your paddlesports destination

Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia

Trip Overview

Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge, about 30 minutes east of Valdosta, is a quiet cypress-filled lake with a dreamy atmosphere. We put in on a Saturday morning (after a pleasant night at the helpful nearby Lakeland Inn) and paddled for about two hours. We were the only paddlers, and there were just a few bass boats. While there is no horsepower maximum, the number of trees and stumps effectively limits outboard size and noise. The launch site is off State Hwy 122, just a couple of miles west of Lakeland, Georgia. The web site is:

This is a very pleasant, tranquil paddling experience. The cypress trees offer wildlife habitat, and the further you get from the road noise of Hwy. 122, the more bird life you will see. We saw anhingas as well as tricolor and white herons in the brief time we were there. Other wild life comes with a more precautionary note. Be wary of the numerous wasps nests that hang near the water on twigs. There may be the occasional alligator; we flushed a six-footer when we paddled too close to a clump of cypresses. Despite that heart-pounding surge, however, this was an enjoyable, peaceful paddle. On a weekday, you would probably have the spot to yourself.


Exit 29 on I-75 (Hahira), go east about 15 miles.

  • Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip