ROAD CONSTRUCTION NOTICE
(updated 10/16/2016) FM106 and General Brant Road, which lead to the refuge from Rio Hondo, are undergoing major reconstruction. Visitors are advised to take FM510 (off 77 south of Harlingen) to Buena Vista Rd - follow the large brown signs directing you to Laguna Atascosa. This will likely add more time to your trip.
Refuge Headquarters/Visitor Center:
Here, refuge staff and volunteers are available to provide you with maps, brochures and checklists and let you know what's happening on the refuge. This is also where the business of the refuge is conducted.
The refuge is open for public visitation seven days a week during daylight hours (sunrise to sunset). Visitor Center open days vary seasonally. Hours are from 8am to 4pm. It is closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Visitor Center will also be closed December 26 and January 2, 2017 due to federal holidays.
Please note - The visitor center will be closed March 4, 2017 due to our special event at Gladys Porter Zoo.
October - April, the visitor center is open 7 days a week. (updated 10/16/2016 - Due to staffing shortages the visitor center will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays until further notice)
May - September the visitor center is open Thursday - Monday (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays).
Restroom facilities are available to the public seven days a week.
On closed days, or after visitor center hours, there is a self-pay kiosk with maps and information outside the visitor center entrance doors. Explore the Refuge:Seven days a week during daylight hours, you can enjoy Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge's many trails. Enjoy wildlife-related activities, including wildlife watching, hiking, and wildlife photography.See our Visitor Activities page for more information on our tours and what you can do at the refuge. The popular Bayside Drive is CLOSED to private vehicles. See our Visitor Activities page for details.
To enter the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, visitors can pay entrance fees by cash or check at the Visitor Center, or with exact change or check at the self-pay station when the visitor center is closed. Entrance fees are applicable whether visitors are walking, driving or bicycling on the Refuge. All vehicles must display a valid Daily Entrance Pass – either issued by the Visitor Center staff or from the self-pay envelope.
Help Us Protect the Refuge
You can keep this Refuge special for wildlife and people by following all Refuge rules:
For your safety and comfort
Directions: -From Harlingen, go east on Tyler Ave which becomes FM 106. Continue 18 miles past Rio Hondo. Take a left at the T and drive three miles to the visitor center. (SEE DETOUR DIRECTIONS AT TOP OF PAGE)-From South Padre Island, take Highway 100 out of Port Isabel and exit right on FM 510 at Laguna Vista. Continue 5.4 miles to the Buena Vista Rd (Cameron County Airport). Take a right and continue approximately 7 miles to the visitor center. -From Brownsville, go north on Paredes Line Road (FM1847) through Los Fresnos to FM510. Take a right and go approximately 10 miles. Take a left on Buena Vista Rd (look for the detour signs) and drive 7 miles to the visitor center.
Using a GPS: The lat/long for the visitor center is 26.229081, -97.347231. The physical address of the Visitor Center is 22688 Buena Vista Blvd., Los Fresnos, TX 78566.
Helpful Links: Harlingen Chamber of Commerce Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce
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The refuge’s location and habitat make it a haven for butterflies and moths -- and those who enjoy seeing them! October and November offer the best times to enjoy the refuge’s butterflies, a documented 130 species.