Getting to the mainland ferry dock

The address for the Sapelo Island ferry dock is:

1766 Landing Road, SE

Darien, GA  31305

The ferry to Sapelo Island is run by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and can be accessed at the dock adjacent to the Sapelo Island Visitor’s Center in Meridian, GA. Meridian is approximately 280 miles southeast of the main UGA campus in Athens and the trip takes approximately 4 ½ hours. Please plan to arrive at least 20 minutes before departure.

From the North (Savannah, GA via I-95)

  • From I-95 South, take the Eulonia Exit (Exit 58) to Georgia State Road 99. From the exit ramp, turn left (east) toward Eulonia and drive about one mile to the intersection (4-way stop) of GA 99 and US 17; continue straight through this intersection 9.25 miles to Meridian GA.
  • Note: Other than convenience stores and a few cafes, there is only a small Piggly Wiggly (groceries) just a few blocks north on U.S. 17 (turn left).
  • Shortly after a small sign marking the edge of Meridian turn left to the dock and the Sapelo Island Visitor Center.
  • Note: Small brown or blue signs clearly marked with “Sapelo Island” are placed all along this route.

From the South (Jacksonville, FL or Brunswick, GA via I-95)

  • From I-95 North, take the Darien Exit (Exit 49) to East 251 (a right turn onto 251 toward Darien).
  • From East 251 (turn right), take U.S. 17 South (into Darien).
  • Note: Small brown or blue signs clearly marked with “Sapelo Island” are placed all along this route.
  • Turn left onto Georgia State Road 99.
  • Note: Rt. 99 is just before the county courthouse and this is more or less down town Darien. Historic buildings are about 0.25 miles past 99 on the Altamaha River. You will also have driven past nearly all of your “shopping opportunities” that are near Sapelo Island (Groceries, fuel, and other supplies).
  • Take Georgia 99 North for 8.25 miles to Meridian, GA, and a right turn to the Sapelo Island Visitor Center and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources – Meridian Dock.
  • A large rectangular sign with blue lettering indicates the turn to the SAPELO ISLAND NATIONAL ESTUARINE RESEARCH RESERVE (SINERR). This sign is on the East side of 99 and is in a church yard.
Merdian ferry dock

The Sapelo Island Visitor Center
Phone: (912) 437-3224
Hours: (Tuesday-Friday 7:30-5:30, Sat 8:00-5:30, closed on Sunday and Monday)
These are roughly the gate hours and are subject to change.

Packing Tips

Whatever you bring to UGAMI must be transported on the passenger ferry, where space can be at a premium. Here are some things to bear in mind:

What not to bring:

  • Linens: Sheets, blankets and pillows are provided in all housing units, so there is no need to bring them unless you have a specific requirement.
  • Cooking Equipment: Cooking facilities are available at UGAMI, including refrigerators, freezers, microwaves, and coffee pots. There are also dishes, standard pots and pans, etc.
  • Bicycles or beach chairs: Bikes are NOT allowed on the ferry. However, UGAMI has a fleet of bikes that are available for use by our visitors.

Things to bring:

  • old sneakers, hiking boots, or rubber boots (something you won’t mind getting extremely dirty), particularly if you are planning to go out in the marsh.
  • old clothes
  • flip flops are nice when you get back to the dorm
  • something warm (it can be cold at night, and many groups spend time riding in the open bed of a truck!)
  • rain gear
  • water bottle
  • sun screen and BUG SPRAY (depending on the season, this can be important!)
  • camera
  • flashlight
  • towels – both bath towels and beach towels
  • hat and sunglasses
  • prescription glasses/reading glasses
  • any specialized medications, including epinephrine for severe allergies, Benadryl, asthma inhalers, etc.

Notes: Cell phone coverage is very spotty on the Island, so be aware that you may not be able to make or receive calls during your visit. Wireless internet is available in the main quad and in most of the dorms, but there are limitations on band-width that make it difficult to stream movies or to run data-intensive applications.


There is no grocery store on Sapelo Island, so food options are fairly limited. All of our housing units have cooking facilities and groups traditionally bring their own food.