The serum and glucocorticoid inducible kinase isoform SGK3 is expressed in the brain including hippocampal neurons. It is activated by phosphoinositide-3 (PI3) kinase and thus a putative target of neurotrophic factors. In vitro experiments pointed to the ability of SGK3 to regulate several transporters and ion channels including the AMPA receptor GluR1. In order to explore the in vivo functional significance of SGK3 in the regulation of spatial learning and exploratory behavior, we assessed the performance of SGK3 knockout mice (SGK3-/-) and their wild type littermates (SGK3+/+) in a place navigation task in the water-maze, radial maze in a battery of forced and free exploration tests, acoustic startle and a test for motoric coordination. According to water-maze and radial maze testing reference and working memory was intact in SGK3-/- mice. However, detailed analysis of swimming patterns of SGK3-/- mice in the water-maze revealed a deficit in precision and goal-directed navigation in space. SGK3-/- mice showed reduced exploratory activity, which was observed in several environments and increased centre field avoidance in the open-field. SGK3-/- mice further showed reduced darting behavior on open surfaces, indicating that the knock out may modify basic patterns of locomotion. In conclusion, lack of SGK3 leads to subtle behavioral defects which may result from deranged neuronal regulation of transporters and ion channels.