The refuge visitor center, co-located with our headquarters on the mainland, is open 7 days a week, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. The center features multimedia exhibits, an auditorium where visitors can view an introductory video about the refuge, a multipurpose room, and The Plover’s Nest gift shop (operated by the Friends of Parker River National Wildlife refuge).
The refuge itself provides many visitor opportunities. From the 6.5 mile long Wildlife Drive, visitors can view wildlife in a variety of habitats including salt marsh, dune, and maritime forest. The Hellcat Interpretive Trail boardwalk includes both a marsh and dune loop. A number of other boardwalks provide access to the refuge’s ocean beach (when the beaches aren’t closed because of piping plover management – April 1st thru late summer). Two observation towers, the handicap accessible Pine Trail, the Bill Forward Bird Blind, and a number of other wildlife viewing areas provide almost limitless opportunities to observe, photograph and otherwise enjoy wildlife.
If you plan to visit the refuge as part of a group, you may need and/or benefit from a Special Use Permit. Download the Special Use Permit fact sheet (PDF).
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As of April 1st, most of the refuge's ocean beach will be closed to all public access due to the presence of nesting piping plovers. A small portion of beach will remain open and will be accessible via the Lot 1 boardwalk.