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Serving as the seat of Ware County, Waycross, Georgia is a historic city that was first settled around 1820 as “Old Nine.” It was renamed Tebeauville in 1857 before being incorporated as “Way Cross” in 1874 due to its location at the meeting point of six railway lines.
Waycross was famously home to author and conservationist Laura S. Walker who promoted the establishment of forest parks in the region and was later honored with her own. Its proximity to these natural reserves and a good choice of family-friendly campgrounds makes it a popular place to rent an RV while exploring southern Georgia.
Pick up your camper rental in Waycross and drive south to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, which protects the 438,000-acre Okefenokee Swamp. Its name translates from a Native American word meaning “trembling earth” and provides a home for more than 600 plant species, 230 bird species, and 50 mammal species, together with amphibians that are bio-indicators of global health. Stop in at the Richard S. Bolt Visitor Center to learn about the local ecology, then head out to explore while hiking, canoeing, or boating to spot raccoons, alligators, white-tailed deer, and endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers.
Just across the border near Hillard, Florida is the Ralph E Simmons State Forest, which was named as a memorial to a former board member of the St. Johns River Water Management District. The forest is both a recreational destination and managed for its ecological significance, with two oxbow lakes, cypress forests, and swamps that support a variety of wildlife. Explore the herb bogs, ravines, and low pinelands on foot while keeping an eye out for gopher tortoises, wild turkeys, and bobcats.
Another destination that wildlife lovers shouldn’t miss is the Altamaha Wildlife Management Area, which encompasses around 30,000 acres where the Altahama River meets the North Atlantic Ocean. It’s one of the premier destinations for waterfowl spotting in Georgia, with a network of hiking trails and boat launches that provide access to the waterways. The reserve is located just south of the Sapelo Island Wildlife Management Area, a 16,500-acre island that’s best explored by canoe or along one of the short nature trails.
Pick up your RV trailer rental in Waycross, GA, and pull into one of the full hookup 30 or 50-amp service sites at the R & M Park, which is located between Waycross and the Laura S. Walker State Park. Pets are permitted on a leash and can access the park’s pet area, with Wi-Fi also available for campers to use.
You can also camp inside the scenic Laura S. Walker State Park, with 44 sites available near its 120-acre lake. There’s a children’s playground and dog park where your four-legged friends can run free, as well as direct access to plenty of hiking trails and a championship 18-hole golf course.
A little farther out near Folkston is the Okefenokee RV Park, a small RV campground with 50 full hookup sites, an on-site restaurant, showers, restrooms, and a coin-operated laundry facility. It’s pet-friendly and offers military discounts, with a recreation room and complimentary wireless internet access also available.
Park your RV rental near Waycross and head to Southern Forest World, an industrial museum that’s situated on the edge of Winona Park. It details the history of forestry in the southeastern United States, from early logging ventures in the Okefenokee Swamp to the modern techniques that are employed in tree farming today. Meet the “Talking Tree” and clamber aboard a locomotive train that was once used in logging operations, then come face-to-face with “Stuckie,” the mummified dog.
Adjacent lies the Okefenokee Heritage Center, which details the people and events that have shaped the history of the region. It nestles amidst 20 acres of pine woodlands, with exhibits that showcase the Native American tribes that have inhabited Ware County and the contributions of African Americans to the region. See the early 19th-century Hilliard House that was once occupied by a leader during the Indian Wars or coincide your visit within one of the seasonal events that regularly take place here.
Waycross is home to numerous supermarkets where you can stock up on grocery supplies, as well as plenty of restaurants and fast food eateries for dining out. There are also gas stations if you need to fill up your motorhome rental in Waycross.
Whether you’re visiting Ware County for its rich history or wildlife-filled wetlands, book an RV in Waycross, Georgia, and start exploring.