Sapelo Island, Georgia
ne of Georgia’s 15 barrier islands, Sapelo Island is both ecologically and culturally rich. Residents and friends each October, celebrate the cultural traditions of the Geechee people during their annual festival. Experience ring shouts, gospel choirs, sweet grass basket weaving; learn about making and using fishing nets, and other customs passed down from generation to generation. .
A trip to Sapelo Island is like taking a step back in time. With that in mind, please be aware that there are few opportunities to purchase items you might need while you are there.
Sapelo is a state-managed barrier island, the fourth largest in the chain of coastal Georgia islands between the Savannah and St. Marys rivers. Accessible only by passenger ferry, Sapelo provides a number of public access recreational, educational and lodging opportunities.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages the island. DNR operates the ferry service and serves as state liaison for the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve, the University of Georgia Marine Institute, and the civilian Hog Hammock community, permanent home to about 70 full-time residents, many of whom are descended from the antebellum slaves of Sapelo’s plantations.
Community of Hog Hammock
Hog Hammock is approximately 500 acres and contains the only privately owned property on Sapelo Island. Many members of the community are descendants of African-American plantation workers and can trace their heritage back many generations on the Island. The community has approximately 40 full-time residents.
A visit to Hog Hammock and a tour of Sapelo Island are often a rewarding part of a stay at UGAMI. Please be aware, however, that this is a private community and that visitors need to be respectful. For example, please get permission before taking photographs of people (especially children); call ahead of time if you are interested in visiting one of the Island’s churches. If you are unsure, please ask us.
Department of Natural Resources
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages Sapelo Island, which includes running the ferry and barge service, maintaining roads, managing land use and wildlife, and sponsoring controlled hunts. DNR is also responsible for law enforcement in conjunction with the McIntosh County Sheriff’s office. The Sapelo Island DNR office is located in the Long Tabby building, near Post Office Creek.
P.O. Box 15
Sapelo Island, GA 31327
Phone: (912) 485-2251
Fax: (912) 485-2141
Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve (SINERR)
The Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve (SINERR) is part of a network of estuarine reserves administered by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. UGAMI is embedded within the 8700 acre reserve and works closely with SINERR personnel, who focus on the natural, cultural, and historical resources of Sapelo Island and the Duplin River estuary. SINERR offices are located in the Long Tabby building near Post Office Creek. Read more.
SINERR Public tours. SINERR offers public tours featuring the natural and cultural history of Sapelo Island.
SINERR Group visits. Group tours are available to special interest groups such as nature clubs, school clubs, boy scouts or girl scouts, birding clubs, elderhostels, church groups and other organized groups wishing visitation to Sapelo Island.
Sapelo Island Visitors Center
The Sapelo Island Visitors Center, jointly run by SINERR and the McIntosh County Chamber of Commerce, is located next to the ferry terminal in Meridian. Staff at the Visitors Center can answer most questions about the Island. They also have displays and a gift shop.
1766 Landing Road S.E., Darien, GA 31305
Phone: (912) 437-3224
Hours of operation:
- Sunday-Monday: Closed
- Tuesday-Friday: 7:30 am – 5:30 pm
- Saturday: 8:00 am- 5:30 pm