Plan Your Visit


Welcome to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge!  Refuge trails and the auto tour loop are open seven days a week from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset.  See Visitor Contact Station hours below.

Visitor Contact Station Hours and Information

Due to Covid-19, the Contact Station is temporarily CLOSED and entrance fees are suspended.

October 15-April 14:  9 am - 4 pm daily
April 15-October 14:  9 am - 4 pm Wednesday - Sunday (Closed Monday-Tuesday)
Closed for all Federal Holidays

Refuge staff and volunteers are available to provide maps and checklists and let you know what's happening on the refuge. Check out some binoculars or a field guide for the day and stock up on nature-related items. Kids, be sure to get a wildlife checklist, pick up your adventure backpack for the day, and become a Junior Refuge Manager!  

Public restrooms are available at the visitor parking lot, picnic area, and observation tower.

Remember, the auto tour and trails are open daily from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.  If the Visitor Contact Station is closed, you can register/pay your fee at the parking lot kiosk.

Want to See Whooping Cranes?
The best time of year to see Whooping Cranes is from December to February, though they typically begin arriving by mid-October and leave mid-April. Watch for them feeding in the refuge’s marshes 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.  Please note that you will need to bring your own food and drinks to the refuge.  A water fountain is available in the lobby.

There are no public camping sites at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.

From the South: Follow Highway 35N to the FM 774 exit. Turn right on FM 774 and go approximately 6 miles, winding through the farm fields. Turn right again on FM 2040. Drive another 6 miles to the Refuge gate. Go to the Visitor Contact Station to register. 

From the North: Travel south on Hwy 35 to Tivoli. Continue past Tivoli approximately 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 and take a right at the stop sign. At the end of the street, take a right again. As you exit Austwell, drive ½ mile to the FM 2040 intersection. Turn left on FM 2040 and drive 6 miles to the Refuge gate. Go to the Visitor Contact Station to register.

The GPS coordinates for the refuge’s main entrance are: 28.313449,-96.804022

Information on Nearby Lodging and Businesses

Rockport Chamber of Commerce 
Port Lavaca Chamber of Commerce