St. Marys is a bustling seaport, tourist attraction, and strategic military location. Close to the Georgia-Florida state line (on Route 40, off Interstate 95), it is located on the St. Marys River, within six miles of the Atlantic Ocean. The city served as Camden County 's seat from 1869 until 1923. Today, many of its residents earn their livelihood by catering to tourists who visit the St. Marys National Historic District, which includes beautiful nineteenth-century buildings, offices, and shops. And now, Aerospace Missions Corporation's new advanced technology center in the historic district blends the past with the future.
The town, population 13,761 (2000 census), is also known as "The Gateway to Cumberland Island ," the departure point for those taking the ferry to the Cumberland Island National Seashore.
The strategic location of St. Marys on the Atlantic Coast, 30 miles north of the Jacksonville International Airport and 110 miles south of Savannah, led to the city's involvement in several of the major military conflicts in U.S. history, including the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and the Civil War. Its military connections have continued with the establishment of Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in 1979. As of 2002 the Kings Bay workforce included more than 9,000 military and civilian personnel.