Tour Georgia Series: Okefenokee Swamp

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{I used to do a “Tour Georgia” series on the blog; if you want to go down memory lane click here. You’ll see an itty bitty Moseby and MM. Makes me get a little teary-eyed, not gonna lie.}

This past weekend we visited Moseby’s birth dad in Valdosta {part of my New Year’s Resolution this year was to see our birth families–and we’ve seen two out of three and it’s only February, woohoo!}. If you are not from ’round these parts you may not know that Valdosta is in the very bottom (but center) of our state–less than twenty miles from the Florida line–whereas we live north of Atlanta. And while we’re in the same state technically, they’re two very different places.

Every time we go down to visit we say we’re going to go to the Okefenokee Swamp which is about 1.5 hours away from there, but never do. Usually it’s because it’s in the summer and if you think Atlanta is hot, you’ve never been to Valdosta in August. It’s humid and oh-so-hot and there are so.many.bugs. I honestly can’t imagine what the swamp must be like!

But since this year we were heading down to visit Papa D. in February (in honor of Moseby’s fifth birth on Sunday) AND MM is studying the five habitats of Georgia right now we thought it would be the perfect time to visit the swamp.

And it was. Low 70s, gentle breeze, sunny, no bugs (!!!), and not too many people. It was the perfect weather. And because they’re experiencing a drought right now the water level is low which meant there were alligators everywhere. EVERYWHERE. We had alligators coming out of our ears.

There are multiple entrances to the 500,000-acre park, but we chose to enter it in Folkston so we could take a 90-minute guided tour {they also rent kayaks and canoes} with Okefenokee Adventures. It was $63 for the four of us & well worth the money.

Here’s some pictures from our tour.

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The boat they take you out on is a 24′ Carolina Skiff. It seats around twenty, but there were only about a dozen people on our trip. Kids 13 and under have to wear a life jacket (Georgia law anyway).

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You start off going down the canal. The canal has the deepest water–on Sunday it was 4.5 feet deep (some parts of the swamp are just a foot or so deep right now, crazy huh?!). The trees without leaves are deciduous Bald Cypress–they’ll leaf out any time now.

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Much to Moseby’s delight there were turtles EVERYWHERE. That boy loves him some turtles! (These are Yellow-Bellied Sliders)february-13-18-19-tagalongs-papa-david-okefenokee_0020_edited-1

And even thought I don’t talk much about my love of plants on here {I do have a horticulture degree!}, I was loving the coreopsis that was blooming. The waterlilies weren’t blooming yet, but they’ll start in the next month or so and pretty much bloom all the way through until September. february-13-18-19-tagalongs-papa-david-okefenokee_0012_edited-1

Oh, and we saw alligators. At least a hundred. They were EVERYWHERE. Little ones. Medium ones. Big ones. HUGE ones. Moseby took this picture {hence the “out-of-focusness”}, but isn’t it a giant?! february-13-18-19-tagalongs-papa-david-okefenokee_0029_edited-1

We sat at the back of the boat, but you can see we still had a great view. And see that thing in the middle of the canal? Yep, an alligator we had to go around.

Here it is a little closer. I guess when you’re that big YOU make the boating rules.

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This is the “prairie”-part of the swamp. Prairies cover over 10% of the swamp. This is where you’ll find most of the lilypads and birds.

Want to play a little “I Spy an Alligator”? Each one of these pictures has an alligator somewhere in it!

february-13-18-19-tagalongs-papa-david-okefenokee_0008_edited-1 I made the first one easy for you. 😉

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I definitely recommend this trip! (I probably would suggest ages four and up because kids DO have to wear a lifejacket and some kiddos might be freaked out with the alligators, snakes, frogs, bugs, etc.)

HUGE GIGANTIC NOTE: We usually have great cell service with our carrier. C. travels every week for business (all over the country) and neither he nor I have lost service in almost three years…until this trip. All the way from Valdosta to Okefenokee (about an hour) we had no service (‘cept for a bit in Waycross) and then when we left the swamp we didn’t have any service until we got back to I-16 via Jessup and Dublin which meant our GPS/Waze did not work and we had to use a compass (a compass!). My suggestion would be to Mapquest it (to and from) and print those directions off and take them with you…just in case. That way you don’t end up in a teeny tiny town like we did on a closed road with no bridge…and no idea where to go. 

But at least it makes for a good selfie and a funny story. 😉


Oh! Oh! Oh! Before I forget! If you’re local and want to come paint some (wooden door) signs (with bows) with my friends and I, let me know! We’re getting together Tuesday, February 28th (5pm) and Sunday, March 12th (2pm) in Oakwood to paint with PK Decor. You can pick from tons of designs and they provide the paint and instructions and I provide the snacks! It’ll be fun! More info can be found by clicking here! (Between the two parties I’m painting an old truck with fireworks (4th of July), a Georgia cutout that I’m painting like Santa (Christmas), and a goat (well, because I like goats). )

 

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3 Responses to Tour Georgia Series: Okefenokee Swamp

  1. Denise Thompson February 22, 2017 at 10:54 am #

    LOVE!!!

  2. Laura February 23, 2017 at 11:34 pm #

    This is so cool! I’ve never been to a swamp but now I want to plan a trip!

  3. Natalie February 27, 2017 at 10:35 pm #

    I thought it was pretty cool too! And to know it was in Georgia?! Super cool! 🙂

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