St. Marks provides numerous recreation opportunities to thousands of visitors every year. People enjoy viewing the unique geology and diverse wildlife. Regulation of recreation activities allow for public enjoyment of the refuge while still protecting the wildlife and habitats.
The refuge is open year round, daylight hours.
The refuge's Visitor Center and administrative office is located about 25 miles south of Tallahassee, FL. From Tallahassee, take SR 363 (Woodville Hwy) to Wakulla. Turn left (east) on SR 267 (Bloxham Cutoff). At US 98 (Coastal Hwy), turn left (east) and cross the St. Marks River. Turn right on Lighthouse Road (CR 59) and drive 3 miles to the Visitor Center/Office. [GPS: 30° 9.097' N 84° 8.845' W]
Late fall through early spring the weather is usually cool, with some afternoon showers. Summer is hot and humid with a variety of biting insects.
The Visitor Center is open Mondays – Fridays, 8 am – 4 pm; Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am – 5 pm; Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.The Nature Store, located in the Visitor Center, carries items that highlight the animals and plants of the refuge; and all profits go to support refuge programs and projects.
P.O. Box 68, St. Marks, FL 32355Telephone: (850) 925-6121Email Address: email@example.com
The Environmental Education Building, known as Nature's Classroom, was completed in September 2011. It contains 3200 sq. ft. and has one conference room, the Barred Owl Room, and one classroom, the Monarch Butterfly Room. Besides environmental education, Nature's Classroom is used for wildlife photography classes, St. Marks NWR Photo Club, First Sunday at the Refuge programs, and local and national conferences.Nature's Classroom is located next door to the Visitor Center.
More about the Education Programs offered.
One of the most photographed landmarks on the Gulf coast, the St. Marks Lighthouse is the second oldest lighthouse in Florida and the oldest on the Gulf coast. It was the only lighthouse in Florida with wooden stairs. The current tower was completed in 1842.
Learn more about the St. Marks Lighthouse
The refuge has many visitor activities such as hiking, hunting, photography, wildlife viewing, environmental education, and interpretation.
The Panacea Unit is largely dominated by uplands pine and oak forests, with several fresh water lakes interspersed. Primitive walking trails criss-cross through this unit, and like the Wakulla Unit, this unit is open to quota-hunts during the fall and winter months. Located within the Panacea Unit is the Otter Lake Recreation Area, which offers picnic shelters, restrooms, and a launching point for small boats (motor size limit of 10 horse power or less).Use of picnic facilities, trails and launch point is free to the public.
Located along the banks of the Aucilla River, this unique area features a boat ramp and plenty of fishing opportunities for visitors. This area is currently managed by Taylor County in a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Aucilla River unit is located off US 98, approximately 15 miles east of the town of Newport. Aucilla boat ramp is subject to a user fee for Taylor County.
Located off US 98, west of the town of St. Marks, the Wakulla Unit of the wildlife refuge offers upland forests, palm hammocks, fresh and brackish water marshes and tidal beach access to the Apalachee Bay. This unit is open to quota-hunts during the fall and winter months, and it provides an ideal launching point for small boats year-round. Approximately 5.5 miles of the Florida National Scenic Trail traverses through this portion of the refuge including the popular hike through the "Cathedral of Palms" to Shepard Spring. No facilities. Use of launch point and access to trails are free to the public.
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The Monarch Butterfly is the only insect that migrates 2500 miles.