Visitor Activities


  • Wilderness Canoeing

    Activities - Wilderness Canoeing

    A paddling trip through the Okefenokee is an experience that will be remembered for a lifetime. Alligators glide through the dark brown water, herons and egrets wade through tall grasses and water lilies, and bears roam through hammocks and islands.

    Okefenokee NWR is a haven for these and other animals — over 400,000 acres of wet prairies, cypress forests, and pine uplands. Most of the refuge is designated a National Wilderness Area.

    There are opportunities for both day-use and overnight paddling trips in the Okefenokee NWR.  For overnight camping permits, visit to view which overnight stops may be available during a time frame you are interested in.  Create a profile in BEFORE calling to make your reservation for a Wilderness Camping Permit.  Overnight Wilderness Camping Permits are available by calling (912) 496-3331 between 7 am and 10 am, Tuesday through Thursday (except federal holidays). Refer to the Overnight Camping Permits webpage for more information.    

  • Wildlife Viewing

    Wildlife Observation

    Endangered species and endangered habitat often go hand-in-hand.  Okefenokee’s longleaf pine forests shelter gopher tortoises, eastern indigo snakes, Bachman’s sparrows, and red-cockaded woodpeckers.  Trees with white paint rings indicate cavity trees of these endangered woodpeckers, and are visible along the entrance road and Swamp Island Drive.  Gopher tortoises dig burrows under or near the entrance road as well, where they graze in spring and summer.  Where there’s water, there are alligators.  If you look closely you may even hear or see babies.  Keep your distance – Mama Gator is a very protective parent!  Take a boat ride into the swamp to see turtles, birds, and more.   

  • Hunting


    Hunting is a tool used at Okefenokee to manage wildlife populations at a level compatible with the environment, provide recreational opportunities, and permit the use of a valuable resource. There are three areas where hunting is permitted seasonally: the Suwannee Canal Recreation Area (Eastside), the Pocket (Westside), and the Cowhouse Unit (Northside). Hunting opportunities include (vary by location): deer, turkey, small game including rabbit, quail, and squirrel, and also feral hog hunting. All hunters must possess a Georgia hunting license to hunt on the refuge. In addition to Federal laws and regulations, State game and fish laws apply unless they have been further restricted by Federal laws and regulations.

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  • Okefenokee Adventures


    Okefenokee Adventures manages the concession operation a the Suwannee Canal Recreation Area (East Entrance).  These partners of the refuge provide interpretation to the visiting public through guided boat tours, canoe/kayak and boat rental, extended tours, overnight guiding on our Wilderness Canoe Platforms, and more.  Okefenokee Adventures manages their store next to the refuge Visitor Center and offers gifts for sale as well as food for purchase.

      Call Okefenokee Adventures at 912-496-7156 today!

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  • Stephen C. Foster State Park


    The Georgia Department of Natural Resources manages the Stephen C. Foster State Park (near Fargo, GA) within the Okefenokee.  Offering boat tours, canoe/kayak rentals, boat rentals, campsites, cabins, and gifts for sale.  This western entrance into the Okefenokee is a "must-see".  Contact the State Park for more information at 912-637-5274.  

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  • Fishing


    Fishing season is year-round. The use of live minnows or trotlines is prohibited. Available species include bluegill, redear sunfish, warmouth, flier, catfish and chain pickerel. Limitation for watercraft is 10 hp.


    The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is a vast network of interconnecting habitats that support a large number of plant and animal species. This landscape depends upon water to exist and within the black water swamp rest dozens of species of fish. These masters of elusion offer a great opportunity for anglers of all ages and abilities to enjoy the thrill of fishing in a unique and beautiful landscape. Each of the refuge's entrances have good fishing opportunities. Fishing is permitted year round in accordance with Georgia State regulations. Anglers should exercise caution when fishing around alligators.  

    For a great place to reconnect with a favorite childhood activity or to try it for the first time, make plans to fish at a national wildlife refuge soon.  Find more information with our on-line Guide to Fishing on National Wildlife Refuge.

  • Photography

    Wildlife Photography

    Both professional and beginning photographers find a wealth of subject matter along Swamp Island Drive and in the swamp itself.  Screech owls raise photogenic families in abandoned woodpecker holes, and gators pose lazily along the banks of the borrow ditches or in the pond.  Orchids and carnivorous plants are sought-after, especially in spring when the pitcher plants, butterworts, bladderworts, and sundew have flowers.  Golden-winged dragonflies, blue dashers, and ebony jewelwings are great insect subjects, and the spiders and their amazing orb webs become very noticeable in summer and fall.  See our Facebook page for ideas on when to see various flora and fauna in Okefenokee.  

  • Interpretation


    The Suwannee Canal Recreation Area (East Entrance) Visitor Center offers a variety of programs to the public. Come out and celebrate nature at the refuge on special event days such as Earth Day (April) or International Migratory Bird Day (May).  National Wildlife Refuge System week is in October - a great time to visit your local National Wildlife Refuge. 

    In addition to programs presented by staff and volunteers, refuges use a variety of exhibits, signs, brochures, and electronic media to communicate natural history stories to visitors.  Printed and virtual information is often available on many topics, including plants and animals, seasonal migrations, habitats, refuge management strategies, and endangered species.  Special Use Permits are issued each year to trained outfitters to conduct tours on the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.  The 2018/2019 list of permitted guides can be found here.

    Special Events take place throughout the year and are a great way to learn more about the natural and cultural history of the Okefenokee!  Hope to see you at the refuge soon!

  • Environmental Education

    Environmental Education

    The staff of Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge encourages people of all ages to learn as they explore the Okefenokee, “The Land of the Trembling Earth.” A variety of interpretive and environmental educational activities and programs are offered for individuals and groups. Environmental education opportunities include the Richard S. Bolt Visitor Center where one can experience the sights and sounds of the refuge during an award-winning 14-minute orientation film, the self-guided Swamp Island Drive tour which winds its way through various habitat of the Okefenokee, the Chesser Island Homestead, walking and hiking trails, and over 100 miles of boating trails.  The refuge’s concession operation, Okefenokee Adventures, offers guided boat trips, boat rentals, and more. Special events are offered throughout the year; contact the Visitor Center for more information.