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St. Marys

The St. Marys River defines part of the border between Florida and Georgia, with the basin draining about 765 square miles of Georgia land out of its total drainage of 1300 miles. Its headwaters are within the Okefenokee Swamp, and the St. Marys River is another of south Georgia’s blackwater rivers, with an “iced tea” color thanks to the heightened levels of natural tannins in the water. The river was called the Thlathlothlaguphka by the Timucuan people that originally lived on the land (followed by the Muscogee), meaning “rotten fish”—but the area is still popular for visitors seeking camping, boating, and—yes—fishing. Continue exploring the St. Marys below.

Photo by Alan Cressler via Flickr. Location: Carter’s Prairie, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Charlton County, Georgia.


The St. Marys Basin is relatively small, but you can learn about big conservation projects in the area by checking out St. Marys Riverkeeper and the St. Marys River Management Committee.

Read about the St. Marys River Basin at St. John’s River Water Management District.

View EPD’s St. Marys River Basin Management Plan, completed 2002.

Learn about the EPD’s Fish Consumption Advisories online in the Guidelines for Eating Fish from Georgia’s Waters.

Photo by Alan Cressler via Flickr. Location: Green Trail, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Charlton County, Georgia. Alligator mississippiensis (American Alligator) are common in the wetlands of the Southeast, but please don’t try to pet them.


The Okefenokee Swamp falls partially within the St. Marys basin. Explore the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge or Okefenokee Swamp Park- and be sure to check out the River Basin Center’s educational resources for this massive natural area! Additionally, you can explore a number of beautiful parks on either side of the state line.

Other parks and recreation areas: Obediah’s OkefenokRalph E. Simmons Memorial State ForestTraders Hill Recreation Park

Photo by Alan Cressler via Flickr. Location: St. Marys, National Park Service boat, Cumberland Sound, Camden County, Georgia.


Learn more about the St. Marys, along with Georgia’s other amazing rivers, at Georgia Rivers.

Read about the history of the river at St. Marys Riverkeeper.

Check out the River Basin Center’s resources on the Okefenokee Swamp.

Explore Georgia State-Protected species by watershed at the Georgia Biodiversity Portal.

Photo by Alan Cressler via Flickr.

Map of the St. Marys River Basin. Created by Anna Baynes (UGA River Basin Center).