One of the most rewarding items for regular cruisers on the Atlantic ICW is revisiting their favorite stops each year, especially if those stops are directly on the ICW. But some of the most interesting places are a little off the “magenta line.” Taking the time to reach these places will reward those who make the effort. St. Marys, Georgia, located 4.5 nautical miles west of the ICW at the Georgia-Florida border, is one of those stops worth the detour.

Settled on a scenic bend in the St. Marys River, this historic town has made the most of its riverfront location. It is the gateway city to nearby Cumberland Island National Seashore. The seashore’s visitor center, museum and ferry terminal are located in the center of town. The seashore covers most of Cumberland Island, Georgia’s largest barrier island. With almost 10,000 acres of preserved habitat, the island contains numerous distinct ecological areas, giving it the greatest biodiversity of any of the southeast coast barrier islands.

If you visit just once, St. Marys might become a regular detour you look forward to repeating every year.