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During the winter season (December-February) you will find flocks of migrating birds – Sand Hill Cranes, Wood Ducks, Ibis, and a large variety of wading birds. Most are found in the parries and are easily visible from your boat. Binoculars are a must for smaller birds.
Spring (March-May) is an exciting time in the Swamp. Baby birds and alligators are beginning to mature, water lilies are in bloom and the days are warmer and longer. Summer (June-August) brings more water flowers and an abundance of butterflies. Fall (September-November) is festival time. Check the Chamber of Commerce web site for dates and additional activities.
Alligators can be seen in abundance throughout the year, especially during the day while they relax in the sun. Babies are born during the late winter/early spring. Watch for turtles and other small animals often hidden by the underbrush.
The Okefenokee Adventures provides knowledgeable guides for travel throughout the swamp. We recommend a boat tour and for the more adventurous, a kayak or canoe trip. They also have evening cruises and overnight guided tours. For more information go to www.OkefenokeeAdventures.com or call them at 1- 866-TheSwamp.
Be sure to watch the 20 minute video at the visitor’s center next to the Okefenokee Adventures. They also have displays for the children and a small gift shop. Lunch, soft drinks and additional gifts can be purchased at the Okefenokee Adventures.
See our separate page on the history of the Okefenokee Swamp.
Folkston is located on the CSX Transportation double-track main line 40 miles north of Jacksonville, FL.
To many rail fans, it is known as the CSXT funnel out of Florida, or “The Folkston Funnel”. The train whistles blow as the train passes through Folkston. This is known as “Folkston Music”. The double track from Jacksonville to Folkston and north to Savannah and beyond is the Nahunta subdivision. Within viewing distance just north of town, the rails split. The Jesup subdivision cuts off and goes west to Waycross and on to Atlanta. The scanner frequency is 160.590 MHz for road traffic.
During a 24 hour period, train watchers may see as many as 60 trains or more depending on the movement of freight into and out of Florida. Four–eight Amtrak trains pass through daily, including the Auto Train which runs to and from our nation’s capital. Numerous intermodal and mixed freight trains travel thru Folkston keeping the Nahunta and Jessup subdivisions busy. These trains carry cars, coal, phosphate, grain and molten sulfur. The famous “Tropicana Juice Train” originating from Bradenton FL. andAnd traveling to Kerney, NJ is always exciting to see.
A covered train viewing platform and a covered picnic area for barbecuing delights fans who come to visit the famous “Folkston Funnel”. A rest room, picnic tables, benches and chairs are plentiful. And, as part of this city sponsored service, a scanner is active allowing visitors to listen to train engineers (frequency 160.590 and 160320 on your scanner) . Free WiFi service is also available.
In December and again in April, train viewing festivals encourage train enthusiasts to visit. Check the Chamber of Commerce web site for more information and dates. Mr. “Cookie” Williams is the founder of this historic area. Ask anyone at the platform and they will elaborate on this amazing man. The Chamber has a museum and a train room (thanks to “Cookie”) that is enjoyed by all the kids (big and little).
The Inn At Folkston is a perfect spot for rail fans to spend the night. It’s only a 5 minute walk from the train viewing platform to the B&B. Enjoy cozy feather beds and a home cooked breakfast featuring farm fresh eggs and local fruit. Ask for the Train Watchers Special.
For information about our Okefenokee Festival, the Train Viewing Festival, bird watching, Chesser Island Christmas pageant or other local activities, please visit the Chamber of Commerce web site and click on the event calendar.