Visitor Activities

family hiking toward ocean
  • Wildlife Observation

    photography in dunes

    One of the best attributes of national wildlife refuges is the opportunity to view wildlife, especially endangered and threatened species. Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes NWR will allow you and your family to see over 100 coastal avian species such as the Western snowy plover, and over 200 plant species such as pink sand verbena.

  • Photography

    surf thistle

    The refuge offers stunning views of several habitat types from steep dune systems to freshwater ponds to beach. Be sure to bring your camera when you visit, and check which times of year are best for viewing wildflowers.

  • Surf Fishing

    surf perch fishing

    Occurs in State waters outside of the refuge boundaries, however anglers use refuge beach to access this area. More than 95% of catch is barred surf perch (Amphistichus argenteus). Please visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website for licences. 

  • Hiking/Exploring

    Family Hike

    The refuge has a trail system planned with markers and interpretive panels. Try the Oso Flaco trail or the Rancho Guadalupe trail. Visit our Plan Your Visit Page to learn more.

  • Interpretation

    interpretive hike in the dunes

    There are a few family interpretive hikes, and special events planned throughout the year, in addition to interpretive panels found on the trail system. Natural history, endangered species, and insects are the usual topics.  There are lectures and slideshows at the local Dunes Center also.