When the weather is cozy and the air crisp, you know it's time to get out and explore the great outdoors. One of these adventures should include kayaking in Georgia at Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Because not only is this place beautiful — it's free to visit. 

Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge is tucked away in the wetlands of Lakeland and is a true local hidden gem. For your first kayaking journey of the season, you might want to head to this magical spot.

One of the more popular activities here is paddling, kayaking, and canoeing through the mirrory waterways. The glassy swamp will encompass you with its beauty and make you feel like you've stepped completely away from reality.

But there's so much more than taking paddle adventures here worth checking out, including fishing, wildlife watching, hiking, or even simply watching the sunrise and sunset.

Paddling through the natural wonder that is this cypress swamp will take you past tower cypress trees that are growing right out of the water to really set the scene for something enchanting. It almost feels like you've wandered into Endor from the Star Wars universe.

The swamp itself is approximately 1,644-acres, so you'll have plenty of places to travel around on your watery adventure.

You can bring your own kayak and launch your craft without any cost, as there are no fees to use the launching dock. But if you don't have your own kayak, Banks Lake rents them out for a small fee. 

A full day rental from 7 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. will cost you $35. For a half-day rental from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 1 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., it's $20. Either way, you're looking at a super affordable day out.

Grab a cooler full of your favorite drinks and snacks, rent a kayak, and be on your way for a day full of tranquility.

Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Price: Free admission, though you may pay a small fee for kayak rentals if you don't have your own

Address: 307 GA Hwy 122, Lakeland, GA

Why You Need To Go: This enchanting area in South Georgia will make you take a step back from reality. Take a kayak ride through a cypress swamp surrounded by a forest of towering other-worldly looking cypress trees.



Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your trip.

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