Becoming an Official Guest of the Marine Institute
Visitors may access Sapelo Island as an official guest of UGAMI. Requests from official university classes and researchers with a reasonable need for access to Sapelo Island for education or research are welcomed. If you are interested in arranging a visit, please contact our Visitor Coordinator, Gracie Townsend.
Individuals, primary and secondary school groups, and other organizations wishing to visit Sapelo Island should contact the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Getting to Sapelo Island
The ferry to Sapelo Island 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 University of Georgia campus in Athens; the trip takes approximately 4-½ hours by car. Please plan to arrive at the ferry dock least 20 minutes before departure time. See detailed driving directions.
The Sapelo Island ferry is operated by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) under state and federal regulations. Reservations are required. See detailed ferry information, including schedule.
The tide gauge at Old Tower on Sapelo Island (8675622) is located near the mouth of Doboy Sound. Tidal predictions for this station:
Phone and Internet
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.
The main buildings are networked with fiber optic cable, and most core areas (including some housing) are served with wired or wireless broadband internet access. However, there are limitations on band-width that make it difficult to stream movies or to run data-intensive applications.
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:
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.
UGAMI maintains a vehicle fleet and can assign you a vehicle for your visit. UGA employees as well as those who work for the University System of Georgia are covered by insurance and may drive vehicles. If you are from another University, an MOU and proof of insurance are required. Contact UGAMI Visitor Coordinator Gracie Townsend for more information.
UGAMI has golf carts that can also be assigned to you for your visit. Drivers of golf carts must be 18 years or older and have a valid driver’s license.
Bicycles are also available for our visitors. Maintaining these can be difficult given the sandy and salty conditions. Help us take care of them and do not take them onto the beach.