Home to families of River Otters and a favorite fishing spot for patrolling dolphins and coastal wading birds, the St. Marys Harbor is the heart of this town and the reason for its existence. In a protected river bend approximately 4-miles from the Cumberland Sound, the St. Marys Harbor offers shelter to vessels seeking to escape foul weather and rough waters in the Sound and offshore. St. Marys is also a favorite getaway spot for visiting manatees — which are frequently spotted in the harbor during the warmer months.
The historic waterfront is reminiscent of a New England fishing village when viewed from the water. Shrimp boats, sailboats and a variety of other vessels make St. Marys their home port; and the marinas on each end of the waterfront make great scenery for sunset pictures taken in the harbor. Surrounded by marsh and teeming with life, the St. Marys harbor is an ideal setting for an early morning paddle or a sunset cruise.
The St. Marys Harbor Tour launches from the St. Marys Downtown boat ramp and heads east along the downtown waterfront — getting a close-up view of the National Park Service fleet and the assortment of Cumberland Island passenger ferry boats. The pilings and floating docks around the marina are a favorite playground for our resident river otters. The tides determine our exact route in and around the harbor; but the route is basically a 4-mile loop taking us past the historic waterfront and along the marsh before crossing into Florida and following the river back around to the west side of the harbor where it isn’t uncommon to spot an alligator or Roseate Spoonbills.
Unlike many kayaking trips in the marsh, this tour can be paddled at any time of day and at any point in the tide cycle. Because of this convenience, the spectacular scenery and interesting wildlife, the Harbor Tour is one of our most popular trips. There is ample parking close to the put-in, which is only a short walk from the Riverview Hotel and downtown B&B’s. Paddlers also enjoy the onsite restrooms and the fact you can step out of your kayak at the end of a trip and simply walk across the street for a bite and a drink on one of the decks overlooking the harbor.
The St. Marys Harbor Tour lasts approximately 2-hours and is suitable for beginners and paddlers of any age.