A brown sign with ducks on the side of a road that reads Pajaro Observation Blind

At the Suwannee Canal Recreation Area (SCRA) in Folkston, GA, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge offers Swamp Island Drive. This is a self-guided auto tour “lollipop route” of a total 7.2 miles. Lollipop routes are routes that go in and come out the same way, but have a small loop at the end for seamless turnaround. Along the drive are 12 numbered markers that indicate trails, historic sites, and interesting things to be on the lookout for. Swamp Island Drive starts right before you reach the parking lots after the fee booth and takes you out to Chesser Island. You can get a brochure at the start of the drive near the Canal Diggers Trail parking area, in the main parking lot kiosk, or in the Visitor Center. These brochures will explain to you each numbered post you pass throughout your tour. There are places to pull over at trailheads and at stop number 4 is a pond which is great for viewing our residential alligator, as well as soft-shell turtles and yellow-bellied sliders. Please remember not to feed any animals on the refuge. Post 9 showcases the start of the “borrow ditch” as the ditch was created from “borrowing” soil to level the road. It is now filled almost-permanently with water and makes a great spot for viewing blooming water lilies, alligators and shore birds. Sandhill cranes and anhinga enjoy this ditch as a nice resting place. This drive will take you to the Chesser Island Homestead and Chesser Island Boardwalk. There is no running water on this tour route so have full water bottles and plan for no sinks. There are pit toilets with hand sanitizer at the homestead and boardwalk parking lots.