Plan Your Visit

2Marsh Trail Viewing

“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.” – Rachel Carson 

During the summer, thousands of water birds roost on the coastal islands. On summer nights loggerhead sea turtles drag themselves onto Refuge beaches to nest. Mangrove cuckoos and black-whiskered vireos can be heard calling from the mangroves as they mark their home territory on the Refuge. Manatees feed within the estuary and find shelter from the cold winter months at nearby Port-of-the-Islands. Wintering waterfowl forage in the northern marshes as bald eagles soar over the open water searching for a meal. Rare reptiles, like the beautiful diamondback terrapin, can also be spotted. The islands with higher elevations also have tropical hardwood forests that add diversity to plant communities that can be found on the Refuge. 

 *Seasonal Beach Camping Closure*
Please note that the beaches of Panther Key, Camp Key, Hog Key, and Bee Key are closed to overnight camping May 1 - September 30 to protect nesting shorebirds and sea turtles. Thank you for understanding and helping to steward the islands! 


Marsh Trail and Observation Tower 

The Marsh Trail and Observation Tower provide easy public access and wildlife viewing to visitors of the Refuge. This 2.2 mile round trip trek follows the only access trail found on the refuge. The first ¼ mile of the trail is paved, the rest being a wide gravel road. The two-story observation tower includes benches and the first level is handicap accessible.

For more wildlife viewing, photography, and hiking opportunities throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System, visit the "Find A Refuge Trail" website to locate a trail near you! 

Getting Here

Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge is located between Marco Island and Everglades City, Florida. The refuge is best accessed by boat. Two prominent boating access points are found in Goodland and Port-of-the-Islands. To access the Calusa Island Marina in Goodland, take U.S. 41 south out of Naples and drive 12 miles to Hwy 92, turn right and drive 5 miles to Goodland. Or you may continue on U.S. 41 for 5 miles to Port-of-the-Islands.

The Marsh Trail parking lot is located about three miles east of Collier-Seminole State Park and County Road 92. Getting there from I-75 in Naples, take the last exit eastbound, 101. Then follow Collier Blvd south to its junction with US 41. Turn left. The Marsh Trail access area is 11 miles east along US 41. Turnoffs for Goodland and Collier-Seminole State Park will be passed before you reach the parking area near mile marker 31.

Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Southwest Florida Gulf Coast Refuge Complex, along with its sister refuge Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. The headquarters for these refuges is located at 12085 State Road 29 South Immokalee, FL 34142. Please note that headquarters is not where visitor activities take place for Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

Know Before You Go

Please use caution when walking the trails. Bring plenty of water, insect repellent, and sunscreen. Please do not leave valuables in your car and allow time to return to your vehicle and leave the refuge before the entrance gate closes at sunset. Pet are permitted when contained on a 6' leash. Do not hike or jog alone. Keep small children under supervision and close at hand. Do not feed any wildlife. There are no facilities on the islands. 

 See our Visitor Activities page for more information!  

Questions? Call 239-657-8001.