The refuge office and visitor center is open Monday through Friday, 7:00 am until 3:30 pm.
The refuge’s paved Visitors Drive, along with 140 miles of earthen and gravel roads, provides access for wildlife observation and photography. All refuge roads are open to vehicular traffic except those marked "Authorized Vehicles Only" or those that have been blocked. All areas of the refuge are open to foot traffic except those posted "Closed to Public Entry". Please do not block any refuge gates.
Lake Bee Recreation Area: Enjoy fishing, hiking, wildlife observation, and picnicking in this area. Three picnic shelters and dozens of tables, along with restrooms, are available. The lake edge provides good birding. Notable plants and animals found in this area include brown-headed nuthatches, several carnivorous plants, and the rare Pine Barrens tree frog, which may be heard from the Pitcher Plant Overlook on the west end of the lake. Nearby Pool H and Triple Lakes host wood ducks and other waterfowl in appropriate seasons.
Martin’s Lake Recreation Area: Picnic table, trails, boat ramp, and accessible photo blind and overlook. The lake edges provide excellent conditions for observing wading birds, otters, and small mammals.
Oxpen Recreation Area: Home to white tailed deer, turkey, hawks, waterfowl, and small mammals. It is also a popular fishing area and home to a variety of wildflowers. The seepage bog near Oxpen Lake 1 includes a large population of pitcher plants. An observation deck provides a scenic view. Listen for the characteristic call of the bobwhite quail May through July.
Pool A Recreation Area:
- Woodland Pond Trail - One mile; passes through wetlands, upland pine habitat, and a small open area. Good area for songbirds; terminus connect with Longleaf Pine Interpretive Trail across the Wildlife Drive.
- Longleaf Pine Interpretive Trail - This 1/4 mile trail with interpretive signage focuses on the longleaf pine ecosystem.
- Red-cockaded Woodpecker (RCW) Viewing Area - April through June, this observation area provides good opportunities for viewing red-cockaded woodpecker nesting and foraging activity. Please minimize disturbance to these endangered birds by staying at least 100 feet from cavity trees. All known activity trees are marked with a white band of paint at eye level. In addition to RCW viewing, this area is an excellent example of the desired future conditions for the longleaf pine ecosystem - open, park-like habitat with multiple ages of longleaf pine and grasses, forbs and wildflowers as groundcover.
All areas of Carolina Sandhills NWR are open to foot traffic. However, the following trails are maintained for public use.
Other Facilities in the Complex
Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
Rules and Policies
- The refuge is open (except designated closed areas) from one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset.
- Pets should be leashed or under voice command. Please clean up after your pet.
- Fishing is permitted year-round in all lakes and seasonally (Mar 1-Oct 31) in Martin’s Lake in accordance with State and refuge regulations. Martin's Lake is catch and release only. A South Carolina fishing license is required.
- Only boats with electric motors are permitted; gas motors are prohibited.
- Swimming and wading are prohibited.
- Hunting is permitted during specific seasons in accordance with applicable State regulations and specific refuge regulations. A free refuge permit is required for all hunts and must be carried while hunting, and is not valid until signed. Permits are non-transferable.
- Drones, camping, overnight parking, open fires, alcoholic beverages, and littering are prohibited.
- Federal law protects all government property, including natural, historical, and archaeological features. Searching for or removing objects of antiquity or other value is strictly prohibited.
- Please do not pick flowers or remove any vegetation.
- Trails are designated for foot traffic only.
- To make your visit more enjoyable, you may wish to bring insect repellent and drinking water.
Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge is located approximately 70 miles northeast of Columbia, South Carolina, and 75 miles southeast of Charlotte, North Carolina. The main entrance is on US Highway 1, about 4 miles northeast from the small town of McBee, S.C. The nearest larger town with full services is Hartsville, S.C.