Roughly equally divided between Georgia and South Carolina, the sprawling, 30,000-acre Savannah National Wildlife Refuge (912/652-4415, www.fws.gov/savannah , daily dawn–dusk, free) is a premier bird-watching and nature-observing locale in the Southeast. As with many refuges in the coastal Southeast, it’s located on former plantations. The system of dikes and paddies once used to grow rice now helps make this an attractive stopover for migrating birds.
Bird-watching is best from October–April, with the winter months best for viewing migratory waterfowl. While you can kayak yourself on miles of creeks, you can also call Swamp Girls Kayak Tours (843/784-2249, www.swampgirls.com ), who work out of nearby Hardeeville, for a guided tour.
To get to Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, take exit 5 off I-95 onto U.S. 17. Go south to U.S. 170 and look for the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive.