Coastal southern California includes a unique combination of physical features, climate, and hydrology that have resulted in a diversity of plants and wildlife unlike any other region in North America. The habitats in Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge are essential for migratory birds of the Pacific Flyway and support federally and state listed endangered species. Since the establishment of Seal Beach NWR in 1972, the refuge has continued to protect and conserve essential habitats for many species including those that are threatened and endangered.
We're sorry but monthly tours have been postponed

Please check back to learn when tours will resume.

Visit Us

Located in the northwest corner of Orange County this refuge protects a remnant of what was once a vast wetland complex. During monthly tours, visitors can expect to see shorebirds darting from one foraging area to another within the tidal flats. The occasional green sea turtle and light-footed Ridgway’s rail thrive within the Refuge’s diverse marsh complex offering a rare appearance.

Because of NWSSB’s military mission of storing and handling ordnance (munitions), the Refuge is closed to the public except during special events and escorted tours held on the last Saturday of each month (excluding December). View the Activities section for more information. 

Location and Contact Information

      CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) NOTICE

      Although most refuge lands and outdoor spaces have remained open for the public to enjoy, we ask that you recreate responsibly.

      • Check alerts and local conditions on this website and call ahead for current information. Operations vary based on local public health conditions.
      • Consistent with CDC recommendations, all visitors (age 2 and older), who are fully vaccinated are required to wear a mask inside of federal buildings in areas of substantial or high community transmission. All visitors who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces.
      • Most importantly, stay home if you feel sick and continue to watch for symptoms of COVID-19 and follow CDC guidance on how to protect yourself and others.

      About Us

      Established in 1972, the Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge serves as an important stopover point for migratory shorebirds traveling along the Pacific Flyway. The refuge also serves as an island of habitat in the midst of a dense urban setting for a wide variety of fish, wildlife and plants.

      Tours

      Although limited, occasionally specially arranged tours for groups of 15-20 people can be conducted on the Refuge throughout the year. Please contact the Refuge manager 2-3 months in advance for scheduling opportunities.

      What We Do

      The purpose for Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge is to protect and preserve a salt marsh salt marsh
      Salt marshes are found in tidal areas near the coast, where freshwater mixes with saltwater.

      Learn more about salt marsh
      and estuarine habitat valuable for migratory waterfowl and other wildlife in the State of California. The Management Plan prepared in 1974 includes two principal objectives of the Refuge: 1) preservation and management of habitat necessary for the perpetuation of two endangered species, the light-footed Ridgway’s rail and the California least tern; and 2) preservation of habitat used by migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, and other waterbirds.

      Our Species

      Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge works closely to support and protect federally and State listed threatened and endangered species and species of concern that are found on the refuge like the light-footed Ridgway’s rail, California least tern, and Eastern Pacific green turtles.