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National wildlife refuges offer us all a chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with our natural surroundings.  Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge offers a variety of opportunities to explore and enjoy the great outdoors. You can play in the surf, observe and photograph wildlife, hike or bicycle miles of forest trails, go fishing, or during the season, hunt white-tailed deer. Open daily from sunrise to sunset, the barrier island refuge is accessible only by boat. Transportation is not provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, therefore visitors must use personal watercraft or a local charter service.

Other Facilities in the Complex

A National Wildlife Refuge Complex is an administrative grouping of two or more refuges, wildlife management areas or other refuge conservation areas that are primarily managed from a central office location.  Refuges are grouped into a complex structure structure
Something temporarily or permanently constructed, built, or placed; and constructed of natural or manufactured parts including, but not limited to, a building, shed, cabin, porch, bridge, walkway, stair steps, sign, landing, platform, dock, rack, fence, telecommunication device, antennae, fish…

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because they occur in a similar ecological region, such as a watershed or specific habitat type, and have a related purpose and management needs.  Typically, a project leader or complex manager oversees the general management of all refuges within the complex and refuge managers are responsible for operations at specific refuges. Supporting staff, composed of administrative, law enforcement, refuge manager, biological, fire, visitor services, and maintenance professionals, are centrally located and support all refuges within the complex.

The refuges within the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex span a 100-mile stretch of coastline and total nearly 60,000 acres.  The Complex headquarters is located within the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center at 694 Beech Hill Lane, Hardeeville, South Carolina, 29927.

Rules and Policies

There are many fun and interesting things to do and see during your visit to Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge, but it is our job to ensure the habitat that our wildlife calls "home" is protected. Below are a few guidelines to help keep both visitors and wildlife safe.

  • The refuge is open during daylight hours only; overnight use and/or camping (including campfires) are not permitted. 
  • Some areas may be closed seasonally to protect wildlife from human disturbance. Such areas are posted "Area Beyond This Sign Closed."
  • Feeding, capturing, or harassing wildlife is strictly prohibited unless authorized by permit.
  • Launching, landing, or disturbing of wildlife by aircraft (drones) on the refuge is prohibited.
  • Dogs, cats, and other pets are not permitted on the refuge.
  • Picking or cutting vegetation is prohibited.
  • All of the refuge's archaeological and natural resources are protected. Artifact hunting/collecting is not allowed.
  • Hikers and bicyclers are encouraged to stay on marked trails.
  • The refuge, unless otherwise posted, is open to hiking, biking, wildlife observation, interpretation, environmental education, and photography. It is also open, in certain areas and times of the year, to hunting and fishing; review refuge hunting and fishing regulations for details.

Locations

Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge
c/o Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex 694 Beech Hill Lane Hardeeville, SC 29927

The refuge is open from sunrise to sunset, 7 days a week, unless otherwise posted. Access to the refuge is by boat only, and the Fish and Wildlife Service does not provide transportation. Visitors must use their own boat or make arrangements with a local boat captain or charter service. Most visitors who bring their own boats anchor off the beach. The government dock located on Blackbeard Creek may only be used for loading and unloading of passengers and gear; mooring for an extended period of time is not allowed.

Boater Caution: Coastal waters are subject to extreme tidal fluctuations of six feet. All boaters should be familiar with the tide tables, and monitor coastal weather conditions before navigating to any Georgia barrier island.

For questions, please contact the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex headquarters, located at the Savannah NWR Visitor Center, at (843) 784-2468.

Driving Directions

Blackbeard Island NWR is a barrier island that is only accessible by boat.  Public transportation is not provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Visitors must use personal watercraft or a local charter service.

Hours
Refuge Hours
7 days a week
Sunrise-Sunset