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

Things to Do

National wildlife refuges provide a variety of activities such as walking, fishing, bird-watching, canoeing, and hunting that offer the chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with our natural surroundings.

View Recreational Activities

Things to See

National wildlife refuges are world-renowned as places to see great seasonal migrations of fish and wildlife, iconic animals life bison and bears, and more ordinary creatures thriving in their natural habitats.

Passes and Permits

Some 30 national wildlife refuges charge visitors a nominal entrance fee (generally $3-$5 daily) to cover road and facility maintenance. If you are a regular visitor or would like to visit other public lands, you could save by buying a Federal Duck Stamp or an America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Passes, your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites.


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.

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.


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

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Martha Williams purchases a 2022-2023 Federal Duck Stamp with Assistant Director, Migratory Bird Program, Jerome Ford.
Get Involved
New Federal Duck Stamp and Junior Duck Stamp Soar Into Their Debut
Hunters, birders, and stamp collectors celebrated as the 2022-2023 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp – commonly known as the Duck Stamp – went on sale. The new Federal Duck Stamp and its younger sibling, the Junior Duck Stamp, debuted and are now available for purchase.
Coho salmon swim upstream from the Pacific Ocean in Washington
Wildlife Wonders
Life Along the Fish Highway: Fish Migration Across America
Fish are on the move and not just during Ocean Month each June! Yup, fish migrate in all kinds of ways – from oceans to rivers, streams to seas, within a single watershed, or even between deep and shallow water. Some fish travel just a short distance while others may swim hundreds to thousands of...
an orange butterfly on a purple flower
Interior Department Commits to Urgent Actions to Conserve the Monarch Butterfly
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Director Martha Williams and Senator Jeff Merkley joined science experts and policymakers at the first-ever Monarch Butterfly Summit in Washington, DC, on...
Fish Surveys at Baca National Wildlife Refuge
Endangered Species Act
Rescind Regulatory Definition of “Habitat” Under the Endangered Species Act
To better fulfill the conservation purposes of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (together the “Services”) will rescind a final rule, published in December 2020, which established a regulatory definition of “habitat”...
sunbeams coming through clouds over sagebrush lands in Colorado
Habitat Restoration
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to Fund Sagebrush Projects in the West
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced that the Biden-Harris administration will invest more than $9 million in fiscal year 2022 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds to support projects to restore and conserve strategic areas within the sagebrush ecosystem.
Oregon semaphore grass at one of the natural population sites
Habitat Restoration
The Burns Paiute Tribe and the Rarest Grass in Oregon
On an October morning in 2021, three Burns Paiute Tribe wildlife program staff, one USDA-Agricultural Research Service ecologist, eight volunteers organized by Portland Audubon, and one U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service archaeologist arrived at the mountain meadows of Logan Valley with shovels,...

Upcoming Events

View the upcoming events at our national wildlife refuge facilities.

Special Observance

Join Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge for Pollinator Palooza on June 30th from 10 AM- 12 PM at Penn Lake Library (8800 Penn Ave. S. Bloomington, MN 55431). June is Pollinator month, and we’re taking some time to appreciate all of the birds, bees, and bugs that we rely on. Play...

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Penn Lake Library

A sea turtle’s life begins with a struggle in the sand. Come learn what baby turtles must overcome to reach their ocean home. We will also share any updates about sea turtle nesting on Virginia Beach’s coastline! Please call to sign up at (757)301-7329 ext.3106

Dates: June 30, July...

Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Refuge Visitor Center

On June 30th, 1972, this refuge was officially established as part of the National Wildlife Refuge system and becoming America's first urban wildlife refuge! Celebrate with free archery, history walks, fishing, food, and more! Check out our takeover in the July edition of the Southwest Globe...

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum
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