Cay Creek Wetlands Interpretive Center is one of the best day trips in Coastal Georgia. Located at 189 Charlie Butler Road in Midway, the center has ample parking, picnic tables, and a boardwalk which covers several different ecosystems. It’s a place for reflection, as well as a haven for amateur naturalists, birdwatchers and anyone who enjoys the outdoors. Best of all, it’s free and open to everyone, through the daylight hours seven days a week. There isn’t an actual “center” as yet, but excellent interpretive signs located along the boardwalk provide ample information about the environment and its inhabitants.
Your walk begins in a freshwater tidal swamp, full of oak, cypress, and bay trees. Irises were already sprouting in January (below).
As the boardwalk reaches the observation tower, the freshwater swamp is intermingled with salt water. Almost a third of the tidal salt marshes on the Atlantic Coast are located in Georgia, along with many freshwater tidal swamps and marshes. Only specific plants are able to thrive in salt water environments, so the plant life begins to change, if subtly, in this zone.
A short walk up the observation deck affords a birds eye view.
Just past the observation tower, the transition becomes more obvious, as marsh grasses begin to dominate the hammocks.
In winter, you’ll see the red berries of native hollies (Ilex).
The last stretch of the boardwalk opens into brackish marsh, with the transitional swamp and marsh visible in the background.
Here, you’re surrounded by marsh grasses and can smell the salt in the air.
Native cedars, often covered in lichen, are scattered around the marsh.
This is the view at the end of the boardwalk. You’ll want to return!
Raymond Cay (1803-1885), namesake of Cay’s Creek.
This was originally known as Salter’s Creek but was changed in honor of Raymond Cay’s nearby plantation.