Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region

    • Visit the new National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center or take a virtual tour of the wild locations it represents!
      Become a Fan on Facebook Refuge Regulations - pdf file Interpretive Programs - pdf file
        Refuge Regulations web page (Alligator River/Pea Island  
    • Refuge Facts

      • Established: Apr 8, 1938.
      • Size: 5,834 acres (land), 25,700 acres (Proclamation Boundary Waters).
      • Located on the north end of Hatteras Island, a coastal barrier island and part of a chain of islands known as the Outer Banks.
      • Approximately 13 miles long (north to south) and ranges from a quarter mile to 1 mile wide (from east to west).
      • Location: 10 miles south of Nags Head, North Carolina on NC 12.
      • Administered by Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge as a part of complex; Alligator River Manager supervises the Mackay Island, Currituck, and Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge Managers.
      • The Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan for Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is complete.

      • The Proclamation Boundary Coordinates.

      • Marbled Godwits and Willetts (Mike Halminski)



      • Natural History
        • Area was historically used for market waterfowl hunting, commercial fishing, farming, and livestock operations.
        • Refuge is comprised of ocean beach, dunes, upland, fresh and brackish water ponds, salt flats, and salt marsh.
        • Bird list boasts more than 365 species; wildlife list has 25 species of mammals, 24 species of reptiles, and 5 species (low number due to salt environment) of amphibians.
        • Concentrations of ducks, geese, swans, wading birds, shore birds, raptors, neotropical migrants are seasonally abundant on refuge.
        • Refuge has 1,000 acres of manageable waterfowl impoundments.
        • Several shorebird nesting areas and wading bird rookeries are located on the refuge.
        • Endangered and threatened species include: peregrine falcons, loggerhead sea turtles, and piping plovers.

        Financial Impact of the Refuge

        • 36-person staff (administers both Pea Island and Alligator River National Wildlife Refuges - see Alligator River Home Page for details....)
        • 2.7 million visitors annually.
        • Current budget (FY 03) $2,827K (Again, both refuges)
        • Numerous volunteers devote approximately 35,000 hours each year to the Refuge
        • Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is known as a ''Birder's Paradise''; birders are among the most affluent eco-tourists. Other eco-tourists include canoeists and kayakers, beachcombers, surf and sound anglers, and nature photographers.

        Refuge Objectives

        • Provide nesting, resting, and wintering habitat for migratory birds, including the greater snow geese and other migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, raptors, and neotropical migrants.
        • Provide habitat and protection for endangered and threatened species.
        • Provide opportunities for public enjoyment of wildlife and wildlands resources. Public use programs focus on interpretation, environmental education, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and fishing.


        For information about local accommodations, restaurants, and other attractions, visit the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau website.



    Last Updated: 5/24/13