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“They need to explain more before sending you out in a boat”

Okefenokee Adventures
Ranked #2 of 6 things to do in Folkston
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Okefenokee Adventures is the Visitor Services Contractor located at the primary entrance to Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge - also known as the East entrance, Folkston entrance or Suwannee Canal Recreation Area. We offer guided, interpretive tours, canoe & kayak tours & rentals, walking & driving trails, full service cafe & gift shop. We cater to individuals & groups. Refuge Visitor Center has a film, exhibits & displays.
Reviewed February 21, 2014

We are from the north, and were interested in seeing the swamp. We like to kayak, so my son who has just turned 13 and I rented a tandem. I asked the man who set us up in the boat if there would be alligators, and he told me no. (When we cam back later and told him we had seen 4 alligators swimming with us and on the bank, he said, well it warmed up) We talked a bit about kayak vs, canoe and he told me about an experience he had with a cotton mouth or water moccasin that sounded scary. I told him I was afraid of snakes. He said, you won't be going into the bushes, so it wont be a problem.
Well, my son and I stayed clear of the edges of the canals. We knew there may be snakes there. We stopped in the middle of a wide area in a canal with trees overhead, so out of the sun, to have a water and snack break. When we started to paddle again, my son accidentally hooked a huge water moccasin on his paddle! It thrashed about and I would guess swam off as fast as we paddled off. We were very frightened. We then realized, and later had it confirmed, that the big splashes from things coming off the bushes were snakes too. We wanted to go back to the rental area as fast as possible, but we then had alligators swimming near us. We had been told we wouldn't see them, so had no discussion that we didn't need to be afraid. Were were very afraid as we were close to the water and I didn't know they wouldn't attack us until we finally saw one of their guides in a motor boat. Although it is a beautiful place, I would never go back. Had they adequately explained to us what we would encounter, it would not have been so frightening. We have been to many national parks where there are grizzlies, moose, or snakes and any potential encounter is explained in advance. I knew there could be snakes, but did not know they were swimming in the water. I thought the alligators were not going to be moving due to the time of year, and they were. Had they explained the situation, we would have gone on a tour boat with a roof and a guide. Their people were nice, but need training in what to explain to visitors. This may have been a better experience if the visitor center had been open, but the entry booth had a sign that directed you to go straight to Okenfenokee Adventures.

2  Thank happyarchitect
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jcampbell, Owner at Okefenokee Adventures, responded to this reviewResponded February 24, 2014

I'm so sorry you had this experience on your kayaking excursion with your son. I don't know who set you up in your kayak but what you describe is not how we normally operate. You should have been told that as the day gets warmer and sunnier, there would definitely be a possibility of seeing alligators. They will not bother you at all as long as you respect them and keep some distance. People kayak and canoe out in the swamp all the time and have no problems with alligators or snakes. Snakes are rarely seen and are not "falling out of the trees". Big splashes from the edges were probably turtles jumping off logs when you passed by. What you describe is highly unusual. I hope you'll come back to visit one day - please send me an email through our website. If you do and I would be happy to put you and your son on one of our guided boat tours so that you can enjoy the beauty of the Okefenokee in a more relaxed setting.

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Write a ReviewReviews (175)
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"boat trip"
in 12 reviews
"minute tour"
in 10 reviews
"sunset tour"
in 5 reviews
"bird species"
in 3 reviews
"pitcher plants"
in 3 reviews
"enjoys nature"
in 2 reviews
"water lilies"
in 4 reviews
"visitor center"
in 10 reviews
"spanish moss"
in 3 reviews
"flora and fauna"
in 4 reviews
"baby alligators"
in 2 reviews
"our tour guide"
in 11 reviews
"great guide"
in 7 reviews
"highly recommend this trip"
in 2 reviews
"excellent trip"
in 2 reviews
"wonderful sunset"
in 2 reviews
"knew his stuff"
in 2 reviews
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142 - 146 of 175 reviews

Reviewed December 7, 2013

We hired a boat for their 4 hour excursion. Our Guide was Jen. She was a local who loved the swamp and everything in it. She shared her experiences and knowledge. The swamp, canal and Prarie were beautiful. We encounted quite a few gators, two species of turtles and waterfowl galore. I left with my cheeks sore (from smiling). We took over 400 photos. Everywhere I found beauty. Thank you Jen.

1  Thank Janet P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 8, 2013 via mobile

Went down here for a day trip from Savannah. ( 2 hour drive). Had Charlie as our guide who was great! What a fun 90 minute trip into the swamp. I will be back to take visitors to Savannah here.

Thank Bish160
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 26, 2013

We booked a four hour extended swamp tour and would highly recommend it. Everyone we dealt with was outstanding, not just good at what they do, but really fun.

Our guide Jen had great stories and amazing understanding of the birds, plants and other ecology (lots of alligators) of the swamp. History too - the best of which was anecdotal.

You really need to take the time to see the place - four hours was just barely enough. I made a mistake in my booking and they went out of their way to make it work - "no problem."

Big fan of Okefenokee Adventures.

1  Thank two-guysSeattle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 27, 2013

My husband and I rented a canoe for the day ($30) and set off to explore the swamp. It was one of the most peaceful days of nature I can remember in my life. There were almost no signs or sounds of human life anywhere during the hours we were paddling. We saw a myriad of birds and frogs, a half dozen large alligators, a one-foot baby alligator (who was as curious about us as we were about it, so we checked each other out for several minutes), and a raccoon. The swamp water, trees, and vegetation are absolutely beautiful - the water is so still and reflective. It was a hot August day, but we'd applied insect repellent and weren't bothered by bugs at all. We were given a map and there are signs on the waterways, so it was easy to navigate our way around. Wonderful day. (Worth noting also: The bathrooms at the rental site are particularly nice for a park facility. There is also a store and a cafe.)

1  Thank Peggy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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