Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

Visit Us

Stretching eight miles along Delaware Bay and covering 16,251 acres, Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge provides habitat for wildlife. Four-fifths of the refuge is tidal salt marsh salt marsh
Salt marshes are found in tidal areas near the coast, where freshwater mixes with saltwater.

Learn more about salt marsh
with a mix of cordgrass meadows, mud flats, tidal pools, rivers, creeks, and tidal streams. The upland area includes forests, freshwater impoundments, brushy and timbered swamps, and fields of herbaceous plants. This diversity of habitats is reflected in the diversity of animal life.

The visitor center is open daily year round from 9:00am to 4:00pm, weather and volunteer dependent.

The refuge offers visitors a 12-mile wildlife drive, five walking trails (2 handicapped accessible), three observation towers, wildlife photography, hunting opportunities, a variety of nature and educational programs, and interpretative displays.

Know Before You Go

  • The wildlife drive is open from 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset daily.
  • The visitor center is open Monday - Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. year round and most Sundays (dependent on volunteer availability) from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • The visitor center features taxidermy mounts, an auditorium where visitors can view nature films, information on things to do and places to see, and the Friends Nature gift shop (operated by the Friends of Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge).
  • The visitor center is handicapped accessible and has educational displays and videos.
  • The visitor center is closed on Federal Holidays.
  • Check the website or call to find out about refuge road closures during bad weather and hunting season. During summer months, visitor should bring insect repellent and wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants.
  • To protect wildlife and their habitat and to provide the best opportunities in wildlife observation and photography, it is important not to disturb, injure, or damage plants and animals on the refuge. In fact, it is a prohibited act as stated in 50 CFR 27.51. This disturbance includes flushing birds and other wildlife or using mechanical or electronic devices to lure birds closer for observation or photography. Please remember to take only memories and photographs and leave only footprints.
  • Unmanned aircraft systems (Drones) are prohibited.
  • The Refuge Headquarters and Auto Tour route will be closed for hunting activities on October 11th, November 15th, and December 13th.
  • Dutch Neck Rd and the area around the Allee house is closed to all entry from September 1st - January 31st, except permitted hunters engaging in permitted hunting activities.


National Wildlife Refuges across the country provide opportunities for visitors to make their own connections to the natural world. 

Related Documents

Here are some PDF's to help you understand the refuge! 


Amphibian List Identification


Bird Checklist


Fish List


Invertebrate List


Tree List


Wildflower List


Board Trail


Forest Identification Key


Freshwater Identification Key

MammalslistID (1).pdf

Mammal List Identification


Tree Identification Key


Saltmarsh Identification Key


Mammal List Identification 


Waterfowl Identification Key

Rules and Policies

The wildlife drive and trails are open from 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset with an entrance pass.

The refuge is open for nature photography, wildlife observation, hunting, environmental education and interpretation. To protect the natural resources of the refuge and to provide all visitors with a safe and enjoyable wildlife experience please observe all refuge signs and regulations in handouts and brochures.


Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
2591 Whitehall Neck RoadSmyrna,DE19977-2912
Refuge Hours
Year Round
1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset daily