About the Refuge

Foggy sunrise at the refuge - Bill Wallen.

Twenty miles south of Washington, D.C., at the confluence of the Potomac and Occoquan rivers, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge is an oasis where migrating birds and busy city residents both seek a quiet escape from development.

Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge's diverse grasslands and marshes attract songbirds, raptors, waterfowl and butterflies that depend on meadows and open water for their food, nesting sites, and a place to rest. Visitors share this feeling of respite as they hike trails and watch wildlife drawn to the one-square mile refuge, a sanctuary in an urban setting.

Occoquan Bay NWR is a key refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System. The grassland and wetland habitats are important to the Nations' wildlife in this highly urbanized area. Furthermore, the variety of habitat types accessible to refuge visitors and the refuge's proximity to the Nation's capitol provide unparalleled opportunities to demonstrate the role of national wildlife refuges, particularly the benefits of habitat management for wildlife.

The refuge’s purposes are as follows: 

  1. A refuge and breeding area for migratory birds and endangered species;
  2. An outdoor classroom to provide the public with educational opportunities relating to fish and wildlife resources; and
  3. Support, where possible, other recreational uses including wildlife observation, interpretation, and wildlife photography.

    Download the refuge brochure (pdf)
    Download the refuge tear sheet (pdf)

Contact Information

Refuge Location

13950 Dawson Beach Road
Woodbridge, VA 22191
**Send all correspondence to Headquarters Office**

Refuge Headquarters Staff Office

14050 Dawson Beach Rd.
Woodbridge, VA 22191
(703) 490-4979