Okefenokee Adventures | Folkston, Georgia
Folkston GA 31537
Okefenokee Adventures is an experienced team of professional guides conducting tours in the Okefenokee Swamp.
The Boat Fleet
The outfitters boat fleet consists of 24-foot Carolina Skiffs with canopies overhead and includes a wheelchair-accessible boat. If you have special needs or requests for specific expertise, please contact Okefenokee Adventures and they will make every effort to accommodate you.
Tour routes may vary with water levels, weather, and wildlife activity. Every tour is different. Each guide brings his or her own perspective to your swamp experience. The staff includes well-known authorities on alligator biology, wetland ecology, and Okefenokee cultural history. Most of the guides have family roots in the Okefenokee, they were born and raised here, and several have been leading swamp trips for 20 years or more.
Visitors enjoy the opportunity to learn more about the Okefenokee on regularly scheduled tours on Okefenokee Adventures' 24 ft. Carolina Skiffs. These are flat-bottomed boats with ample seating and canopies overhead. They are comfortable, very stable and very safe!
The 90-minute tours run throughout the business day and are scheduled subject to visitor traffic and guide availability. They usually run on 1-hour rotations. You will travel along the historic Suwannee Canal through a tangled forest of bay, cypress, pine and shrubs, then out into the open expanse of Chesser Prairie. Naturalist guides will share their knowledge of the swamp’s natural and cultural history, tell interesting swamp stories, and identify plants and wildlife along the way.
Tours frequently encounter egrets, herons, ibis, sandhill cranes, red-shouldered hawks, and American alligators, as well as otters in the winter and wood storks in the summer and fall. Sometimes deer or raccoons are spotted, or, when a tour is really lucky, a bobcat or a bear. Wildlife activity varies with water levels, season, time of day and reasons known only to the wildlife, of course. The swamp scenery is always spectacular.
The first 90-minute boat tour usually leaves at 9:30am. During the months March – October, the last tour leaves around 5pm. During the months November – February, the last tour leaves around 3:45pm. Tours run throughout the day about every hour. There’s no need to make a reservation unless you have a group. Come to the Okefenokee Adventures building before exploring other areas of the refuge. You can purchase your tickets and, if you have to wait for the tour, you can visit the interpretive center, drive the wildlife drive, or have lunch in the café while you wait.
As the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge’s public use partner, Okefenokee Adventures is able to offer visitors the opportunity to experience the swamp late in the evening after the Refuge waterways are otherwise closed to visitor traffic. Tours travel into the swamp and out into an Okefenokee prairie sunset. On a full moon evening, you can watch the sun set as the moon rises. Tours always watch for wildlife in the approaching dusk and return to Okefenokee Adventures’ landing with stars overhead and the red shine of alligator eyes twinkling in the dark. These tours last around 2 ¼ hours.
Advance reservations are required for sunset tours. Sunset tours are frequently scheduled on weekend nights near the full moon to accommodate walk-in participants, but advance reservations are still recommended.
Extended Excursions by Motorboat, Canoe or Kayak
For people who want a more in-depth Okefenokee experience – both literally and figuratively – Okefenokee Adventures can accommodate you with advance arrangements. Join one of their experienced Okefenokee wilderness guides for an extended excursion deeper into the swamp.
These tours are especially suited for birders, photographers and naturalists. Extended tours offer plenty of time to soak in the scenery and relax while exploring the swamp’s beauty. Group size is limited to maximize the experience.
Advance reservations are required. Please call for group discounted rates.
Overnight and Multi-Day Wilderness Excursions
Okefenokee Adventures offers guided and outfitted overnight wilderness trips into the swamp lasting from one to four nights. For a lasting life experience in one of the world’s great wetland wildernesses, this is the ultimate Okefenokee adventure. Permits are required by the Refuge and all trips are subject to trail availability and water levels.
The one-night trips are great for the inexperienced canoeists or families with kids. The two-night trips usually begin on the east side and end on the west side at Stephen C. Foster State Park in Fargo. The two-night, 3-day excursions are recommended as they offer the most diversity in ecological habitat and wildlife observation. Depending on trail availability, the trip covers anywhere from 6 to 12 miles in a day totaling 25-30 miles of paddling over three days through pine, evergreen shrub boglands, wet prairies and loblolly bay and cypress forest.
The outfitter's most experienced guides lead trips, each with over 20 years experience in the Okefenokee. Guides talk about the cultural and natural history of the area, identify wildlife and plants and trees of interest, tell swamp tales and offer moments of silence in order to hear the sounds of the swamp.
Trails can be reserved up to two months to the day of the trip. So, for example, if you want to begin the trip April 15, the trails can be reserved no earlier than February 15. During certain times of the year, the trails book up on the two-month day, so the sooner a date is selected, the better chance there is of obtaining the reservation.
The swamp is always beautiful but different seasons have different highlights. The fall is a great time because the bugs are few, the weather is fantastic and fall flowers offer lots of color. Winter brings in the migratory sandhill cranes by the hundreds and, if you've never heard the sound of dozens of cranes honking away at the same time, it's quite impressive. Winter temperatures are usually mild but there are occasional cold spells. The sandhill cranes arrive late November through early February. Spring is beautiful but, because everyone wants to come in March and April, reserving trails may be difficult but not impossible. The outfitter avoids the summer months - beginning mid May-August - the biting flies are miserable.
Special interests and special needs may require special arrangements. Okefenokee Adventures is happy to customize an Okefenokee adventure whether it be a moonlight paddle or an overnight adventure. They are always willing to hear new ideas and suggestions.