Okefenokee Swamp, natures treasure chest

Okefenokee swamp is a treasure chest of natures beauty and wildlife. 90 year old alligators greet you at the entrance located in Waycross Georgia

The Okeefenokee swamp is located in south Georgia and Florida.
The area is approximately 700 square miles and is the largest swamp in North America.

You can easily spend a full day or more in the park capturing a glimpse of the many species of birds, reptiles, plants, mammals, fish, and amphibians.
We entered the park in Waycross, Georgia 59 miles west of I 95 at the US 82 exit in Brunswick Georgia.
The park is very accommodating with a gift shop, information center, restrooms, boat tours, a train tour, 92’ observation tower, snack and gift shop, and a reptile show.

The signs throughout are a constant reminder that the animals can be dangerous, I understand the frequent postings because the setting is so serene that it would be easy to let your guard down.

As we approached the welcome center two alligators, one huge and the other medium size sat out in the open. They sit so still that I questioned whether or not they were real.

There is an admission fee, with several discounts offered including the senior discount. We passed on the boat tour because we did not allot enough time. The park closes before dark unless they are hosting a night event or light show.

The signs throughout are a constant reminder that the animals can be dangerous, I understand the frequent postings because the setting is so serene that it would be easy to let your guard down.

As we approached the welcome center two alligators, one huge and the other medium size sat out in the open. They sit so still that I questioned whether or not they were real or part of the attraction.

I was excited about the observation tower but it offered me a challenge. It is accessible by boat or walking through the swamp…yikes…they have a walkway that is about 6 inches above the water.  Of course, the release of liability required to be signed was only the beginning of my apprehension. My first time out there i just couldn’t do it.

Most of the boardwalk is high enough to feel comfortable and the animals mostly come out at night , but you never know..I doubt they follow a rule book

My second try at the low board I looked straight ahead and walked quickly. I was so relieved to see the steps going up at the end. On our way back I walked in front of my husband. When I got halfway I thought this is it, I did it, and then I heard the splash! I ran and then I heard a big splash! When I jumped up on the steps, I forgot all about Hubby. I called out for him and he didn’t answer because he was standing real still and quiet. Anyways, he finally came up a few minutes later and said “I think it was a small gator or a snake”…So folks if I go back again I’ll take the boat. Children under 18 are not permitted on the walkway and should not go on it..I ‘m usually not a scare-dy cat but this is the real deal, there are no mechanical animals here.

The observation tower is a treat for birdwatchers at 60 feet, but to take photos and see the view of the 25 mile radius on a clear day I made my way to 92 feet. You can see the blackwater winding creeks and way down upon the Suwannee River🎶

The tour guide on the train was very informative, and had a personal relationship with the wildlife. The dominant alligators have names and their behavior is monitored and studied. Mating season is in late March.

The reptile show was very interesting and I would suggest it for school age children.

Temperature was 65 degrees, and sunny. No bugs bothered us, and best of all there were no “litter bugs” the water was sparkling and only the habitants were floating around..

Happy travels 🙂 through America the beautiful…Share the good advise from the swamp

 

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Nature coast of Florida

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My holidays travels had me out and about and I found my way into central Florida.  The weather was just perfect at 72º, so I had the urge to jump into the Rainbow Spring. There were others that had the same idea and it’s pretty cool…both the idea and temperature.  You also have to be a little brave because you may have a close encounter with some of the natural habitants of the river.  The state park area has a designated swim spot and it is patrolled to keep an eye out for alligators or dangerous snakes.  We spent 2 days in Dunnelon, and found plenty to do.

The city and surrounding area has an interesting history of being a mining town for phosphate.   That was news to me but explains why this little city has some old homes and buildings.  Today, you will find a nice variety of shops, motels, restaurants and a lot of water sports…It’s easy enough to rent equipment or take a river cruise on an airboat.

 

To get a feel for the community and and the welcoming atmosphere get off the I75 and find your way to US 41 and see a part of the not so tropical Florida

Happy travels off the interstate…..it’s much more fun to experience the scenery first hand

Travel Florida for the Holidays-Ocala

Ocala Florida with its rolling hills, horse farms and crystal clear rivers, shows off the un-beachy parts of Florida

Two things come to mind for most people considering  a Florida vacation, first is DisneyWorld/Orlando and the second is two coastlines with miles of beautiful beaches.

This week I decided mix things a bit, if you have been reading my posts you probably figured out by now that I jump off those interstates as often as possible.  Without a doubt this week is one of the busiest times you can ever be on the I95, and I75  through Florida, Georgia, the Carolina’s and if the weather isn’t to bad all the way up into the Northeastern States.

Ocala

I traveled I95 into Jacksonville Florida from Georgia,  then cut over to US 301South. There are many small towns but the speed limit stays at about 55MPH for a good bit of the trip.  My final destination was the Rainbow River near Dunnelon, with of an urge to swim in the chilly 70º springs.  But today we’re stopping in Ocala.

Having only a short two hour drive to Orlando the sight of sprawled out homesites, split rail fencing, fresh water streams, and hills makes this look and feel so much different than the tropical scenery of most of Florida. Ocala is a small city with a preserved downtown area offering an good choice of restaurants, entertainment and local owned business.  We had an early dinner at the landmark restaurant named “Harry’s seafood bar and grill” , and yes I recommend it. http://hookedonharrys.com/menu-ocala/   

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The center of activity  was around Courthouse Square that was festive for the Christmas season.

And if you feel like “horsing around” , there’s enough of that too!

Happy travels…Get off the Interstates and visit the side streets…they are full of good old American charm..

Merry Christmas 2017

 

 

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