Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge – 26 September 2020

Okefenokee Welcome Sign


Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, main U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service East Entrance, 11 miles Southwest if Folkston, Georgia, off Highway 121/23


September 26th, 2020 
6:00 AM Departure from Jacksonville, 8:30 AM Boat Tour 

Registration Deadline:

September 21st, 2020

Information about the upcoming outing From Rebecca, our Outings Chair:

If members are interested I would like to plan a Ninety minute private boat tour.  We can book up to 10 in one boat that normally holds 18-20.  Members will be able to distance themselves comfortably and safely.  We could rent two boats if there is enough interest.  The cost to rent each boat privately is $50 that would be divided amongst the number of the attendees. An additional charge is $24 per attendee. So, if we have 10 attendees in one boat the total cost per person would be $29 for a 90 Minute tour.  There are many photo opportunities in this area.  We would began the boat ride at 8:30 am. We will be required to wear masks getting on and off the boat and are asked to cover our mouths if we turn and face someone to talk.  Otherwise we can ride not wearing a mask as we will be distanced from each other.

After the boat tour we will do the Swamp Island Drive, visit the Old Homestead, and walk the Boardwalk and the Tower.  The migration begins in September so there will be many opportunities to see birds we don’t normally see.

We would need to depart Jacksonville at 6:00 am to take the 8:30 am boat. It is a two hour drive which includes parking, walking to the sign in center and getting on the boat.

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge 2700 Suwannee Canal Road
Folkston, GA

Directions from Jacksonville, FL area:

  • Take US 1 North through the towns of Callahan and Hilliard. After you cross the St. Marys River into Georgia, go about 4 miles until you enter the town of Folkston.
  • Turn left at the 2nd stop light onto Main Street (look for brown Okefenokee sign)
  • Follow directions from Folkston, GA listed above.

Members may rent their own motorboat if they would like to.  They would need to make their own reservations.  Call Okefenokee Adventures (912) 496-7836, talk to Misty and tell her you are a member of the Jacksonville Camera Club.

Updates as of 9/12/20:

Okefenokee has a cafe with outdoor seating.  If you are interested in buying lunch after the boat ride you can place your order in advance.  You can call 912-496-7156 and ask for a menu and place your order.  They will time it so that it is ready for you when the tour is over.

FYI - 15 have signed up for the pontoon boat tour.  We can have a maximum of 10 people per boat. If we get 25 or more I can get a third boat. We still have over a week for members to respond.  The boat departure had been changed to 8:30 so we can get the better light.  The Rangers have reported an increase in the presence of wildlife, especially migrating birds. Members must arrive in time to process their payments ($24 per person for the 90 minute tour) and pay their share (in cash) of the $50 upfront payment to Rebecca.  She will have a sign up sheet to record your payment.

We must be on the boat for the 8:30 am departure.  We cannot wait for late comers as it would reduce our time on the tour.  The entrance fee is $5 per vehicle.  Bring your National Park Pass for free entry.  The Swamp Drive, The Homestead visit and the Tower visit are covered in the entrance fee/National Park Pass.  If some members have signed up but do not show up and didn’t cancel within 48 hours before the outing they will still be responsible for their share of the $50 non-refundable payment to the  Boat pilots for the private tour.  The membership is asked to bring cash (a maximum of $10 each) to reimburse Rebecca for her upfront payment.  Looks like we will have a good trip.  Be sure to bring your masks for the boat ride and for any close conversations with other members. - Rebecca

Updates as of 9/22/20:

Hello Everyone, Thank you all for your interest in this outing.  In the event of a rainy day the outing will be postponed to the next possible available Saturday date. The forecast is Partly Cloudy in the AM and 50% Scattered Thunderstorms in the afternoon.  We should have enough time of clear weather to have a successful outing before the storms, if they even happen. We have 26 people signed up and 3 boats reserved.  If you do not call ahead to purchase your ticket please arrive no later than 8:00 am (it is a minimum of 1-1/2 drive) for processing your payments. (See explicit driving directions below).  There will be a list of attendees on a brown clipboard next to the cashier.  Please initial next to your name so I know you have arrived. The Boats will depart Promptly at 8:30 am! Please do not miss them.
Please advise that, when they call, they should mentioned that they're calling to prepay for the Jacksonville Camera Club tour.
We will collect their: Name and phone number, Credit Card number, Expiration Date, 3 digit security code

Numerical portion of their street address and Zip code”.  If anyone needs to cancel and expects a refund they will need to call 912-496-7156 by 7:00 pm on Sept. 25th.  On Saturday last minute no shows (who did not cancel by Sept. 25 by calling Joy at the number above) will be held accountable for their share of the  cost of reserving their boat (max of ($10) because the total cost for each person for the tour depended on the number of attendees will affect the per person cost.  If you do not show Rebecca will have to pay and expects it to be reimbursed by you. Upon arrival There is NO NEED to see Rebecca to pay cash for the boats because the management has included it in your ticket payment. The final cost for the private boat reservation, cost of the tour and $2 gratuity for the boat pilots equals $34.67 per person total cost.  There’s an 8 mile long driving trail – Swamp Island Drive. There are numerous walking trails off of the drive, an historic swamper homestead and a ¾ mile long boardwalk that ends at a 50’ observation tower. You can call ahead of time to purchase your tickets.  Call 912-496-7156.  The cost for the entrance to the park is $5 per vehicle unless you have a National Park pass and then it is free.

The ranger sent specific directions below.  Please read them in their entirety so you do not go to the wrong entrance:

Also, please make sure that everyone knows how to get here. There always seems to be a few who don’t make it here.

I’ll be running everyone’s credit card first thing in the morning on Saturday. Once this is done, there will be NO refunds. So, if anyone has to cancel and expects a refund, they will need to call by 7pm Friday evening.  I’m glad there’s going to be such a great turnout!

You might want to include the directions/information below:

You’ll be meeting us here are Okefenokee Adventures. You’ll see our building in the parking lot next to the boat basin. We’re located inside the main entrance to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge about 7 miles south of Folkston and about 16 miles north of St. George, GA off GA Hwy 121.

You can use MapQuest, Google Maps or a GPS with our address. We don’t recommend you rely solely on a GPS since some of them won’t get you here. If you do, please make sure your map or GPS final destination complies to the information below:

•        We’re located inside the main entrance to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge about 15 miles north of St. George, GA and about 8 miles south of Folkston, GA off GA Hwy 121. If you use a GPS, please type in Okefenokee Adventures and make sure the address is

4159 Suwannee Canal Road, Folkson, GA 31537

•        We ARE NOT located at the Swamp Park in Waycross

•        We ARE NOT located at Stephen C. Foster State Park in Fargo“

If you want to plan lunch at the park and eat in the outside seating review the menu and determine what time you would like to eat and advice the clerk and they will have it ready for you.  I am planning to eat at 12 noon when the light is not good for photography.  It has been so long since I have seen you I would love to have your company.

Please email me if you have any questions.  This is a lot of information but it will help to ensure no one gets list or left behind and enjoys the outing.  I look forward to seeing all of you there. - Rebecca 

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