Waycross — Georgia’s natural wonder

08/23/2010
teaching through travel

Welcome to Waycross located in the heart of beautiful Southeast Georgia at the northern tip of the Okefenokee Swamp Wildlife Refuge – the “Land of the Trembling Earth!”  Waycross is a nationally-recognized Main Street City filled with Southern hospitality and charm.  From the historic downtown district to the swamp lands of the Okefenokee, there is something here for everyone.  image

Stop by our Visitors’ Information Center located in the Historic Rail Depot at 315 Plant Avenue and pick up a brochure of our self-guided walking tour through our historic downtown. The Visitors’ Information Center has complimentary information and brochures on all of the wonderful and exciting attractions associated with the Okefenokee Swamp Park and National Wildlife Refuge including boat tours and excursion train rides through the Okefenokee Swamp Park.  In addition, we are delighted to provide visitors with information and coupons for our 9 motels and B&Bs.  And don’t forget to step out the back of the Historic Depot to enjoy the sunshine and take in a bit of train watching as the CSX trains travel to and from the largest of 9 classification yards on the CSX transportation network located nearby.   The Waycross Rice Yard covers 850 acres in Ware County and contains about 150 miles of track.

Visit one of our three local museums.

The Okefenokee Heritage Center was established in 1985 as an art center and history museum dedicated to preserving the rich heritage of the Okefenokee region and its people for future generations.  Exhibits include a 1912 Baldwin steam locomotive with a baggage car, mail car, passenger car and caboose.  There are also exhibits on Native Americans of southeast Georgia, early settlers of the region, the region’s rich African-American heritage, Sacred Harp singing, and the history of newspapers in the region.  The OHC also features exhibits of fine art by regional artists which are changed monthly.  The OHC is located at 1460 North Augusta Avenue in Waycross. 

Southern Forest World is a museum illustrating the history of the forestry industry in the southeastern United States.  The role of forestry and wood products in colonial America, early logging in the Okefenoke Swamp, modern techniques of tree farming, the region’s wildlife, wood products, and the turpentine and naval stores industries are all included in the exhibits.  Visitors can also meet the “Talking Tree,” see Stuckie -  the mummified dog, board a small locomotive used in logging operations, walk inside a hollow cypress tree and lots more!  The Southern Forest World is located adjacent to the Okefenokee Heritage Center at 1460 N. Augusta Avenue in Waycross.

Obediah’s Okefenok is the third museum in Waycross.  It is the 1800’s pioneer homestead of Obadiah Barber, a legendary Swamper who was known as the King of the Swamp.  Since 1989, this homeste43ad has been restored and turned into a park listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Visitors can venture down a 1,100 foot boardwalk, explore the nature trails, or just stroll through the many7 buildings and museums on the homestead.  Wildlife observation areas also allow viewing of over 100 different animal species native to the Okefenokee.  Obediah’s is open year-round from 10 am until 5 pm and is located at 5115 Swamp Road in Waycross.

Visitors and residents alike enjoy outdoor activities such as birding, canoeing, and fishing in the natural areas surrounding our community.  If you are a golfer, you don’t want to miss the opportunity for outstanding rounds of golf at The Lakes – A Golf Course at Laura S Walker State Park.  The Lakes was voted the Best Municipal Golf Course in Georgia for 2009 by Golf Digest magazine offering outstanding golf at State Park prices.  The Lakes features a natural beauty rare in golf courses today. Steve Burns’ golf design was able to preserve much of that beauty by using native sand for the many traps and waste areas. Greens are undulating rather than tiered. Each fairway and landing area is defined with gentle, links-style mounds that accent the courses three large lakes. So natural is the course - and so close to the Okefenokee Swamp - that it’s not uncommon to see an alligator roaming the waterways. What better incentive to keep the ball in the fairway?

In order to see and do all that Waycross offers, plan to stay awhile and spend the night in one of our nine hotels and Bed & Breakfast Inns.  But whether staying overnight or just traveling through, Waycross will be a place to remember. So, come and explore the northern entrance to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge – “Georgia’s Natural Wonder.”

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Issue 18.3 | Winter/Spring 2017

Southeast Education Network

Our Mission: to reinvigorate the spirit of American education