Opportunities for outdoor recreation draw millions of people each year to national wildlife refuges, boosting local economies. Many visitors enjoy hiking, paddling, wildlife viewing or nature photography. Others take part in heritage sports such as hunting and fishing. All these activities offer visitors a chance to unplug from the stresses of modern life and reconnect with their natural surroundings.

Plan Your Visit

Best Time to Visit

Our sites span all 50 states and five territories. Some places offer things to see and do year-round. Others are season-specific. Time of year often will influence what you can see or do. Dawn and dusk generally are the best times of day to see wildlife.​

Events

Wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries host numerous conservation-oriented programs, festivals and events throughout the year.

Fees

Most places are free. A handful charge a nominal entrance fee. Sometimes fees or permits are required for specific activities such as huntingcamping or fishing

Recreate Responsibly

To help ensure that wildlife and people thrive, please recreate responsibly.

Find a Refuge Near You

Ways to Get Involved

There are many ways to get involved at any facility in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Learn about the ways you can help out at your local refuge.

Partnerships

The Fish and Wildlife Service enters into agreements with a wide range of organizations at the national, regional, and local levels.

Youth Programs

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) enjoys a proud history working with a range of youth organizations to help young people develop academic, leadership, and citizenship skills.

Outreach

Since 2010, the National Wildlife Refuge System has embarked on strategically and collaboratively addressing the mounting challenges faced by conserving America's wild plants, fish, animals and their habitats in our rapidly changing world.

Learning Opportunities

Outdoor Learning provides you with links to fun facts and info you can use for every trip to our refuges. 

Latest Stories

5 spread-out people in lush area
Habitat Restoration
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: 2022 Annual Report
At its core, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a significant investment in the nation’s infrastructure and economic competitiveness. For the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the funding will build on proven projects, programs and partnerships that protect our cherished wildlife and natural...
A green hummingbird with white chest and red throat perches at red feeder
Nature out your window
You don’t need to go far, or even outside, to discover nature and its mental health benefits. The nearest window can reveal plants and animals going about their business undisturbed and free for the viewing. 
a grey and brown bird resting on a small branch
Endangered Species Act
Five species on San Clemente Island declared fully recovered
Decades of collaborative conservation efforts on U.S. Navy-owned San Clemente Island resulted in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s announcement today that five species – San Clemente Island paintbrush, lotus, larkspur and bush-mallow plants and San Clemente Bell’s sparrow have fully recovered...
Male wood duck sitting on teal-green water with ripples, facing right with an orange bill, green head and rusty chest
Get Involved
Where Art and Science Meet
Growing up I always doodled. I scribbled on everything and everything I could get my hands on (even things I shouldn’t, like my bedroom walls). It was how I was able to express myself and share the world through my eyes.
Female fenders blue butterfly on a small pink flower. Wings are spread out and you can see the brownish blue color on top with an outline of white on the wings.
Endangered Species Act
Partnership-Driven Conservation Gives Oregon Butterfly Wings
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Fender’s blue butterfly, once thought to be extinct, is fluttering toward recovery under the Endangered Species Act. Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reclassified Fender’s blue butterfly from endangered to threatened and finalized a special rule that makes it easier...
Highland Dam Removal Site on the West Fork River in West Virginia
Habitat Restoration
Fish show up after infrastructure 'glow-up'
Across the country, people are transforming and replenishing the landscape—creating new opportunities to connect with nature, improving safety around waterways, and opening river access to aquatic species.

Upcoming Events

View the upcoming events at our national wildlife refuge facilities.

Outdoor Activity

Guided bird walking tours will take place around the Visitor Center and Observation Building where you could see a variety of ducks, geese, cranes, and other birds.

No reservations required Meet outside the Visitor Center at 8:00 AM (Note: Visitor Center building is still closed for...
Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge
Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge - Visitor Center

Join us at the Kettle Pond Visitor Center on Wednesdays from 10:00am-11:00am for a story time that is sure to be great fun for the youngest of naturalists.

Nature enthusiast Claudia Townend will share a nature-based story, followed...

Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge
Kettle Pond Visitor Center
Outdoor Activity

Join Naturalist Louise Bacon-Ogden for a walk along the Shorebird Loop Trail.

Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Salmon Creek Unit - Visitor Center & Shorebird Loop Trail
View all Events