Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region
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Welcome to Hobe Sound NWR

Credit: USFWS

Credit: USFWS



Credit: USFWS

Credit: USFWS



Credit: USFWS

Credit: USFWS




Credit: USFWS


Credit: USFWS

Credit: USFWS

Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge, was established September 30, 1969. It is a coastal refuge bisected by the Indian River Lagoon into two separate tracts of land totaling over 1000 acres. The 735 acre Jupiter Island tract provides some of the most productive sea turtle nesting habitat in the United States, and the 300 acre sand pine scrub mainland tract is valued because more than 90 percent of this community type has been lost to development in Florida. Sand pine scrub habitat is restricted only to Florida and an adjacent county in Alabama.

Coming Soon...New way to purchase Refuge Annual and Daily Pass

Now you can buy and print your passes online before you arrive at the refuge or pay onsite using your mobile phone and credit card. Follow this link:  hobesoundpermits.com to purchase online or when you visit the refuge, look for the sign that instructs you how to pay with your mobile phone.

Refuge Annual Pass Example

Events and News...

Holiday Hours:  Refuge administrative offices will be closed on November 22 (Thanksgiving), December 25 (Christmas), and January 1 (New Year's Day). Refuge lands are open to approved uses including wildife observation, wildlife photography, fishing, and to envrionmental education and interpretation during daylight hours unless otherwise posted. The Jupiter Island Beach access area is a fee collection area where fees are collected for vehicle parking. Please refer to the fee collection sign located next to the entrance booth for fee details.

Fee Free Days:  To encourage Americans to explore America’s natural beauty, rich history and culture, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced fee free days in 2013. On these fee-free days and weekends, national wildlife refuges that charge a fee (Hobe Sound NWR Beach included)– as well as other public lands within the Department of the Interior – will waive entrance fees. Fee-free days vary by agency within the Department of Interior, see a list of DOI agencies.  Here are the Fee Free days at the Hobe Sound NWR in 2013.

  • January 21 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day),
  • September 28 (National Public Lands Day),
  • October 13 (National Wildlife Refuge Week) and
  • November 9-11 (Veterans Day weekend).

Prescribed Fire:
 Last winter, Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge planned to burn about 20 acres of Refuge lands south of the South Martin Regional Utility’s southern water treatment facility.  The prescribed burn was aimed to maintain scrub habitat and help protect the water treatment facility as well as our Hobe Sound neighborhoods from the threat of unwanted wildfire. Unfavorable weather conditions prevented fire managers from conducting a safe burn.  Over the next few months we are planning to burn the same 20 acre area (click on map to see larger image). Winter weather patterns (cold fronts and wind shifts) have arrived early this year and may provide a wider window of opportunity to conduct prescribed burns than we had last year...Stay Tuned!

Prescribed fire is very cost effective, reduces invasive woody vegetation, and helps to preserve rare and endemic plant and animal communities.  In the event of a wildfire, heavy fuel loads make firefighting risky and much more difficult to protect community infrastructure such as water supplies and utilities, as well as nearby homes and businesses.

Least Terns Nesting:  A large colony of least terns nested last summer year just north of the northern Peck Lake beach crossing on the Refuge's Jupiter Island Tract.  The Refuge closed the nesting area to all public access until the terns completed their nesting cycle this summer. Researchers recorded at least two successful nests and chicks were also spotted on several occasions.  The closed area was clearly marked with posts, signage and orange string.   Each nest is important as populations of beach-nesting birds are declining due to significant beach modification and human disturbance throughout their range.  The fate of each nest is truely critical to the survival of these birds. Least terns are protected under Federal (Migratory Bird Treaty Act) and State law (68A-27.004). 

Getting There . . .

The headquarters for the refuge is located on the mainland portion of the refuge on U.S. Federal Highway 1, two miles south of Bridge Road (State Road 708) and it is located 20 miles north of West Palm Beach in Martin County, Florida. At the headquarters you can visit an exhibit room, gift shop, environmental education classroom, and walk a short nature trail. The nonprofit Hobe Sound Nature Center, the refuge's cooperating association, operates the exhibit room, gift shop, and classroom. With more than 121,000 visitors a year, children of all ages learn about the beauty of these unique Florida environments and participate in turtle walks, summer camps, evening forums, and scrub tours. For additional information about the Nature Center programs please call 772-546-2067. To contact the refuge manager call 772-546-6141.

Prohibited Activites . . .

Please keep in mind that the refuge prohibits certain activites, including but not limited to:

  • -Dogs or other pets on the Refuge managed beach area of Jupiter Island. Pets on leashes are permitted on our headquarter area trails including the Intracoastal Waterway access trail; 
  • -Feeding, enticing, or disturbing any wildlife; 
  • -Taking of turtles, turtle eggs, or any other wildlife of any kind; 
  • -Release of any wild or domestic animal;
  • -Motorcycles, ATVs, or other motorized vehicles of any type; 
  • -Nudity;
  • -Fires of any type; 
  • -Use of metal detectors of any type 

Please call the Refuge Headquarters at 772-546-6141 for clarification or if you have any questions about activities that are prohibited on the Refuge

Last updated: July 24, 2014