Plan Your Visit


Welcome to Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge!


(updated October 2018, )  FM106, which leads to the refuge from Rio Hondo, is now open. The drawbridge in Rio Hondo is now open.  Buena Vista Blvd, leading into the refuge, may be closed during wet periods due to conditions that may affect driving such as excessive mud and sliding.  

These are the best directions to get to the refuge currently:

From Harlingen, McAllen, Mission, Edinburg, and points west and north – Take Highway 77 north (Corpus Christi/ Raymondville), take the exit for FM 106 (Rio Hondo) for 24 miles, turn left on Buena Vista Blvd, the Visitor's Center is located 3 miles north on the left.  

From South Padre Island - take Highway 100 out of Port Isabel and exit right on FM 510 at Laguna Vista. Continue 7 miles to FM 106 and head north for approximately 4.5 miles until Buena Vista Blvd, on the right, the Visitor's Center is located about 3 miles up Buena Vista Blvd on the left.

From Brownsville - go north on Paredes Line Road (FM 1847) through Los Fresnos . Turn right on FM106 for about 2 miles. Turn left on Buena Vista Blvd. and it's about 3 miles to the Refuge Visitor Center, it will be on your left.

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.

November through March, the visitor center is open 7 days a week.  

April through October, 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 all visitors and 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:

  • Be watchful for wildlife on roads – especially the endangered ocelot.
  • Please stay in the designated public areas (ie. drives and trails) for your own safety and to protect the habitat.
  • Keep dogs on a leash, and do not allow them to drink or enter water bodies due to the presence of alligators.
  • Pack out your trash.
  • Do not disturb or remove wildlife, plants or historic objects. Disturbance is caused by getting too close to wildlife, playing recorded bird/wildlife calls, feeding wildlife, or throwing objects at wildlife.  Metal detectors are not allowed.
  • No fireworks, fires, or alcohol.
  • Camping is allowed only at Adolph Thomae Jr. County Park (entrance and camping fees apply for this area, call 956-748-4633 for information). 


For your safety and comfort

  • Avoid chiggers, ticks and rattlesnakes by staying on trails. 
  • Be prepared with insect repellent, water and sunscreen.
  • Plan to hike or bike during the cooler hours of the day (March  - November).
  • Use a map to plan your trip when venturing out on trails.
  • Take a cell phone in case of an emergency.
  • Wear comfortable, sturdy shoes with closed toes.
  • If bicycling – see the Bicycling section

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