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The Okefenokee Swamp is North America’s largest “blackwater” swamp with 438,000 acres of natural splendor and is accessible via three unique swamp entrances. Every visit is an adventure, and you can choose your own based on which entrance you select. There is something for everyone! Explore by land or by water. There are opportunities for guided or self-guided tours, hiking, canoeing, fishing, observation and photography, education about Native American civilizations, pioneers and settlers, and local wildlife and waterways.

The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge’s Suwannee Canal Recreation Area main entrance located in Folkston, is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Here you can experience the beauty of the refuge in a stress-free way by following the paved Auto Tour Route, also known as Swamp Island Drive, hike one of several upland trails, or visit the Chesser Island Homestead and Boardwalk. The onsite concession service Okefenokee Adventures offers guided boat tours, canoe/kayak rentals, boat rentals, runs a gift shop, and food service. A living history museum, the Chesser Island Homestead showcases structural necessities of self-sufficient living in the resource-rich Okefenokee from the 1850s through the 1950s. Imagine what life would have been like for an early settler as you explore the grounds of the Homestead. Volunteer docents offer tours of the inside of the house seasonally. Educational programs are also offered.

The Stephen C. Foster State Park entrance east of Fargo is managed cooperatively between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. While there are also boat tours, fishing, canoe and motorboat rentals offered here to make a day trip fun, this is an even better spot for a NIGHT trip!  Designated as an International Dark Sky Park, night sky observation conditions are ideal. Facilities including cabins, tent and RV campsites are available so you can easily plan an overnight stay. There are also interpretive programs at the park.

The Okefenokee Swamp Park entrance in Waycross is a private non-profit facility. Boat and train tours and live animal shows are popular here. There are also interpretive displays and a boardwalk. You can see detailed information about all three locations and the experiences they offer online at visittheswamp.com or learn more at the Richard S. Bolt Visitor Center at the Main Entrance.

While you can visit at any time, if you want to observe wildlife (namely the alligators), early morning or later in the evening are the best times to catch them up and moving around. Early morning trips are also best during summer months because it can be quite hot and buggy by the afternoon. It is a swamp, after all! 

Okefenokee Swamp originally posted on by Elegant Island Living magazine.

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