Frequently Asked Questions & Resources

FAQ

What’s the best time of year to visit the Okefenokee?

There are advantages to every time of year, but if you want to avoid mosquitoes and the heat, the best time to visit is from October through early April!

What makes the Okefenokee so special?

The Okefenokee is the largest intact freshwater swamp on the Atlantic Coastal plain, it contains a wide diversity of habitat types, and it is extraordinarily beautiful.  The Everglades are larger, but they have been highly modified by humans. If you like birds, flowers, interesting plants (insectivorous plants!), amphibians and reptiles, wonderful views, and a starry sky, you will love the Okefenokee.

What kinds of boats can you take into the Okefenokee?

Private outboards motors of 10 HP or less are allowed on most of the water trails within the National Wildlife Refuge.  Jon boats with motors can be rented from SCF SP and Okefenokee Adventures at the Refuge headquarters in Folkston, GA.  About half of the trails are limited to non-motorized kayaks and canoes.  All three main entrances provide guided tours on pontoon boats. 

How do you camp within the Okefenokee?

Camping is allowed by reservation and permit within the ONWR on platforms and some islands within the swamp. Please visit the refuge website at https://www.fws.gov/refuge/okefenokee for more information about camping within the Refuge

Are canoes or kayaks better for beginning paddlers?

Canoes can generally carry more camping gear, but are harder to steer for beginning paddlers. Most beginners have an easier time with kayaks.

Do people ever get eaten by alligators in the Okefenokee?

No alligator attacks on humans in the swamp have been recorded in the last 80 years. It is important, however, not to feed gators or try to touch them. Habituating gators to human contact makes them dangerous.

What’s the best time to plan for looking at the night sky?

A bright moon washes out the sky with light, so if you want to see a lot of stars, you want to look at the moonrise and moonset times and pick dates and times when you will be able to see a moonless sky. The Milky Way is best in mid-summer and also good in mid-winter.

Is the Okefenokee a National Park?

No, the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is not a National Park. The main focus of a National Wildlife Refuge is to preserve habitat and biodiversity, but providing nature tourism opportunities is also part of the mission.

Will mining on Trail Ridge make the swamp dry up?

No, mineral sand mining on Trail Ridge will not make the swamp dry up or disappear.  However, depending on how the mining is conducted, mining could divert enough water from the swamp to make natural drought conditions more frequent and more severe, and thereby alter the ecology of the swamp.

Links and Resources

Documentary – Okefenokee Protection Alliance (protectokefenokee.org)

EcoSense for Living | Okefenokee Destiny/Everglades | Season 6 | PBS

Georgia Outdoors | Okefenokee | PBS

GPB Education | Okefenokee Swamp Live | PBS

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge site

Okefenokee Park site

Okefenokee World Heritage Bid – Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge UNESCO

Stephen C. Foster State Park site

UGA Marine Extension Alligator Research

Visit the Swamp