Top U.S. Flatwater: Southeast

Okefenokee Swamp: Southern Georgia

Just north of the Florida border, in the back and yonder region of southern Georgia, the Okefenokee sprawls pristine, wild, and very, very soggy. The name translates as "trembling earth," referring to the peaty, waterlogged soil. The peat stains the water an elegant shade of brown, a perfect foil for the lush swamp cypress, water lilies, and swaying marsh grasses. To paddle through the Okefenokee is to return to some primal state in the evolution of humankind when we shared the earth with an overwhelming array of other creatures. In season, expect to see huge osprey, herons, egrets and alligators. You'll probably encounter white-tailed deer and grand old turtles. And don't overlook the hundreds of smaller birds that pass through the Okefenokee: bring your binoculars and a field guide. The Okefenokee is the slow-moving headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers. The water may be moving slowly, but you won't mind. In fact, you'll often want to stop just to take it all in.


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