Three Quirky, Cool Spots Near the Georgia Coast

When you drive along Interstate 95 in Georgia, you’ll see pines, hardwoods, and marsh scrub on both sides of the highway. What you won’t see is the Georgia Coastline on the Atlantic or inviting venues to the west. You must leave the interstate to discover engaging little hideaways just out of view from the interstate.

Here are three quirky, scenic, tranquil, and easy-to-access spots you just may come to love about 30 minutes to the west of I-95 at either the Kingsland or Woodbine exits.

Experience the Thrill of Train Watching at the Folkston Funnel

Nestled in the heart of southeast Georgia, fewer than 30 minutes from I-95, you’ll discover the quaint small town of Folkston. Here, you’ll find train watchers and railroad enthusiasts who have gathered to view and hear a unique theatrical performance of freight trains roaring by up to 60 times a day!

Steeped in a rich tapestry of American railroad history, the Folkston Funnel stands proudly as a vital junction where two major rail arteries converge. At the dedicated Train Viewing Platform, benches await you beneath the solace of shade, framed by informative displays that shine a light on the majestic iron horses that thunder past. It’s a community hub where friendships over shared fascinations are born, and tales of rail adventures add color to every conversation. Railway radio speakers on the wall of the viewing platform broadcast engineer and control center chatter enthusiasts will love.

Amateur videographers and seasoned rail buffs find wonder in this special Georgia spot. You’re likely to see photographers with their cameras poised on tripods to capture imagery of massive freight trains that span three miles or more, each with its own steel and iron heartbeat and story. 

Folkston’s charm isn’t just in the trains that pass through but in the genuine Southern hospitality of residents who greet visitors like old friends coming home. You’ll encounter this local warmth at the train museum in town, where you’ll discover a treasure trove of information and memorabilia that chronicles the town’s intertwined destiny with the America’s railroads.What if you can’t soak up enough rail noise and views during a daytime visit? You can opt to spend an immersive night with these iron rail horses by way of a stay in the historic caboose at Railside Lodging. Here, you can drift off to sleep to the rhythmic lullaby of the sounds of steel-on-steel just outside your bedroom window all night long.

In the end, you’ll find Folkston isn’t just a place to visit—it’s a pivotal chapter in an ongoing travel experience and an evolving story of our nation’s nexus with railroads that unfolds there daily.

Where to Park Your RV

If you have a Class B or small Class C RV, you may park in the small lot next to the train viewing platform or along the streets of the town. You’ll find spots for larger RVs along side streets.

Escape to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Not far from Folkston, the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge offers a peaceful sanctuary enveloping over 400,000 acres away from the cacophony of the trains at Folkston. Here, amid the wetlands, islands, and woods, you can watch alligators languish in the sun and herons glide gracefully through cypress trees. This magnificent swamp has been a magnet for nature lovers for generations.

Why visit? The refuge is alive with a diverse tapestry of fauna and flora. From carnivorous plants to myriad bird species and even black bears, the swamp is alive with creatures great and small, providing a paradise for wildlife observation and photography enthusiasts.The park beckons adventurers with flatboat tours and rental canoes, inviting visitors to traverse the serene water trails or embark on hikes across picture-perfect wooden boardwalks. Lookout stations above the waters offer a different perspective of the area from above.

In the hush of the refuge, the only sound you’ll hear is the call of the wild— a tranquil backdrop to your adventure through the swamps.

There’s a delicate balance between tranquility of the swamp and a respectful awareness of the alligators’ presence. Keep a safe distance from the swamp’s edge. Many pets and critters disappear in the U.S. South in areas the ‘gators call home.

Camp in the Heart of Nature

While the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge offers tent camping, RVers can find solace and first-rate campsites at the Stephen C. Foster State Park, located nearby. The park offers spacious RV sites complete with full hookups, shaded by grand southern pines and live oaks.

At night, you’ll sleep to the gentle symphony of nocturnal sounds and awaken to a chorus of birds at dawn. It’s an experience that melds camping with the unspoiled wilderness, reminding us the finest masterpieces are often not found within museum walls, but in the splendid works of nature.

Come prepared with bug repellent — this corner of Georgia is an insect haven. It’s all thanks to the marsh and scrub in the swamp and the barrier islands along the coast where the insect larvae are sources of food for marine life. To keep the bugs at bay, we suggest plugging in an electronic bug zapper outside your RV—a simple life hack for a peaceful evening.

Note that the campgrounds at Stephen C. Foster State Park are undergoing renovations that started in early March and are expected to take 12 months, so contact the park ahead of time for availability and information regarding the impact of the work.

RV Traveler’s Tip:

Are the headlight covers of your RV becoming a dingy yellow? A touch of Skin-So-Soft bug spray and a microfiber cloth will rejuvenate them. And, Skin-So-Soft is an effective repellent for Georgia’s annoying sand gnats, better known as no-see’ums.

This photo of a Class C Leisure Travel Van Unity presents a typical layout at a Georgia State Park—level, dirt-gravel landings with an adjacent grill, fire pit, and picnic table. Note the metal pole with hooks on the left—useful to hang bug zappers and wash-and-wear clothing. In this photo: the Kolomoki Indian Mounds State Park. Many Georgia State Parks offer waterside campsites.

When To Visit

You can visit Folkston, Okefenokee, and Georgia state parks throughout the year. Some services at the latter may not be available during the winter months. If you plan to spend much time in Georgia, consider an annual park pass. The cost is $20 for seniors (those over 65 years old) and a bit more for non-seniors. The pass will save you the daily $5 parking fee at all parks.


Train Schedules for Folkston

Railside Lodging
3742 Main St., Folkston, GA, 31537
Email: [email protected]
Tel: (912) 496-2255

The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
2700 Suwannee Canal Road (7 miles southwest Of Folkston), Georgia Highway 121/23, Folkston, GA 31537-7906
Tel: (912) 496-7836

** There are three major entrances (and two secondary entrances) to the Okefenokee, each with its own facilities and special character. From the open prairies of the Suwannee Canal Recreation Area (main entrance) to the forested cypress swamp accessed through Stephen C. Foster State Park (near Fargo, GA), Okefenokee is a mosaic of habitats, plants, and wildlife. Entrance fees are required (and vary) at each entrance. Plan your visit to the Okefenokee by checking out

Stephen C. Foster State Park
GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
30.82556, -82.36194
30°49’32″N, 82°21’43″W
Note: Located 18 miles northeast of Fargo at the end of Ga. Hwy 177. 
GPS directors often are not accurate; consult a highway map.
Tel: (912) 637-5274


Karla and Tom Talleur are retired executives and now work as travel content creators. Their stories connect the past, present, and future to inspire others and span an array of topics including culture, history, law, public policy, space, technology security, travel, and the future. Media appearances include Food, Wine and Travel magazine, Hellenic News of America, Travel World International magazine, and an array of print, radio, and broadcast media specialty media. You can read more of their travel stories at

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