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Visitor Activities

Jeff Friend Trail

Jeff Friend Trail features a one mile loop, providing a spectacular view of Little Lagoon just around the bend.

  • Wildlife Viewing

    Alligator Head in water

    Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge offers several opportunities for wildlife viewing. The time of year will dictate the wildlife seen. Four trails provide over six miles to explore. An observation tower found on Pine Beach Trail is a great place to get an elevated view of Little Lagoon and Gator Lake. Keep an eye out for alligators, six lined race runners, armadillos, red fox, bobcats and a variety of birds!

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  • Bird Watching

    Birders on GLT hike

    The spring and fall seasons, when neotropical migrants are most abundant, bring birdwatchers from near and far to view the marvelous array of species that may be found on the refuge. The largest are usually ospreys and several species of herons. At the other extreme, seven species of hummingbirds have been observed.
    In total, more than 370 species of birds have been documented on refuge. Whether you’re a beginner or looking for a rare life list bird, bring your binoculars and head out to the trails. 

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  • Interpretation

    Morning Glory habitat

    Though small, the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center offers a variety of displays and brochures to provide information about the native flora and fauna found along the Gulf Coast. The refuge offers self guided walks, and ranger led programs on a seasonal basis. In addition, dedicated volunteers lead bird walks and dune tours every winter and during National Wildlife Refuge Week in October. Seasonal interpretive programs such as night hikes, seining Little Lagoon, and Monarch butterfly tagging are offered throughout the remainder of the year. Check our webpage regularly for upcoming activities.  Refuge interpretation programs provide opportunities for visitors to make their own connections to the natural world.  

     

  • Photography

    Great Blue Heron with reflection

    When visiting Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge be sure to bring your camera. The refuge’s diverse ecosystems provide a variety of opportunities for photographing landscapes from sandy beaches along the Gulf of Mexico to wetlands and maritime forest. You can also expect to photograph egrets, herons, shorebirds and numerous other species using the refuge; making Bon Secour a perfect stop for both amateur and professional photographers.

  • Fishing

    Gator Lake Trail with marsh habitat

    At Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge anglers can take advantage of the beach access to try their hand at surf fishing or take a short stroll down the Jeff Friend Trail to fish Little Lagoon. Forty acre Gator Lake is also open for fishing. Populations of freshwater fish in Gator Lake are low due to saltwater inundation from past hurricanes, however, saltwater and freshwater species may be caught. Accessing Gator Lake requires a mile hike down Pine Beach Trail or Gator Lake Trail. A valid Alabama saltwater fishing license is required. 

    For a great place to reconnect with a favorite childhood activity or to try it for the first time, make plans to fish at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.  Find more information with our on-line Guide to Fishing on National Wildlife Refuge.

  • Environmental Education

    Pine Cone Public Use

    Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge offers environmental education programs for students of all ages. The refuge provides unique and exciting outdoor environments for hands-on, inquiry based learning activities. Numerous youth and adult groups visit every year to learn about wildlife, habitat, or ecological processes.

    Topics for field trips include sea turtle conservation, a marine explorers program, coastal nature hikes and more. Refuge staff may also be available to visit your school, civic league or community group to conduct a program if a field trip is not possible. Other programs strive to educate today’s visiting public and youth about the refuge, ecology of the Gulf Coast and the mission of National Wildlife Refuges.

     

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  • Boating

    Kayak Launch

    Canoes and kayaks may be launched from the Jeff Friend Trail kayak launch site into Little Lagoon. Parking is provided at the Jeff Friend Trail Parking area.

    Boaters can also access the waters of Gator Lake with canoes, kayaks, and boats with electric trolling motors; but they must be portaged down either Pine Beach Trail or Gator Lake Trail to launch.

Page Photo Credits — Credit: USFWS
Last Updated: Aug 25, 2015
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