Rules and Regulations

TTI Rules and Regs

To protect the natural resources of Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge and to provide all visitors with a safe and enjoyable wildlife experience, please observe all signs and all regulations in handouts and brochures.

Please observe the following rules when visiting Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge:

  • All plants and animals are protected. 
  • Stay far enough away from resting birds so that they do no flush.
  • No removal of artifacts.
  • Pets must be contained on a 6' leash.
  • Respect overnight camping closures May-Sept. 
  • Off-road vehicles are prohibited.
  • Please do not litter, and take trash out with you to prevent wildlife conflicts. 
  • Be a responsible boater. Observe manatee zone speed restrictions. Avoid damage to seagrass beds.
  • Use facilities on your boat or a ‘portable potty’. Dig a cat hole above the high tide line for fecal matter.
  • Nudity is prohibited. 
  • Protect yourself from sun stroke, biting insects, and be aware of dangerous currents while swimming.
  •  Within the inland marshes bordering US Highway 41, motorized watercraft are limited to outboard motors with a maximum of 25 HP, which includes go-devil engines. Airboats are not allowed within the inland marshes bordering Highway 41. Users should confine the use of motors to the marked trails, and use paddles, push poles or trolling motors as they cross over marsh grasses.


Hunting and Fishing 

Refuge hunting and fishing regulations generally follow Florida state seasons and regulations. Please visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for up-to-date state regulatory information. 


Seasonal Camping *Overnight Camping Closures In Effect May-September*

Overnight camping with "Leave No Trace" ethics is permitted at Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge during the months of October-April. Campers do not need to make a reservation and beach spaces are available on a first come/first serve basis. 

Overnight camping on the beaches of Panther Key, Camp Key, Hog Key, and Bee Key in Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge is prohibited May 1 -Sept 30 due to nesting sea turtles and shorebirds. Human influences, including campfires, tents, and boats can disrupt nest site selection and safe emergence of hatchlings.

Southwest Florida’s threatened Loggerhead and Green sea turtles face many natural and human induced obstacles to survive from hatching on beaches to reproductive age in marine waters. In addition to heavy beach traffic that may deter nesting sea turtles, mothers and hatchlings often encounter obstacles created by unknowing visitors. When leaving the beach, please remove all gear and trash, knock down sand structures, and fill in dug holes that my obstruct sea turtles and their hatchlings. Hatchling sea turtles rely upon the shine of ocean water, light of the moon, and the bright horizon to find their way to marine waters. Artificial lights can seriously confuse hatchlings, causing them to travel toward housing security lights or the shine of a flashlight. To help sea turtles, please remember to turn off beachfront lights during the nesting season and be sure to use red, night-time friendly lights if you are on the beach after dark.


 Drones/Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)  

UAS fall under the definition of “aircraft” within 50 Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter I, Subchapter C, which covers the National Wildlife Refuge System. 

Visitors who operate UAS that take off and/or land within the refuge are subject to citations.  

For Commercial or Scientific Uses:  We may allow UAS as part of a Special Use Permit with strict stipulations for use.  Operators must follow all Department Of Interior Aviation Policy and Federal Aviation Administration Policy by obtaining a Certificate Of Authenticity from the FAA to operate in the airspace during a specified time. See our Permits page for more information on Special Use Permits.