The refuge is open seven days a week from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset.
Visitor Center: Starting May 1st the visitor center is open Thursday through Sunday from 8:30am to 4:30pm. October 1st through April 30th the visitor center is open daily from 8:30am to 4:30pm. It is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Here, refuge staff and volunteers are available to provide maps and checklists and let you know what's happening on the refuge. Enjoy the exhibits and take part in the many wildlife programs offered. Check out some binoculars or a field guide for the day and stock up on nature-related items, as well as snacks and drinks. Kids, be sure to pick up your adventure backpack for the day! The visitor center has restrooms open to the public. Want to See the Whooping Cranes?The best time of year to see the whooping cranes is from mid-October through mid-March where they may be seen feeding in the refuge’s marsh during daylight hours. Visitors can also enjoy seeing the birds from boat tours offered by private operators.Enjoy, Explore and Learn: The refuge offers many exciting opportunities to get out and enjoy the refuge. Environmental education programs, special events and activities are hosted throughout the year so be sure to check the For Educators, Just for Kids, and Events Calendar for fun things to do. Come Prepared: Need fuel? Should you bring a lunch? To get the most out of your visit to the Aransas Refuge, make sure you are prepared. Camping?Hopper’s Landing is the closet place to camp and it is three miles north of the refuge’s main gate. It has cabins, RV sites and tent camping. Call 361-286-3331 for more information. Other nearby camping options include Gator’s RV Park & Cabins (Austwell) and the City of Austwell Park, which accommodates RV sites. Goose Island State Park is about 30 minutes from the refuge and offers RV sites and tent camping. Directions: From the South: Follow Hwy. 35N to the FM 774 exit. Turn right on FM 774 and go approx. 6 miles, winding through the farm fields. Turn right again on FM 2040. Go another 6 miles to the Refuge gate. Go to the Visitor Center to register.From the North: Travel south on Hwy. 35 to Tivoli. Continue past Tivoli for approx. 1 mile to the FM 239 exit (on your left). Follow FM 239 to Austwell. Upon entering Austwell, FM 239 turns into FM 774 at the curve. Continue on FM 774. Follow 774 & take a right at the stop sign. Go down the end of the street. Take a right again. As you exit Austwell, drive ½ mile to the FM 2040 intersection. Go left on FM 2040 for about 6 miles to the Refuge gate. Go to the Visitor Center to register. The lat/long for the refuge’s main entrance is 28.313449,-96.804022Information on Nearby Lodging and Businesses:Rockport Chamber of Commerce Port Lavaca Chamber of Commerce
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The Matagorda Island Unit of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge is part of long chain of barrier islands that extend down the Texas coastline. This rugged landscape is host or home to many amazing wildlife species, including whooping cranes, Kemp's Ridley sea turtles, reddish egrets, alligators and coyotes.