About the Refuge

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The chorus of thousands of waterfowl, wind moving through coastal prairie, the splash of an alligator going for a swim, a high-pitched call of a fulvous whistling duck. These are just some of the sounds you may hear when visiting the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge.

The meandering bayous of Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge cut through ancient flood plains, creating vast expanses of coastal marsh and prairie bordering Galveston Bay in southeast Texas. The marshes and prairies are host or home to an abundance of wildlife, from migratory birds, to alligators, to bobcats, and more.

Established in 1963, the 37,000-acre refuge is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, a national network of lands and waters set aside for the benefit of wildlife and you.  The management focus of the refuge (and its companion refuges, McFaddin and Texas Point) is to protect and manage the coastal marsh for migrating, wintering and breeding waterfowl, shorebirds and waterbirds, and provide strategic and crucial nesting areas for the neotropical migratory songbirds migrating across the Gulf of Mexico.

Everything from thick woodlands to sandy beaches can be found on Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. The following explain the three main wildlife observation opportunities available on this beautiful and expansive refuge.

If you are travelling from I-10, take exit 810 for the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center located on FM 563 at the Texas Chenier Plain Complex Headquarters. This visitor center offers a theater, nature store, exhibits, and a beautiful wooded trail with the office headquarters sharing the same building. Click here for coordinates for the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center and Headquarters.

The primary refuge is 20 miles southward of the main visitor center. The main entrance to Anahauc National Wildlife Refuge is on FM 1985 and offers access to the Butterfly Garden, the Shoveler Pond auto tour loop, fishing areas, trails, boat ramps, and a seasonal visitor information station. We recommend using the Butterfly Garden coordinates for GPS directions to get you to the refuge.

Additionally, visitors can enjoy the Skillern Tract located 7 miles east of the main entrance on FM 1985. These 314 acres of moist soil units, rice fields, and wooded areas features trails, observation decks, fishing decks, and a non-motorized boat launch. Click here for coordinates for the Skillern Tract.

Recreationalists are encouraged to check out our Visitor Activities pages for more ways to enjoy Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge.