Georgia's Wild and Beautiful Okefenokee Swamp

by swampnut

The Okefenokee Swamp is home to hundreds of bird and plant species and wild animals. It is a great get-a-way location for camping, birding, wildlife photography, and relaxing.

Located eight miles south of Waycross, Georgia, on U.S highway 1 is a junction where adventurous travelers, bird watchers, and nature enthusiasts can enter the still wild Okefenokee Swamp. The swamp has been featured in Hollywood movies, Nashville music, and numerous books and short stories. It also served as the location from which Native American Indians of the Seminole tribe launched the last hostile raids against the early settlers of Georgia. The last recorded Indian massacre of settlers in Georgia occurred along the edge of this great and beautiful freshwater swamp.

Turtles soaking up the warm sun in the Okefenokee Swamp.
Turtles soaking up the warm sun in th...
Clint Bowman
Last of the evening light in the Okefenokee Swamp.
Last of the evening light in the Okef...
Clint Bowman
An egret warily watches travelers passing by.
An egret warily watches travelers pas...
Clint Bowman
An American alligator, the "King of the Okefenokee", takes a break on a grassy resting spot.
An American alligator, the "King of t...
Clint Bowman

The Okefenokee Swamp Park

This little park is a tiny door through which you will begin to see the natural beauty of the Okefenokee.

  Located at the terminus of a causeway traversing Cowhouse Island and its surrounding watery prairies, sits a small park called the Okefenokee Swamp Park. Created in the 1940's, the park's mission statement states that the park's mission is to promote ecological tourism and to educate visitors about the incredible swamp and its very diverse population of animal and plant life. The park's website gives a good introduction to the park, its history, and purpose. Anyone planning a trip to explore the swamp would do well to begin their adventure by spending a full day here. The nearby town of Waycross has plenty of nice hotels and restaurants to make such an experience very pleasurable and affordable as well.

Canoeing Through the Swamp

As one who grew up on this northern edge of the swamp, a son whose father was partially raised along its edges as well, I can promise any adventurer that "The Land of the Trembling Earth" is well worth a prolonged visit. I have written about camping within the swamp and I have enjoyed that adventure several times. On one occasion I led a group of teenaged young men and their chaperones from the Kingfisher landing located between Waycross and Folkston, Georgia, down through the swamp to the southern edge where we exited at the beautiful and remote Stephen C. Foster state park entrance. This is one of the few locations where fishermen and canoeing/kayaking nature lovers can enter and exit the National Wildlife Refuge which covers the great majority of the swamp.

Keep a Camera Handy

Of course, anyone heading through the swamp on such an excursion may hope to see any number of birds of all sizes, a few snakes here and there and the almost always viewable American alligator. The swamp and its surrounding terrain is also the home of panthers, bobcats, bears, whitetail deer, wild turkeys, river otters, and numerous other critters. Bring your camera and keep it ready at hand as you travel through the swamp. Opportunities to capture photographic evidence to back up your claims of seeing "this and that" will occur suddenly and then be quickly gone.

Grab your bird book, binoculars, camera, and canoe and head deep down into South Georgia for a real adventure….head for the swamp from which the last Indian raid against Georgia's early settlers sprang….the great Okefenokee Swamp!


Updated: 06/21/2015, swampnut
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swampnut on 09/03/2015

CruiseReady, yes there is. I have seen a few other places here and there, but I think I prefer The Okefenokee most of all.

CruiseReady on 09/03/2015

Hello from a neighbor to your south. I've never been to the Okefeonkee. but from your description, I know I would like it. I'be been fortunate enough to see small parts of the Atchafalaya swamp, and of course, the Everglades. There is an absolutely breathtaking beauty in America's wetlands.

swampnut on 06/18/2015

MBC, Thanks! From what I hear your own sate has a lot of natural beauty... but I think I prefer our swamp. ;) Hope you get to visit some time.

swampnut on 06/18/2015

Franksbewick, we see a lot of visitors who venture off the packaged entertainment "Disney" type trail and enjoy the natural wonder of the swamp's different parks. Hope you get to be one of them one day!

frankbeswick on 10/19/2014

For those of us who dwell in Britain an account of this swamp is a rich encounter with something beyond our normal experience,as we have nothing like it, and thus it is mind-broadening.

MBC on 10/18/2014

Wow what a great place for wildlife. I live in Colorado - no swamps here the closest thing we have are some waterfowl parks. Enjoyed this article.

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