Facility Activities

The refuge is bisected by NC Highway 12, which provides an easy way to experience the refuge and see wildlife. Hiking is allowed in all areas open to the public. Wildlife observation and photography are encouraged. There are two public boat ramps with launching and parking facilities. Fishing is allowed as per state regulations. Waterfowl hunting is permitted on the refuge in accordance with all state and federal regulations; special refuge hunting regulations also apply.

A variety of hardy mosquitoes thrive at Cedar Island almost year-round; insect repellant is a must.

400 acres of marsh on Cedar Island NWR are open for waterfowl hunting. Ducks are constantly moving back and forth from the refuge to other waterfowl wintering areas on Pamlico Sound. This means that some days hunters on the refuge will see flocks of thousands of birds, and some days they won't...

270 species of birds may be observed at the refuge, 99 of which nest on the refuge. Visitors can see large concentrations of diving ducks, dabblers, and sea ducks in winter.  Raptors, pelicans, wading birds, and shorebirds are also visible during many times of the year. If you listen...

Boats provide the best way to see many refuges. Some refuges limit the use of motorboats to certain areas, subject to restrictions on engine size.
Many Fish and Wildlife Service sites make great destinations for flatwater canoeing or kayaking. Some sites have concessions that rent canoes or kayaks. Some sites offer scheduled paddle tours. See individual refuge websites for details.

In addition to the diverse population of birds, Cedar Island is home to a variety of other wildlife.  Mammal species include otter, raccoon, muskrat, opossum, fox, rabbits, and white-tailed deer. Ninety-two amphibian and reptile species, including several frog, snake, alligator, salamander...

Biking is a good way to see wildlife, learn about habitats and photograph nature. Yield to pedestrians; many refuge routes are multi-use trails. Biking may be permitted at sites where it is consistent with a refuge’s statutory purpose. E-bikes are permitted on any refuge roads and trails where traditional bicycle use is allowed, if it is consistent with a refuge’s statutory purpose and the refuge manager determines it to be a compatible use.
Crabbing and clamming are popular at some coastal refuges, including Chincoteague Refuge in Virginia and Bandon Marsh Refuge in Oregon. Crawfishing is big at some Louisiana refuges. Check individual sites for details and restrictions.
Many sites do not allow dogs because they can disturb wildlife. Refuges that do allow dogs generally require that they be leashed. Some sites allow hunters and sledders to bring dogs.
Fishing is available at 378 units (343 national wildlife refuges and 35 wetland management districts) of the National Wildlife Refuge System, almost 20 national fish hatcheries and other U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands and waters. Virtually every type of sport fishing is represented. Anglers must follow state and federal regulations. Check individual sites for season dates and size, day and possession limits.
Take your pick of 2,100 miles of refreshing trails and boardwalks. Whether you want a short, easy walk or a challenging hike, you’re likely to find what you want. Some trails are paved and universally accessible. Some trails include displays on visual arts, local history and culture or environmental education.
Whether you wield a smartphone or a zoom lens, you’ll find photo-worthy subjects at national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries. Wildlife photography is a priority public use on national wildlife refuges, so you’ll find wildlife drives and blinds and overlooks to help you get the images you’re after.

A variety of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians are found on the refuge. The highway NC 12 causeway provides an excellent opportunity to view wildlife in the marsh--maybe a northern harrier or American black ducks flying over the needlerush, or a least bittern straddling two reeds at the...