Cay Creek Wetlands Interpretive Center, Midway

Cay Creek Freshwater Wetlands Liberty County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

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.

Cay Creek Liberty County GA Freshwater Swamp in Transitional Coastal Wetland Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Your walk begins in a freshwater tidal swamp, full of oak, cypress, and bay trees. Irises were already sprouting in January (below).

Cay Creek Wetlands Liberty County GA Cypress Knees Iris Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

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.

Cay Creek Wetlands Intepretive Center Midway GA Boardwalk from Observation Tower Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

A short walk up the observation deck affords a birds eye view.

Cay Creek Liberty County GA Wetlands Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Just past the observation tower, the transition becomes more obvious, as marsh grasses begin to dominate the hammocks.

Cay Creek Brackish Marsh Intertidal Swamp Wetland Liberty County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

In winter, you’ll see the red berries of native hollies (Ilex).

Cay Creek Liberty County GA Native Holly Ilex Berries Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

The last stretch of the boardwalk opens into brackish marsh, with the transitional swamp and marsh visible in the background.

Cay Creek Wetlands Liberty County GA Boardwalk Natural Area Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Here, you’re surrounded by marsh grasses and can smell the salt in the air.

Cay Creek Liberty County GA Intertidal Transitional Wetland Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Native cedars, often covered in lichen, are scattered around the marsh.

Cay Creek Liberty County GA Native Cedar Coastal Wetland Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

This is the view at the end of the boardwalk. You’ll want to return!

Cay Creek Liberty County GA Protected Wetland Intertidal Zone Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Raymond Cay (1803-1885), namesake of Cay’s Creek.

Raymond Cay Namesake of Cays Creek Midway Liberty County GA Historic Image Photograph Via Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

This was originally known as Salter’s Creek but was changed in honor of Raymond Cay’s nearby plantation.

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