Saint Simons, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Saint Simons than Cumberland Island National Seashore. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Saint Simons that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Cumberland Island National Seashore than Saint Simons if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Cumberland Island National Seashore.


  • How many days in Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons? Ideal Length of Stay
    Cumberland Island National Seashore 1-3 
    Saint Simons 2-4

One day in Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons?

In Cumberland Island National Seashore, many people enjoy the that this untouched island offers. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. In one day, you should have a good grasp of this island.

Saint Simons is a small town with plenty to do. It's also a great beach destination, too. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. Your budget might influence how long you stay.


A weekend in Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons?

Cumberland Island National Seashore is a fun place to experience. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. So, a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Many people visit Saint Simons for a weekend. Plenty of people spend a weekend in the area when traveling. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. A weekend is usually enough time to experience most activities. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Five days in Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons?

You'll find around the undeveloped destination of Cumberland Island National Seashore. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days.

Saint Simons is a popular place to visit. Because Saint Simons is a small town, it's easy to explore in a short amount of time. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.

A week in Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons?

Cumberland Island National Seashore is a popular place to visit. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Since Saint Simons is a small town, it's easily explored when your time is limited. Most people come for the beaches. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Historical Tours in United States of America, The Best 10-Day Tours in United States of America, The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in United States of America, and The Best 2-Week Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Saint Simons or Cumberland Island National Seashore?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Cumberland Island National Seashore is $148, while the average daily cost in Saint Simons is $176. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Cumberland Island National Seashore and Saint Simons in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cumberland Island National Seashore $75
    Saint Simons $100
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cumberland Island National Seashore $150
    Saint Simons $200
Compare Hotels in Cumberland Island National Seashore and Saint Simons

Looking for a hotel in Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Cumberland Island National Seashore


Hotels in Saint Simons


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Saint Simons Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cumberland Island National Seashore $59
    Saint Simons $49

Is it cheaper to fly into Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons?

Prices for flights to both Saint Simons and Cumberland Island National Seashore change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Cumberland Island National Seashore $38
    Saint Simons $48

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cumberland Island National Seashore $23
    Saint Simons $16

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cumberland Island National Seashore $25
    Saint Simons $60


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Cumberland Island National Seashore and Saint Simons, we can see that Saint Simons is more expensive. And not only is Cumberland Island National Seashore much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Cumberland Island National Seashore would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Cumberland Island National Seashore and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Saint Simons would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Saint Simons than you might in Cumberland Island National Seashore.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Cumberland Island National Seashore Expensive? and Is Saint Simons Expensive?.



When is the best time to visit Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Cumberland Island National Seashore as well as Saint Simons. The summer months attract visitors to Cumberland Island National Seashore because of the beaches, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences. Additionally, the beaches, the hiking, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Saint Simons this time of year.

Cumberland Island National Seashore is around the same temperature as Saint Simons in the summer. The daily temperature in Cumberland Island National Seashore averages around 82°F (28°C) in July, and Saint Simons fluctuates around 82°F (28°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Saint Simons. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Cumberland Island National Seashore this time of the year. In the summer, Cumberland Island National Seashore often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Saint Simons. Cumberland Island National Seashore gets 286 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Saint Simons receives 286 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Saint Simons. Cumberland Island National Seashore receives a lot of rain in the summer. Cumberland Island National Seashore usually gets around the same amount of rain in July as Saint Simons. Cumberland Island National Seashore gets 5.4 inches (137 mm) of rain, while Saint Simons receives 5.4 inches (137 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Cumberland Island National Seashore 82°F (28°C) 
    Saint Simons 82°F (28°C)

Should I visit Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons in the Autumn?

Both Saint Simons and Cumberland Island National Seashore are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. The hiking trails and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Cumberland Island National Seashore this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Saint Simons for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area.

In the autumn, Cumberland Island National Seashore is around the same temperature as Saint Simons. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Cumberland Island National Seashore in October average around 70°F (21°C), and Saint Simons averages at about 70°F (21°C).

It's quite sunny in Saint Simons. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Cumberland Island National Seashore. Cumberland Island National Seashore usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Saint Simons during autumn. Cumberland Island National Seashore gets 214 hours of sunny skies, while Saint Simons receives 214 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Cumberland Island National Seashore usually receives around the same amount of rain as Saint Simons. Cumberland Island National Seashore gets 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain, while Saint Simons receives 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Cumberland Island National Seashore 70°F (21°C) 
    Saint Simons 70°F (21°C)

Should I visit Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons in the Winter?

Both Saint Simons and Cumberland Island National Seashore during the winter are popular places to visit. Also, many visitors come to Saint Simons in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

In January, Cumberland Island National Seashore is generally around the same temperature as Saint Simons. Daily temperatures in Cumberland Island National Seashore average around 53°F (12°C), and Saint Simons fluctuates around 53°F (12°C).

In the winter, Cumberland Island National Seashore often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Saint Simons. Cumberland Island National Seashore gets 191 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Saint Simons receives 191 hours of full sun.

Cumberland Island National Seashore usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as Saint Simons. Cumberland Island National Seashore gets 3.3 inches (83 mm) of rain, while Saint Simons receives 3.3 inches (83 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Cumberland Island National Seashore 53°F (12°C) 
    Saint Simons 53°F (12°C)

Should I visit Cumberland Island National Seashore or Saint Simons in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Cumberland Island National Seashore and Saint Simons. Many visitors come to Cumberland Island National Seashore in the spring for the beaches and the natural beauty. Also, most visitors come to Saint Simons for the beaches, the small town charm, and the natural beauty during these months.

Cumberland Island National Seashore is around the same temperature as Saint Simons in the spring. The daily temperature in Cumberland Island National Seashore averages around 68°F (20°C) in April, and Saint Simons fluctuates around 68°F (20°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Saint Simons this time of the year. In Cumberland Island National Seashore, it's very sunny this time of the year. Cumberland Island National Seashore usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Saint Simons during spring. Cumberland Island National Seashore gets 285 hours of sunny skies, while Saint Simons receives 285 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Cumberland Island National Seashore usually receives around the same amount of rain as Saint Simons. Cumberland Island National Seashore gets 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain, while Saint Simons receives 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Cumberland Island National Seashore 68°F (20°C) 
    Saint Simons 68°F (20°C)

Typical Weather for Saint Simons and Cumberland Island National Seashore

Cumberland Island National Seashore Saint Simons
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 53°F (12°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 53°F (12°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm)
Feb 56°F (13°C) 3.9 inches (100 mm) 56°F (13°C) 3.9 inches (100 mm)
Mar 62°F (17°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm) 62°F (17°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm)
Apr 68°F (20°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 68°F (20°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm)
May 74°F (24°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm) 74°F (24°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm)
Jun 80°F (27°C) 5.7 inches (146 mm) 80°F (27°C) 5.7 inches (146 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 5.4 inches (137 mm) 82°F (28°C) 5.4 inches (137 mm)
Aug 82°F (28°C) 7.8 inches (199 mm) 82°F (28°C) 7.8 inches (199 mm)
Sep 79°F (26°C) 7.1 inches (180 mm) 79°F (26°C) 7.1 inches (180 mm)
Oct 70°F (21°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 70°F (21°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
Nov 62°F (17°C) 2.2 inches (55 mm) 62°F (17°C) 2.2 inches (55 mm)
Dec 56°F (13°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 56°F (13°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)


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