Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region


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Welcome to Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge




Bulls Island Beach Walk with Dr. Patrick McMillan Sunday, September 13th

Walk the Beach on Bulls Island with Dr. Patrick McMillan, world-renowned naturalist and host of Expeditions with Patrick McMillan. This tour is a special opportunity to learn about the plants and animals of the refuge. Sponsored by the Friends of Coastal South Carolina, the tour will benefit the Loggerhead Sea Turtle Program at Cape Romain. Call Coastal Expeditions at 843.884.7684 or visit to make your reservation. Information on the Walk.



Red Wolf Pup Jewell. Credit: Karen Soltis Red Wolves at Home at the Sewee Center!

The Sewee Center is home for six endangered Red wolves. Two sisters arrived at the Center from the Salisbury Zoological Park on November 1, 2012. On May 21, 2013 a male and female arrived from the captive facility at Alligator River NWR. The male sired six pups at the Sewee Center on April 8, 2014. Two male pups remain at the Sewee Center with their parents. Call the Sewee Center at 843.928.3368 or visit for updated information on the pups. With a population of approximately 300, the Red wolf is one of the most endangered animals in the world today.

Red wolf pup Jewell.
Credit: Karen Soltis




  American Oystercatcher eating an oyster. Credit: Felicia Sanders
  American Oystercatcher eating an
oyster. Credit: Felicia Sanders©

Established in 1932 as a migratory bird refuge, Cape Romain NWR encompasses a 22-mile segment of the southeast Atlantic coast. The refuge consists of 66, 287 acres which include a fascinating expanse of barrier islands, salt marshes, intricate coastal waterways, long sandy beaches, fresh and brackish water impoundments, and maritime forest. Points of interest include Bulls Island, Cape Island, and Lighthouse Island where two lighthouses, no longer operational, still stand.

The refuge's original objectives were to preserve in public ownership habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds and resident species. In recent years, objectives have expanded to include: managing endangered species, protecting the 29,000 acre Class I Wilderness Area, and preserving the Bulls Island and Cape Island forests and their diverse plant communities. Currently, the refuge is actively working to aid the recovery of the threatened loggerhead sea turtle.


Turtle Hatchling Video



Loggerhead Hatchling. Credit: Rebecca Gallagher  
Loggerhead hatchling. Credit: Rebecca Gallagher©  


Getting to Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge

The Refuge Headquarters and Sewee Visitor and Environmental Education Center, located 20 miles north of Charleston on US Highway 17, and Garris Landing (public boat landing) are the only mainland sites. As Cape Romain is a barrier island refuge, the remainder of the refuge is accessible only by boat. There is a public dock on the leeward side of Bulls Island suitable for craft 12 – 17 feet in length. The dock is first-come, first-serve. Large boats often anchor in Price’s Inlet, an inlet south of Bulls Island that separates Bulls Island and a state-owned island called Capers Island. Access to other refuge islands requires “beaching” of private boats. To provide public accessibility, the refuge contracts with a private company, Coastal Expeditions, Inc. to transport passengers from Garris Landing to Bulls Island (and other refuge islands according to demand).


  Painted Bunting. Credit: Marc Epstein
  Painted Bunting. Credit:
Marc Epstein©
  Great Egret with fish in bill. Credit: Steve Hillebrand/USFWS
  Great Egret. Credit:
Steve Hillebrand/USFWS
  Red Wolf. Credit: Tricia Lynch, USFWS
  Red Wolf. Credit:
Tricia Lynch/USFWS

Coastal Expeditions - Ferry Service

Coastal Expeditions, the exclusive concessionaire of Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, is a reputable guide service and outfitter in the Charleston area. In addition to providing ferry service to Bulls Island throughout the year, the concession promotes conservation and environmental education through interpretive talks and programs. Contact Coastal Expeditions for more information on their ferry schedule and other services such as guided kayak outings.


Friends of Coastal SC Supporting our national forest and wildlife refuges

The Friends of Coastal SC (formerly the South Eastern Wildlife and Environment Education (SEWEE) Association, Inc.), is a Friends Group formed in 1996 to support the missions of Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge and the Francis Marion National Forest. The Friends recently partnered with the Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin and Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuges. Learn more about the Friends of Coastal SC and how it is helping the South Carolina Lowcountry Refuges Complex.


Lowcountry Refuges Complex - News from "Life in the Wild" in Volume 7!

South Carolina Lowcountry Refuges Complex - The South Carolina Lowcountry Refuges Complex is home to four national wildlife refuges - Cape Romain, Waccamaw, Santee and Ernest F. Hollings Ace Basin Refuges. With over 115,240 acres, these unique public lands encompass pristine barrier island beaches, rich salt marsh estuary and riverine ecosystems, and forested freshwater wetlands. Learn about how we manage these special areas for wildlife and people in our Life in the Wild Newsletters. Get Outside! Our latest edition, Volume 7, highlights the importance of our collaborative partnerships- agencies, organizationsand communities working together to support our rich natural and cultural histories, promote recreational activities on the refuges, and assist in management efforts to protect our habitats and species. Enjoy the newsletter!


Life in the Wild






Life in the Wild Volume 7

Life in the Wild Volume 6

Life in the Wild Volume 5

Life in the Wild Volume 4

Life in the Wild Volume 3

Life in the Wild Volume 2

Life in the Wild Volume 1





Dominick House on Bulls Island. Credit: Weatherly Meadors

For the first time in 43 years, the Dominick House on Cape Romain's Bulls Island is once again receiving overnight guests. Hosted by Coastal Expeditions, refuge concession, the three day/two night weekend ecology trip has a focus on barrier island dynamics, the connections of human and natural history, and invasive species. A myriad of island wildlife and plants will be studied as guests explore the salt marsh, maritime forest and beach. Expeditions will be offered on the third weekend of October through May, with the first trip scheduled for October 18th - 20th.

In 1936, Mr. Gayer Dominick of New York conveyed Bulls Island to the Cape Romain NWR. Historically, from 1940 - 1969, the refuge awarded contracts to concessionaires who offered Bulls Island visitors lodging and meals at the Dominick House. During those 29 years, five concessionaires lived on the island with their families, providing quality services for those who came to the island to birdwatch, fish, photograph wildlife, beachcomb and archery hunt. Guests came from across the United States, Canada, and other countries including Finland, England, Germany, France, Sweden and South Africa. For more information and to register for an expedition, contact Coastal Expeditions at 843.884.7684 or visit Coastal Expeditions.

Dominick House. Credit: Weatherly Meadors  




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Last updated: September 2, 2015
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