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.