Big gator beside the canal next to the road

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

On St. Patrick’s Day we left Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center in White Springs, Florida and drove about 50 miles to another park named after the famous composer. At the end of the road 17 miles from the nearest highway, Stephen C. Foster State Park in Fargo, Georgia is located in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge .

This is one of our favorite Georgia state parks and one we have returned to over and over through the years. There is just something I love about being surrounded by nature miles away from civilization.

The Okefenokee Swamp is one of North America’s most unspoiled natural wilderness areas. According to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge web page, “the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge has 353,981 acres of National Wilderness Area within the refuge boundaries.  In addition, the refuge is a Wetland of International Importance (RAMSAR Convention – 1971) because it is one of the world’s largest intact freshwater ecosystems.”

Indians who once lived in the area called it Okefenokee which roughly translated means “Land of Trembling Water.” The headwaters of the Suwanee River is located in the Okefenokee Swamp.

Going out in a boat is a great way to see the swamp but there is also plenty to see from land. All the photos in this post were taken as we walked around the campground, marina and on the Trembling Earth Nature Trail which starts at the marina. One section of the trail is a boardwalk through the swamp. This huge gator was sunning on a log beside the boardwalk.

Giant gator beside the boardwalk trail
Giant gator beside the boardwalk trail

The only man made waterway in the park is this canal which leads to the open water of the Okefenokee Swamp.

Canal leading into the Okefenokee Swamp
Canal leading into the Okefenokee Swamp

The canal runs beside the road and alligators are frequently seen sunning themselves on the bank or chilling in the water.

Alligator among the lily pads
Alligator among the lily pads

One of the other campers told me about baby alligators beside the road so off we went in search of baby gators.

Baby gator in the canal beside the road. Do you see the one in the water?
Baby gator in the canal beside the road. Do you see the one in the water?
Baby Gator on Lilly Pad
Baby Gator on Lilly Pad

Besides alligators, many other animals make their home in the Okefenokee.

White Tail Deer at dusk
White Tail Deer at dusk
Wild Turkey
Wild Turkey
Ibis in the swamp
Ibis in the swamp
Egret in the swamp
Egret in the swamp
Butterfly beside the trail
Butterfly beside the trail
Turtle swimming in the marina
Turtle swimming in the marina

Coming up in my next post – a ranger guided boat tour into the Okefenokee.

22 thoughts on “Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge”

    1. Ingrid, I guess I’ve seen so many alligators just lying around ignoring people they don’t scare me like rattle snakes who shake their rattles and look like the are about to strike at me! People were launching their kayaks very close to the big gator in the header photo and he never moved. The park ranger told us Hollywood has given them a bad rap as they are usually nor aggressive.

      I have joined you with computer woes although mine are self inflicted. Yesterday I spilled a glass of water on my laptop keyboard and long story short I have to send it in to make sure nothing is fried. No computer for about two weeks. ☹️

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      1. My only time around gators was at the birding center in Port A and that event left me feeling uncomfortable. Perhaps in time I’ll feel differently.
        Fingers crossed that your computer is well.

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    1. They were fun to watch. I kept wondering where the mother was. We saw her on other days but she was no where to be seen when we stood on the side of the road to take those photos.

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  1. It is amazing how little that baby alligator is! Those big ones would have sent me in another direction! Love all the nature shots.

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    1. Where are you on Strom Thurmond Lake? We have been to a couple of the COE parks and have friends who work camp there in the spring. You are not that far from Fargo but I don’t know how bad the mosquitoes would be in the summer.

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  2. As long as I know Zoe is safely behind a closed door somewhere, I really enjoy watching alligators. They are so prehistoric-like. I’m not sure how I’d feel about encountering a big one while in a kayak, though.

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