Take a step back in time and witness what life was like for the early swamp settlers. Historic Chesser Island Homestead, located at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, was once settled by pioneers in the mid-1800’s at the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp. The rooms of this home are complete with traditional settler furnishings. See how the Chesser’s lived simply and worked hard by touring their syrup shed, chicken coop, corncrib, hogpen, and smokehouse. Surrounded by the home is a sandy lot that was constantly raked and maintained to spot any critter tracks and reduce fire danger from the swamp.

After touring the homestead take a hike down the Chesser Island Boardwalk through the cypress trees draped with Spanish moss. Visitors will witness alligators, a variety of wading birds, and possibly sandhill cranes. All four seasons in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge are full of variety, and you are sure to see something different each time you come! At the end of the boardwalk you will find Owl’s Roost Tower. At the top of the 40 foot tower a panoramic view of Seagrove Lake and the Chesser Wetland Prairie awaits you!

Pioneer Day

For a “Living History” experience stop by this historical site on Pioneer Day to see reenactments of the men and women of the homestead period in the Okefenokee Swamp. Demonstrations include sugar cane grinding, blacksmithing, quilting, soapmaking, thread spinning, and storytelling. If you still don’t feel like one of the pioneers, taste homemade pioneer recipes and listen to the tunes of bluegrass and four-note singing. A great experience for the whole family!

  • 2700 North Suwannee Canal Road
    Folkston, GA 31537
  • Chamber Member


The Charlton County Courthouse is located in Folkston, Georgia and is the fourth courthouse built for this county. It stands in the same spot as it’s predecessors, with the latest having burnt down after only 26 years of use. In 1928 a new courthouse was designed in the Neoclassical style using brick, stone, and concrete. The total cost of the development of this building was only $54,000.

  • (912) 496-2354
  • 1520 3rd St
    Folkston, GA 31537
  • Chamber Member


Established in 1914 the McDonald House is one of Folkston’s oldest business enterprises in continuous operation and still under the same management. Built by Folkston’s first mayor, Benjamin Griffin McDonald, created the first floor as a general store and the second level as a small hotel.

  • 3997 Main St
    Folkston, GA 31537
  • Chamber Member


Lydia A. Smith Stone Crews is known as the “Queen of the Okefenokee” for building an empire within the Okefenokee Swamp in the late 1800’s. Lydia Smith owned more than 30,000 acres and had a net worth of millions of dollars. Having lived life by her own terms, Lydia represents the ideas of Women’s Liberation and Female Empowerment before such ideas were mainstream. She was a truly iconic figure in the history of the South.

> Queen of The Okefenokee
> Lydia A. Smith: Queen of the Okefenokee
> This Magic Wilderness

  • Chamber Member


Sardis Primitive Baptist Church was constituted on January 7, 1821 to serve the needs of the growing population in Charlton County, GA. The church was moved to its present location in 1840. On October 13, 1856, Sardis was admitted into the Alapaha River Primitive Baptist Association. The roots of the Primitive Baptist go back before the split in the Baptist Church between the Primitive and the Missionary Baptists. By Primitive, these Baptist simply mean they worship as the first Baptists did. Also, their churches, services, and way of life tend to be simpler in comparison to some of today’s ways.

  • 2262 Sardis Rd.
    Folkston, GA 31537
  • Chamber Member