Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
As the main entrance to the Okefenokee Swamp and the largest National Wildlife Refuge East of the Mississippi, the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is the home to many threatened and endangered species, such as the red-cockaded woodpecker, wood storks, indigo snakes, and a wide variety of other wildlife species. The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge’s main priority is conserving the unique qualities of the Okefenokee Swamp for future generations to enjoy.
Plan your visit to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge at the Richard S. Bolt Visitor Center. This isn’t just any regular information desk. Here, you can shop the gift and bookstore, watch an award-winning movie on the Okefenokee Swamp, and experience fun interactive exhibits centered around the swamp. Before the true adventure even begins, climb a tower into the cypress canopy, explore beneath the water in the Swamp Sub, listen to an animatronic storyteller, or simply enjoy the Swamp Songs jukebox.
Visit the refuge’s concessions, Okefenokee Adventures, at the Suwannee Canal Recreation Area (East Entrance). These partners of the refuge provide interpretation to the visiting public through guided boat tours, canoe/kayak and boat rental, extended tours, overnight guiding on Wilderness Canoe Platforms, and more!
The staff of Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge encourages people of all ages to learn as they explore the Okefenokee, “The Land of the Trembling Earth.” A variety of interpretive and environmental educational activities and programs are offered for individuals and groups. Environmental education opportunities include the Richard S. Bolt Visitor Center where one can experience the sights and sounds of the refuge during an award-winning 14-minute orientation film, the self-guided Swamp Island Drive tour which winds its way through various habitat of the Okefenokee, the Chesser Island Homestead, walking and hiking trails, and over 100 miles of boating trails.
We hope you brought your binoculars because the 396,000 acres of swamps, forests, prairie wetlands, and waterways provide habitats for more than 234 species of birds! You will find the best bird watching spot 40 feet up the Owl’s Roost Tower, this observation tower overlooks a vast wetland prairie. Drive down Swamp Island Drive and try to spot the endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers bringing food to their young, housed in cavities dug in live pine trees during the Spring. Love to see the beauty of sandhill cranes? Visit in the winter time!
Check out the Refuge’s bird checklist. This list was designed to be informative and simple to use!
Hunting is a southern tradition and tool used by the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge to manage wildlife populations at a level compatible with the environment, provide recreational opportunities, and permit the use of a valuable resource. Hunting opportunities include (vary by location): deer, turkey, small game including rabbit, quail, and squirrel, and also feral hog hunting. All hunters must possess a Georgia hunting license to hunt on the refuge. In addition to Federal laws and regulations, State game and fish laws apply unless they have been further restricted by Federal laws and regulations.
Reconnect with your favorite childhood activity, introduce your children, or even your children’s children to this outdoor experience. Cast your lines into the black water of the Okefenokee Swamp where dozens of fish species rest. These masters of elusion offer a great opportunity for anglers of all ages and abilities to enjoy the thrill of fishing in a unique and beautiful landscape. Fishing is permitted year-round in accordance with Georgia State regulations. Anglers should exercise caution when fishing around alligators.
Bring your camera and binoculars! Ranked in the top 10 Most Photogenic Swamps in the United States United States, the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and their wild residents are anything but camera shy! Canopying cypress trees over clusters of water lilies and wildlife make the perfect subjects. However, if you don’t mind the short 40 foot climb up Owl’s Roost Tower, waiting for you is a panoramic view of Seagrove Lake. Join fellow adventures online by using the hashtags #OkefenokeeSwamp, #OkefenokeeNationalWildlifeReguge, and #Okefenokee.
Wait, before you go!
The Okefenokee has TWO mobile apps to help visitors in their adventure. Be sure to download the free apps BEFORE your trip to see the most recent wildlife sightings and photos. The best part? Once downloaded, both apps work without cellphone coverage!
Journey down Swamp Island Drive and gather all of the clues about the diverse wildlife and habitat with a fun, scavenger hunt style game!
Discover Nature Wilderness
Navigating through water trails? Download the refuge’s entire canoe trail system and see your live location!