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Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Abundant wildlife, magnificent wetlands, stunning sunsets, and ancient cypresses distinguish the 396,000-acre Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. Among the 400 species of wildlife that live here are a population of nearly 15,000 American Alligators, 90 species of reptiles and amphibians, 233 species of birds, and 42 species of mammals. Every February, the refuge sponsors Sandhill Crane Awareness Day to educate the public about its large population of wintering Sandhill Cranes.

One of the best ways to explore the Okefenokee Swamp is by boat. Narrated swamp tours are conducted year-round, and those who want to plan their own tours should rent a canoe or motorboat. A vast system of color-coded and well-marked day and overnight water trails penetrating the swamp provide access to such spots as Billy’s, Floyd’s, and Bugaboo Islands; Grand Prairie; and Monkey, Buzzard Roost, and Gannet Lakes. Day-use trails do not require a permit, but users must sign in. Overnight trails require both a permit and trip itinerary. These trails are popular enough to warrant advance reservations, especially during spring. The refuge provides large wooden camping platforms as there is little dry land.

Visitors to the Suwannee Canal Recreation Area on the east side of the Okefenokee should plan to stop at the refuge to view the exhibits. An excellent campground and rental cabins are found at Stephen Foster State Park, east of Fargo.

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  • boating
  • camping
  • fishing
  • hiking
  • paddling
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