Near Here

Newell Lodge & Resort at the Okefenokee Swamp is centrally located between the Waycross and Folkston entrances to the National Wildlife Refuge.

Explore the ecosystem. Go fishing in our one-acre stocked pond. Play badminton, croquet, bowl on the lawn, try the corn hole toss, pitch horseshoes, go on a scavenger hunt, ride bikes, or practice roping a dummy steer head in preparation for your trail drive.

Nature walks include information kits for children, designed to add to the enjoyment of a family outing. Here, they’ll use all their senses to make this short journey unique and memorable. End up at the old corn crib for pretend play.

Grown-ups may become attuned to nature in other ways, such as taking a hike with a camera or a sketchbook journal. Keep your eyes peeled for the unusually beautiful birds nesting in the region, look for wildflowers, or lie back on a blanket and find pictures in the clouds.

Come twilight, consider a bit of stargazing. Newell Lodge is surrounded by forested land, making it possible to really, truly see the evening stars. Borrow our binoculars or a telescope for better viewing. Of course, there’s no mistaking the glitter of the Big Dipper or the arrival of the Orion constellation in time for winter festivities.

Rainy or super hot days invite indoor activities such as family board games, good reads from the Lodge bookshelves, and a variety of arts and crafts.  Plus, the frog symphony here is unforgettable. Visit the old swimming hole, and pull up a stump. On rainy or overcast summer nights, hundreds of frogs can be heard serenading the mists. If the frogs are not performing, the violin hum of the cicadas will entice you to sit back and enjoy the solitude.

If you prefer nature, we recommend you check out the Folkston access to the Swamp, though the Railroad Boom architecture of Waycross is hard to resist. We rarely visit the Okefenokee without exceptional encounters with area flora and fauna. Enjoy the unique ecosystem while hiking, bike riding, or enjoying a walk down the boardwalk, through the prairie, to the tower over a lake.

Charlton County has an array of primitive, historic churches and cemeteries dating back to the early 1800s, and most are still in use. For the spiritually-minded, it’s a lovely way to while away an afternoon. A roll of white paper and a broad piece of chalk are perfect for rubbings of touching memorials.

Window shopping is still something we do. Whether you stay in Folkston, or travel to a nearby town, you’ll find a range of sweet local shops, antique stores, and other hidden gems for the adventurous shopper. Tell us what you have in mind, and we’ll share where you’re most likely to find it!

The Folkston Funnel is the region’s best spot for train watching. This stretch of track has inspired more cover photos for Train Dispatcher magazine than any other in the country. Whether you’re a train hobbyist, a fan of street art painted on the sides of cars, or a retired railroader, you’ll love hanging out with the friendly folk at the Folkston Funnel. If you’re a newcomer, don’t miss the Train Museum housed in the historic town Depot! Grab an ice cream sundae on Main Street while you’re out and about. Kid-friendly.

The Wild and Scenic Saint Mary’s River, home to the colonial earthworks Fort Alert at Trader’s Hill, remains one of the country’s most beautiful waterways. Known to be deep for its width, early visitors included Spanish sailing vessels which would moor to fill oak casks with the tannin rich waters that wouldn’t spoil on the long voyage across the Atlantic. Today, the banks of the Saint Mary’s embrace mirrored waters that flow inland like the Great Nile, reflecting sweeping vistas of tupelo, bay, cypress, and more.

A Little Further Out

Georgia’s Barrier Islands offer fabulous opportunities for seaside exploration. From the African-American heritage of Sapelo Island, the shell-laden beaches of exclusive Cumberland, to the driftwood beach of sun-drenched trees on Jekyll, to the floppy-hat sidewalks of Saint Simon’s Island, you can’t go wrong wherever you wander. Nearby Sea Island has been known to host the prestigious G8 Conference, attended by presidents and leaders from the world over.

Watch the international ships roll in at the Brunswick harbor, the state’s second largest port and home to a historic World War II shipyard. Or slip up to Darien, still a small fishing village, to see the shrimp boats dock at sunset and moor along the riverbank. Either way, stop for fresh, local seafood before you head back.

Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island in Northeast Florida. Kay’s brother-in-law is a direct descendent of the original, colonial-era Spaniard who granted the land that would become the township of Fernandina. Tour Fort Clinch early before the sun gets too hot, then enjoy a quick dip, a day of adventure, and a long sunset walk before dinner and home. If you love a bit of culture with your seafood, Fernandina will be a family favorite.