Something for Everyone!
Explore the wildlife and vast wilderness, past Native American civilizations, pioneers and settlers, waterways and habitats of North America’s largest “blackwater” swamp. Whether you’re looking for a few hours of family fun by land or water, or whether you’re seeking a multi-day immersion in the solitude of the swamp’s 438,000 acres of natural splendor, we have something for everyone at our three unique swamp entrances.
Things to Do
Visitors can access hiking trails and boardwalks from all three entrances to the swamp, allowing you to get up close and personal with its natural beauty. Each entrance allows for different hiking experiences and exploration.
There are three public hunting areas in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge: the Suwannee Canal Recreation Area (lottery, mobility-impaired/youth hunt); the Pocket (archery only); and the Cowhouse unit. Hunters must be in possession of all applicable Georgia hunting licenses.
Overnight Paddling Trips
A bucket list trip for visitors from around the globe, camping in the heart of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is an adventure for both the expert and the novice in the outdoors. A variety of overnight camping platforms and islands provides opportunities for camping from one to four nights in the swamp. Check out Recreation.gov to learn more. Permits are required by contacting the permit reservation phone line during designated hours.
From first sunrises to illuminating daytimes, to the sunsets, moonlit evenings and star-filled nights, the Okefenokee swamp entrances invites photographers of all skill levels to capture the beauty and wonder of the swamp’s unique habitat and species throughout all times and seasons.
Auto Tour Route
The Auto Tour Route, also known as the Swamp Island Drive at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, is a 7.2-mile paved road, which can be used by cars, bikes and walkers. This scenic route is a great way to experience the beauty of the refuge in a comfortable, stress-free way. The Swamp Island Drive provides access to several hiking trails as well as the Chesser Island Homestead and Chesser Island Boardwalk. Additionally, the Swamp Island Drive has an interpretive brochure to aid guests as they are learning about the flora, fauna, and history of the refuge.
Camp Cornelia Café
Cornelia Café is located in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and is operated by the Refuge onsite concessionaire, Okefenokee Adventures. The restaurant offers delicious food, including sandwiches, salads, vegetarian options, and low country shrimp boils, and is the perfect place to launch, relax or refuel for your swamp adventure.
Canoeing, Kayaking & Boating
Whether you bring your own boat (canoe/kayak, or boat w/ motor less than 10HP), or rent from Okefenokee Adventures, hitting the water trails is an unmatched opportunity to truly experience what the refuge has to offer. A public boat launch provides access to 120-miles of boating trails for day-use or overnight trips. Canoes, kayaks, and Jon boats are available to rent at Okefenokee Adventures for travelers that would like the experience of being out on the water trails, but do not have a boat of their own. All guests need to sign in/out if going out on the water – trail conditions change rapidly, check with either Okefenokee Adventures or the Visitor Center on the latest status of water levels and trail closures. Additional public boat launches at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge are located at Kingfisher Landing and the Suwannee River Sill.
Photo credit: Chris Moncus
Chesser Island Homestead
Chesser Island Homestead is a living history museum showcasing structural necessities of self-sufficient living in the resource-rich Okefenokee from the 1850s through the 1950s. Walk the grounds of the Homestead to take a step back in time to the days of the early settlers. Volunteer docents offer tours of the inside of the house seasonally.
Taking your class on a field trip to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is an incredible way to give your students an unforgettable, hands-on experience in nature. You can schedule a self-guided trip, take one of the guided tours, or request environmental education programs at the refuge.
The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge provides exciting freshwater fishing opportunities for bream, catfish, bowfin, and even the occasional largemouth bass! A variety of different habitats are easily accessible from a boat, including many natural lakes and prairies, along with the Suwannee Canal, which offers deeper water than the rest of the swamp. All of the waters along the refuge’s water trails are open to fishing. Bank fishing opportunities are available along the Canepole Trail and around the refuge boat basin. State and refuge regulations apply.
Photo credit: Mike Sepelak
Accessed by boat through Stephen C. Foster State Park, this historic island in the Okefenokee has been inhabited by man for generations. Most recently, the Hebard Cypress Company had a lumber camp on the island in 1918, eventually supporting approximately 600 people. This island is the second largest in the swamp and is only accessible by boat.
Canoeing, Kayaking and Boating
For adventurous visitors, canoe and kayak rentals are available to explore the waters of the swamp. Canoeing and kayaking allow for an up-close and personal experience of the swamp, and unparalleled wildlife viewing. As an alternative to canoes and kayaks, Stephen C. Foster State Park also offers Jon boat rentals for park visitors who are interested in further exploration of the swamp waters.
Visitors looking for a more home-like overnight experience at Stephen C. Foster State Park will find our park cottages a great alternative to camping. The cottages can hold 6-8 people, and some can accommodate wheelchairs, offering a comfortable and convenient overnight stay.
Stephen C. Foster State Park offers a variety of educational group experiences, including guided boat tours, paddle tours, and hiking. They also provide educational programs that cover topics including astronomy, reptiles, swamp topography, and more.
Stephen C. Foster State Park is a prime fishing location, particularly for warmouth, bluegill, catfish, chain pickerel and bowfin. Canoe, kayak and Jon boat rentals are available through the park, or visitors may bring their own.
Photo credit: Mike Sepelak
The gift shop at Stephen C. Foster State Park provides visitors a convenient way to shop for a variety of items, including apparel, food and snacks, camping supplies, souvenirs, and more.
Boardwalks & Nature Center
Okefenokee Swamp Park offers and boardwalks, including one that takes visitors to the tallest observation tower in the swamp. The Nature Center is home to the serpentarium, which houses many different species of snake, as well as a family of bears, turtles, and baby alligators. The center also hosts a variety of interactive activities, including the Eye on Nature series.
Opportunities for cultural interpretation at the Okefenokee Swamp Park include Vereen Bell Memorial Highway, Cowhouse Island, authentically recreated Timucua and Seminole residences, logging machinery, turpentine equipment, and a moonshine still from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Skull Lake, Pioneer Island and Wildes Cabin exhibits echo times of early Indian cultures, pioneers, movie making and major fires in the Okefenokee.
Cypress Cove Annex Group Space
Cypress Cove Annex is a beautiful facility, equipped to handle a variety of events, from business meetings to weddings. The Annex can comfortably hold up to 200 people, has a fully equipped kitchen, and is surrounded by the incredible wilderness of Okefenokee Swamp. Additional indoor meeting space is available at the park Nature Center, while outdoor meeting space includes the Pavilion, the Amphitheater and an outdoor wedding gazebo. Both Cypress Cove Annex and the Nature Center are connected to the internet with fiber optic cable.
Daily ‘Eye on Nature’ Shows
The Eye on Nature shows are daily interactive experiences that teach visitors about the different native wildlife that make their homes in the park. These shows are held at the Nature Center and/or the Lagoon Amphitheater and feature live animals, including snakes, turtles and even baby alligators.
Okefenokee Swamp Park offers field trip reservations for school groups, and discounted guided tour rates for school trips. Reservations can be made four weeks or more in advance to allow your class an unforgettable outdoor education experience.
Guided Boat Excursions
Experienced tour guides take park visitors on a 45-minute boat ride through waterways, sharing their knowledge of the cultural and natural history of the area. These tours are a unique way to experience the beauty and history of the swamp, and to encounter some of the natural wildlife along the way. A Group Boat Tour is available too for groups of 12 or more. Reservations required.
Chart Your Course
Okefenokee Swamp Park
Enjoy a variety of fun activities and a wonderful show-window into the swamp under a forest canopy. Wilderness boardwalks and walkways, guided boat tours along swamp waterways, live wildlife shows and habitats, a pioneer island homestead and railroad tour are just a few of the park highlights.
Stephen C. Foster State Park
This remote park is a primary entrance to the legendary Okefenokee Swamp. Paddlers and photographers will enjoy breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife. Stargazers will appreciate the particularly dark sky.
Same-day reservations are recommended for guided boat tours. Ask about our sunset and night tours. Rent canoes, kayaks or Jon boats for further exploration, including a trip to historic Billy’s Island.
Make time for fishing by staying overnight in a cabin or campsite.
Wildlife Refuge with Okefenokee Adventures
Enjoy exploration and wilderness observation, hiking, driving or biking along our Swamp Island Drive. Stop by our visitor center, take a guided boat tour, or kayak or canoe into our famous swamp prairies through cypress-lined waters, lily pads and grassy islands.
Onsite concession, Okefenokee Adventures, offers canoe, kayak and Jon boat rentals, cafe and gift shop.
At the heart of Southeast Georgia, the historic town of Waycross is a city filled with Southern hospitality and charm with numerous opportunities for dining, lodging and shopping, as well as attractions such as the Historic Downtown district, the Okefenokee Swamp Park, the Southern Forest World Museum, the Okefenokee Heritage Center, and more.
Experience rural South Georgia, with a taste of authentic, small-town charm.
This excellent weekend getaway is complete with beautiful sights, outdoor exploration, and a rich history. Centrally located between Amelia Island, St. Marys, Jacksonville, and Savannah, Charlton County is only a short drive from I-95, making it the ideal place to experience everything South Georgia has to offer.
Get up close and personal with trains by relaxing under the Folkston Funnel, visiting the historical train museum, or even sleeping overnight in a train cart. Immerse yourself in off the beaten path experiences at the Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge. Photograph the overhanging beauty and wildlife or take a step back in time and see how the early swampers dwelled.