On the Florida and Georgia line, you’ll find the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. At over 400,000 acres of diverse animal life, terrain, and waterways, it makes for one of the more unique landmarks in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
This area, often commonly called the Okefenokee Swap is considered to be one of the “Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia.”
That’s right; it turns out a swamp is a pretty happening place to be.
In this post, we’re going to share with you why the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is a must-see spot on any trip through Southern Georgia.
After all, almost half a million people visit each year so they can’t be wrong!
A Little History
The Okefenokee Swamp has been a meeting spot and hunting ground for people for centuries. When European settlers arrived in the area, the Native American population had already been living in and around the swamp for thousands of years!
As for the swamp itself, it’s a peat-filled shallow. Thousands of years ago, it’s estimated this area was part of the ocean floor. Then, over time, dunes were built up around it. That’s why the bog is so unique.
Today, this area is a thriving freshwater ecosystem. The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is made up of a variety of wetlands, lakes, islands, and cypress forests.
Things to Do
There are plenty of things to do and see at the Okefenokee Swamp, here are just a few:
Of course, this is the fun stuff. Pick a spot to observe for a few minutes quietly, and you’ll likely see dozens of different birds, river otters, foxes, and even alligators. This area is especially well known for the huge variety of amphibian that call this area home. Keep your eyes peeled for frogs, newts, and salamanders.
The most popular historic site inside the refuge is the Chesser homestead. In the 1850s a pioneering family called the Chesser’s decided to stake their claim to an island inside the swamp and build a homestead there. They lived on the island for 100 years and are still involved in the care and maintenance of it today.
Feeling brave enough to explore a bit further out into the Okefenokee? Then you’re going to want to check out the canoe tours. You can check out the swamp during the day, or grab a permit and go on an overnight paddling adventure.
Fishing and Hunting
Fishing and hunting are also allowed at the refuge. There are three hunting areas for permitted small game hunters to roam. And anglers can fish year-round at many of the prime spots (just be sure to watch out for gators!).
Although the refuge is technically in both Florida and Georgia, the main base of operations is out of Folkston, Georgia. However, it’s still relatively easy to access, since the entrance to the Okefenokee is right off Georgia’s highway 23.