Visitor Activities


Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge offers a variety of opportunities to explore and enjoy the great outdoors from sunrise to sunset every day. You can play in the surf, observe and photograph wildlife, go fishing, or during the season, hunt white-tailed deer.

  • Wildlife Viewing

    Wildlife observation, especially birdwatching, is excellent throughout the year on Blackbeard Island. In winter months, waterfowl utilize the marshland and man-made freshwater pools, while songbirds abound in the wooded acres in the spring and fall. The refuge also serves as an important area for wintering shorebirds, including the endangered piping plover. Miles of trails wind through maritime forest and provide hikers and bicyclers with scenic paths ideal for nature study.

  • Photography

    Perhaps the fastest growing activity on National Wildlife Refuges in the past ten years has been wildlife photography. That’s not surprising when you consider the popularity of digital cameras and cell phones with ever-improving picture-taking abilities. The number of nature photographers has grown at a rapid rate. You don’t need to purchase expensive equipment or have any experience to get started. A small camera or basic cell phone will do just fine for most visitors.

  • Environmental Education & Interpretation

    National Wildlife Refuges serve many purposes, and one of our most important roles is as outdoor classrooms to teach about wildlife and natural resources. Environmental education programs may be arranged for local schools groups with at least a month's notice to prepare and schedule staff.

    Guided interpretive tours are offered through a few local outfitters that maintain permits with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct these activities. Trained, naturalist guides can offer visitors a more enhanced experience by providing information on the natural resources and rich history of the refuge. Tours with these groups must be arranged directly through them (see contact info below).

    Wilderness Southeast
    (912) 236-8115

    Southeast Adventure Outfitters (Kayak Tours)
    (912) 638-6732

    Captain Mickey Youmans
    (912) 596-5259

  • Hunting

    Hunting is an important wildlife management tool that we recognize as a healthy, traditional outdoor pastime, deeply rooted in America’s heritage.  Hunting can instill a unique understanding and appreciate of wildlife, their behavior, and their habitat needs.

    As practiced on refuges, hunting does not pose a threat to wildlife populations, and in some instances are necessary for sound wildlife management.  For example, because their natural predators are gone, deer populations will often grow too large for the refuge habitat to support. Hunting programs can promote understanding and appreciation of natural resources and their management on lands and waters in the Refuge System.

    Blackbeard Island NWR offers two, three-day archery hunts annually. These hunts are open to all properly licensed hunters (no drawing); however, a $25 refuge hunt permit must be purchased in order to participate. For current hunting regulations and dates, and to purchase a hunting permit, please visit the refuge's hunting web page.

  • Fishing

    In addition to the conservation of wildlife and habitat, the Refuge System offers a wide variety of quality fishing opportunities. Fishing programs promote understanding and appreciation of natural resources and their management on all lands and waters in the Refuge System. Every year, about 7 million anglers visit national wildlife refuges, where knowledgeable staff and thousands of volunteers help them have a wonderful fishing experience.

    At Blackbeard Island NWR, saltwater fishing is permitted year-round in the estuarine waters adjacent to the refuge. Bank/beach fishing into estuarine wateres is permitted only from sunrise to sunset (except during managed hunts when refuge is closed). Freshwater fishing in refuge ponds is not allowed.

    Click here to download the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex fishing brochure.