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See what SUWANNEE RIVER ECO-LODGE FACILITIES are available.
This remote park is a primary entrance to the legendary Okefenokee Swamp -- one of Georgia's seven natural wonders. Spanish moss-laced trees reflect off the black swamp waters, while cypress knees rise upward from the glass-like surface. Here, paddlers and photographers will enjoy breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife. Alligators, turtles, raccoons, black bears, deer, ibis, herons, wood storks, red-cockaded woodpeckers and numerous other creatures make their homes in the 402,000-acre refuge. Stargazers will appreciate the particularly dark sky. Astronomy programs with an 18" telescope are sometimes offered.
Park staff offer guided boat tours at 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. Same-day reservations are recommended. More adventurous visitors may wish to rent canoes, kayaks or jon boats for further exploration of the swamp, including a trip to historic Billy’s Island. Fishing in the lake is excellent, particularly for warmouth, bluegill, catfish, chain pickerel and bowfin. Boating is dependent upon water levels. Overnight guests may stay in a shaded campground or fully equipped cabins. Because the state park is located within a National Wildlife Refuge, gates lock at closing and a refuge fee is charged.
Perhaps the most famous inhabitant of the Okefenokee Swamp is the American Alligator. Officials estimate that 12,000 of the country’s largest reptile live within the 402,000-acre refuge. To safely view these creatures, visitors should admire them from a distance and keep hands and feet inside boats. Pets are not allowed in boats, even privately owned vessels. Children should not play near the water’s edge. Feeding any wildlife is prohibited. Following these guidelines will help visitors have a safe and entertaining experience in one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia.
At the park's Suwannee River Visitor Center in Fargo, visitors learn not only about the Okefenokee Swamp's ecosystem, but also how buildings can be made from recycled car parts. Located off Hwy. 441 at the Suwannee River bridge, the center mixes environmental education with engineering showmanship. Inside, visitors learn that tannic acid produced by decaying vegetation is what gives the river its tea color, and that unlike other reptiles, mother alligators actively care for their babies. A third of the building materials was made from recycled content, including a retaining wall made from old dashboards and electrical cables. Call ahead to confirm hours of operation.
Because Stephen C. Foster State Park is located within a National Wildlife Refuge, gate lock at closing and a $5 refuge fee is charged.
Stephen C. Foster State Park Business Plan
Park Hours: 7AM–10PM (gate locks at close; no late entry)
Office Hours: 8AM–5 PM
$5 refuge parking fee.
Suwannee River Center Hours:
Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Access may be restricted after heavy rain.
Call ahead to confirm hours - 912-637-5274
ACCOMMODATIONS & FACILITIES:
• 80 Acres
• 9 Cottages ($125-$135) -- #5 is dog friendly ($45 per dog, max 2)
• 64 Tent, Trailer, RV Campsites ($25-$30) – cable TV hookups, some areas closed seasonally
• Pioneer Campground ($50)
• 3 Picnic Shelters ($35-$45)
• Suwannee River Eco-Lodge: -- (The Eco-Lodge has Wi-Fi accessibility and is located 18-miles from the park.)
- Conference Room (seats 100, $175)
- Meeting Room (seats 35, $100)
- Commercial Kitchen ($50, approved caterers only)
- BBQ Shelter ($25)
- Eco-Lodge Cottages:
#1 & 10 (sleep 8, $125)
#2, 3, 8, 9 (sleep 4, $100)
#5 & 6 - (efficiencies, sleep 2, $65)
(ADA cottages are #2, 5, 6, 9)
- Eco-Lodge Group Camp all ($800/night)
• Guided Pontoon Boat Tours - 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. - ($10-$15) - space limited, depending on water levels, private tours by reservation.
• Sunset Boat Tours / Wednesday-Saturday - ($15-$20) - Contact the park office for reservations and times. Four-person minimum.
• Canoe, Kayak and Fishing Boat Rental - 25 miles of waterways, Park Paddlers Club, call ahead to confirm water levels
• Boating – 10 horsepower limit
• Walking -- 1.5-mile Trembling Earth Nature Trail, Guided Hikes at 8:30 a.m. ($2)
• Bike Rental
• Nature Photography
• Astronomy - exceptionally dark skies, astronomy programs with 8" and 18" Dobsonian telescopes
Watch our video on the swamp.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:
• Boating activities may be restricted during low water levels.
• The park is located 18 miles from Fargo and 50 miles from a major grocery store. Visitors should bring all supplies with them and have plenty of gasoline in their vehicle. The park office sells drinks, snacks, ice, books, gifts and t-shirts.
• Cell phone service may be unreliable.
• Late arrivals are not allowed due to NWR regulations. Gates lock at 10 p.m.
Make a Reservation
- 64 Campsites
- 9 Cottages
- 3 Picnic Shelters
- 1 Pioneer Camp
- 8 Eco-Lodge Cottages - Reserve
- 1 Eco-Lodge Conference Room - Reserve
- 1 Eco-Lodge Meeting Room - Reserve
- 1 Eco-Lodge Kitchen - call 1-800-864-7275
- 1 Eco-Lodge Group Camp - call 770-389-7401
View by date
Billy's Island & Okefenokee Swamp Tour|
Saturdays 10 AM - 12 PM – Mar 8, 2014 until May 31, 2014
Saturday, Mar 8, 2014 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM
|Join us for a tour of historic Billy's Island. This island was home to Native Americans, pioneers, and lumbermen for thousands of years. We will take a boat out to the island and hike the short trail, about 3/4 of a mile, and view some of the relics left from times past. $15-$20 plus $5 parking. 912-637-5274.|
Billy's Island Paddle|
Wednesday, Mar 12, 2014 10 AM to 1 PM
Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 10 AM to 1 PM
Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014 10 AM to 1 PM
Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 10 AM to 1 PM
|Join us for a paddle out to historic Billy's Island. This island was home to Native Americans, pioneers, and lumbermen for thousands of years. We will paddle out to the island, hike the short trail, about 3/4 of a mile, and view some of the relics left from times past. Sign up 48 hours in advance. 4 person minimum. Moderate difficulty. $30 plus $5 parking. 912-637-5274.|
Paddle to Minnie's Shelter|
Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 10 AM to 2 PM
Wednesday, Apr 2, 2014 10 AM to 2 PM
Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 10 AM to 2 PM
Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014 10 AM to 2 PM
|For the more adventurous visitors, join us for an 8 mile round trip paddle that will take us from the park to Minnie's Lake Shelter. Learn about some of the plants and animals that inhabit the swamp along the way. The trip will be led by 2 ACA certified guides. Pack a lunch. Sign up 48 hours in advance. Moderate difficulty. 4 person minimum. $40 plus $5 parking. 912-637-5274.|
Suwannee River Visitor Center's Eggstraordinary Easter|
Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 1 PM to 5 PM
|The afternoon will be full of games, live animal programs and, of course, an Easter Egg Hunt. The hunt will begin at 2 p.m., but come early to make a milk jug into an Easter basket. $5 parking. 912-637-5274.|