Visit Us

The refuge is accessible only by boat or floatplane. No regular commercial boat transport is available but charters can be arranged. Most waterborne visitors depart from either the Mississippi Gulf Coast or Venice, LA.

A properly equipped seaworthy boat and an experienced boat operator are needed to navigate to the islands. Gulf weather can change rapidly, the shallow waters of the sound can get very choppy, and wakes of passing ships and trawlers can be a challenge. Visiting the islands to wade fish or explore works best with a shallow-draft watercraft that can be anchored in very shallow water. Visitors will need to wade through shallow water to reach the shore.

Know Before You Go

The refuge is an important sanctuary for birds — hunting is not permitted. The refuge is open year round during daylight hours. 

Day use only is allowed on the refuge. Camping on the islands is prohibited due to the large amount of land lost to Hurricane Katrina and potential impacts to nesting birds.  

There is no shade or facilities on the islands. Bring plenty of water, as well as protective shade clothing, sunscreen and insect repellent.

Approximately five percent of the islands are used by nesting birds. The nesting colonies are most active March through August. Nesting colonies must not be entered. Visitors may visit the island at any time of year but must obey posted closed areas and avoid disturbing nesting birds.

Boaters should be experienced with and equipped for open water crossings, strong currents, and be able to navigate shallow water. There are many unlighted oil well structures in Chandeleur and Breton Sounds. 


Most public use at the refuge centers on fishing from the beaches and in the shallow water surrounding the islands.

Approximately five percent of the islands are used by nesting birds. These nesting colonies are most active March through August. The refuge is open year-round, but visitors who wish to view and photograph wildlife must obey posted closed areas and avoid disturbing the birds. Nesting colonies must not be entered.

Related Documents

Breton Fact Sheet

A fact sheet about Breton National Wildlife Refuge

Southeast Louisiana Refuges Annual User Brochure and Regulations

Southeast Louisiana Refuges public use regulations

Other Facilities in the Complex

Breton National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex. The Southeast Louisiana Refuges are part of a rich ecological system which includes marshes, pine and bottomland hardwood forests, lakes, barrier islands, swamps and bayous. Ranging from the marshy delta at the mouth of the Mississippi, to the wetlands that help protect New Orleans from hurricanes and provide a nursery to the fisheries that support the region’s food economy, to the wild bayous of the Atchafalaya Basin; your Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges preserve wildlife, habitat, and recreation opportunities representative of this unique part of the country.

All of the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges are open to public visits for nature-based recreational enjoyment. Priority public uses are hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, environmental education, and interpretation.

The refuge complex headquarters is located at 61389 Hwy 434, Lacombe, Louisiana 70445. This site also hosts the Bayou Lacombe Visitor Center and has walking trails that wind through an historic garden site and along Bayou Lacombe.


Rules and Policies

Enjoy exploring and recreating on your National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is open from sunrise to sunset, with areas of nesting birds closed to entry. To ensure healthy habitat and sustainable wildlife resources for your continued enjoyment, and to ensure visitor safety, the following are rules and prohibited activities:

  • Refuge visitors should avoid disturbing the bird nesting colonies on the islands. We will post as closed to all entry portions of the refuge during the nesting season to reduce disturbance to shorebirds and colonial nesting seabirds
  • The refuge is open during daylight hours only – nighttime use and camping are prohibited
  • Recreational fishing and crabbing on the refuge are allowed year round in accordance to Louisiana state fishing regulations. All fishing and crabbing equipment must be attended at all times. 
  • Trotlines, slat traps, or nets are not allowed
  • Fires are not allowed on the refuge

  • Drones are not permitted due to their disturbance of sensitive wildlife

  • Cutting, removing, or damaging vegetation is prohibited.

Non-emergency complaints of violations on refuge lands should be reported to refuge Law Enforcement: (985) 882-2041.


Breton National Wildlife Refuge
C/O Southeast Louisiana Refuges215 Offshore Shipyard RdVenice,LA70091-2667