The trails, wildlife drive and guided boat tours at the Suwannee Canal entrance (on the eastern side) of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge make this a great entry spot for a one-day introduction to the Okefenokee. But if you have more than a day, there is plenty more to explore. But where do you spend the night?
Being a wildlife refuge that is primarily managed for wildlife, there is only one campground within the Okefenokee and it is located on the opposite (western) side of the Refuge. And the overnight platforms within the interior require booking permits two months in advance. So options are limited. However, right outside the gate of the Suwannee Canal entrance is a private campground called Okefenokee Pastimes.
I had passed this campground entrance many times but had never looked into a stay. I typically stayed at Stephen C Foster or Laura S Walker State Parks. But these were quite a distance from our launch point. Needing an early morning start for our multi-night paddling trip in March 2022, I decided to try Okefenokee Pastimes… and I wasn’t disappointed. In order to avoid setting up and breaking camp, I booked one of the camper cabins. This little cabin was plenty of room for my daughter and I. In fact, we could have fit two more people on the full size bed and bunk bed! The campground was clean and quiet, and the staff were very hospitable. And the fresh chocolate chip cookies handed to us at check-in certainly sealed the deal. I’ll be staying at Okefenokee Pastimes again when the need arises!