John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge at Pettaquamscutt Cove
Northeast Region

Plan Your Visit

Hours of Operation:

The kayak launch area at Sprague Bridge off of Boston Neck Road/Rt. 1A in Narragansett (along with a few other shoreline access points) is open to the public every day from sunrise until sunset. There are no other developed visitor use areas on the refuge. The kayak launch area is not accessible by wheelchair or stroller.

The Trustom Pond Contact Station, in nearby South Kingstown, is the closest U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service facility with more information on the John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge at Pettaquamscutt Cove. The Trustom Pond Contact Station would also make an excellent "next stop" on your tour and exploration of the wildlife refuges of Rhode Island. For directions to the Trustom Pond Contact Station, click on the following link and go to Driving Directions under Quick Links: Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge. The contact station is open every day during hours when there are volunteers available to staff the station. Generally the hours are 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM every day. Sometimes our volunteers will be out on the trails assisting other visitors, and the contact station may be temporarilty closed while they are away. The trails are always open during daylight hours, regardless of whether the contact station is open or not.

Kettle Pond Visitor Center is another great place to become familiar with (or to review) the habitats and wildlife you'll see at John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge at Pettaquamscutt Cove. It's located further south on Rt. 1 than the Trustom Pond Contact Station (in Charlestown, RI), and is open everday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Please call ahead for very infrequent and unexpected closures of the visitor center or refuges, and the current weather conditions (401-364-9124). Click on the following link for more information and directions: Kettle Pond Visitor Center.


Pets are not allowed on the refuges, except at Kettle Pond Visitor Center. Pets, most notably dogs, present a threat to many animals including birds, even leashed and well-behaved dogs look like predators to other animals. The presence of dogs may alter a bird's feeding or breeding activity. This disruption may drive the birds away, which is not allowed in our enabling legislation and approved plans. We do allow leaashed dogs on the trail at Kettle Pond Visitor Center because we are not managing for ground-nesting birds in that small area of Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge. However, that is the only place on all five refuges in Rhode Island where we allow pets on the trails.

Helpful Health Hints

Too often visitors take home unpleasant memories of their refuge experience because they have not been dressed appropriately or sufficiently protected against insects. For that reason, as well as for health concerns, we stress the importance of sharing the following “Helpful Health Hints”:

  • Dress appropriately for the weather and call ahead for current weather conditions.
  • Insect repellent is recommended while hiking the trails. Please do a tick check after every hike on the trails.
  • Poison Ivy is a common sight on the refuge. It is relished by deer and over sixty species of birds eat the berries. All parts of the plant can give people serious rashes during any season. Poison Ivy is distinguished from other plants by its three leaflets per leaf and the alternate leaf arrangement.
  • Bring your own water bottles and drink plenty of water while hiking or engaging in activities around the refuge. Wear sunscreen and loose, layered clothing. Stop and rest frequently. Do not over-exert yourselves.

Group Visits

We have a classroom that can be used by groups for meetings during and after hours. Birthday parties and scout meetings are also popular activities at the visitor center. Please fill out the reservation form found by clicking here: Kettle Pond Visitor Center Reservation Form.

Other Helpful Items to Plan Your Visit

Refuge Brochure

Driving Directions

Visitor Opportunities

List of Wildlife and Plants



Last updated: January 10, 2012