Sapelo Island –
A Georgia Barrier Island
Things you need to know when visiting
our jewel barrier island on the Georgia Coast
Sapelo Island! Georgia is home to several pristine and beautiful barrier islands. Sapelo Island is the fourth largest in the chain of coastal islands. It is managed by the State of Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and this remote island is only accessible by passenger ferry, staffed by DNR crew.
Sapelo Island provides a number of public access recreational, educational and lodging opportunities, however, it is a wildlife refuge, still very pristine, remote and undeveloped.
Let’s Go To Sapelo Island
Here are a few know before you go items:
- Sapelo Island is home to the descendants of enslaved workers on Sapelo’s antebellum plantations. Local residents are proud of their history and continue traditional practices.
- Rentals are located in the Hog Hammock community where local residents live
- Less than 30 full time residents
- There are no restaurants on the island. It is a self-catering island
- No Watersport rentals – kayaking, paddle boarding, jet ski
- Fishing is good on the island, both shore fishing and along the bridges.
- Fishing guides are not available. You may ask residents for good fishing options.
- The Reynolds Mansion is operated by GA State Parks and is available for short term rentals. It is only open for tours when there are no guests staying there
- Residents offer short term accommodations
- Local residents offer tourism businesses – history tours, vehicle rentals, meal preparations, bike rentals. These businesses are separate from the Sapelo Island Birdhouses. Contact local businesses to arrange services. Sapelo Island Birdhouses bears no responsibility for outcome of working with local businesses.
- Kindly respect the property and grounds. The island is home for residents who have called the island home for generations. During your visit the island should always be treated with regard for those who will be there after guests leave
- Sapelo Island temperatures can be very hot and humid during summer months and cold during winter months. Check the weather – weather.com
- Sapelo can be impacted by hurricanes and tropical storms. Travel insurance is highly recommended during hurricane season. Purchase insurance prior to storms being named. Allianz Travel Insurance is an excellent option with various priced plans to protect your travel investment.
- There are two beaches – Nanny Goat and Cabretta
- Cabretta beach is not accessible by golf cart
- Nanny Goat beach is a 15 min. golf cart drive from the cottage
- Very, very limited cell phone service
- Power outages are frequent
- There is cable TV – however, sometimes it is not reliable – Direct TV is the service provider. Recommended to bring passwords for streaming services
- Tea Cake and Candy cottages have streaming service TV or Apple TV.
- Wifi service is available in all cottages
- There are first responders, however, there are no health facilities on the island
- Sapelo Island is a self-catering island – bring all food items (you can order food from local residents offering catering service)
- There is wildlife on the island (gators, wild cow, feral pigs and snakes)
- There are bugs on the island – bring bug repellant and keep in mind you are on a wildlife reserve. It is highly recommended you bring insect repellent with you as insects on the island are a way of life. And if you are prone to bites, an after bite remedy is also recommended
- Arrive at least 30 mins before your ferry departure to Sapelo ($5 per person round trip)
- Check in is on the 3:30 ferry during the week and 4:30 ferry on Sundays
- Ferry arrangements can only be made by island residents (your host will make your ferry arrangements for you)
- Ferry service is offer 3 times a day every day except Sun when it’s offered twice.
- We book the ferry for you.
- Ferry reservations must be made at least two day before arrival. Changes to ferry reservations less than two days before arrival may not be available. Plan accordingly.
- You catch the ferry in Meridian. We provide directions when you are booked.
- Cost of the ferry is $5 per person round trip. That fee is not included in your rental. You’ll pay that when you board the ferry boat.
- The ferry boat crew will check your reservation, have you sign in and pay the $5 per person round trip fee.
- The onsite manager will meet you on Sapelo at the ferry dock and take you to your cottage
- Park your car in the visitors area at the Visitors Center on the mainland. Your car is safe during your stay. The area is locked each evening.
- Be prepared to handle your luggage and personal items. There is limited assistance and Sapelo Birdhouse staff have been instructed to not handle baggage due to COVID pack and plan accordingly.
Sapelo Island is a remote, small population island. Please show kindness, patience and understanding when you need assistance as we work to get someone to assist you. There is a limited number of people who can help.
Things to pack
Charcoal, foil, lighter fluid and matches for cooking on grill
Food, beverage and snacks
First aid items – antiseptic and bandaids
Bring all your medications and aspirins, pain meds, allergy
Shampoo and conditioner
Bring along your patience and understanding – there are limited resources on the island
Write down your cottage door code (do not depend on cell service to find it when you arrive)
Give the cottage phone number to relatives and friends at home in case of emergency
Cell service is limited and very spotty
Cottage telephone is for local calls only.
Golf Cart will be waiting for you at your cottage
if you do not know how to drive a golf cart please let us know before arriving
Things provided at Sapelo Island Birdhouses
Paper products – kitchen and bath
Kitchen stocked with cooking pots, pans, plates, glasses, cups, silverware
Beach Umbrella and chairs
Golf cart for four passengers (Limited places it can go. Lighthouse, Hog Hammock and Nanny Goat Beach)
Pack light – there is a fair amount of hauling and moving your items
Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve welcomes visitors
The University of Georgia Marine Institute is located on the island
Hog Hammock community churches welcome visitors
Separate businesses on the island –
Vehicle & Bike rentals – Chris – 912-258-2301
Tours – Chris – 912-258-2301
Yvonne – 912-506-0944
Sharron – 912-222-7328
Meals – Barbara – 912-270-1711
Francine – 912-230-9910
Activities on the island
Visit the Sapelo Island Research Institute Center
Take a nature walk to Nanny Goat Beach
Visit the lighthouse
Drive around the ground of the Reynolds Mansion
Basket making with Yvonne Grovner – 912-506-0944
For more information short-term vacation rentals. Click the links below: