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.
Wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries host numerous conservation-oriented programs, festivals and events throughout the year.
Most places are free. A handful charge a nominal entrance fee. Sometimes fees or permits are required for specific activities such as hunting, camping or fishing.
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.
The Fish and Wildlife Service enters into agreements with a wide range of organizations at the national, regional, and local levels.
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.
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.
Outdoor Learning provides you with links to fun facts and info you can use for every trip to our refuges.