The St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1931 to provide winter habitat for migratory birds, and is one of the oldest refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System. It encompasses about 86,000 acres in Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties, and includes about 43 miles of north Florida’s Gulf coast. Congress has designated 17,350 acres of the Refuge a National Wilderness Area.

Visit Us

St. Marks NWR provides numerous recreation opportunities to thousands of visitors every year. People enjoy viewing the unique geology and diverse wildlife. Regulation of recreation activities allow for public enjoyment of the refuge while still protecting the wildlife and habitats.

Location and Contact Information

      Violations on the Refuge

      To report violations on the refuge, call the refuge office at 850-925-6121. Or to report violations occurring on any National Wildlife Refuge or other U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service-managed lands, you can call 1-844-FWS-TIPS (397-8477) or email 24 hours a day. 


      Take a drive down Lighthouse Road to get acquainted with the Refuge. Pick up a map in the Visitor Center or in the online library.

      Behind the gates wildlife tours are offered on various dates in Oct. thru Mar. 

      To better enhance our tours and events we ask that our guests follow the guidelines listed below.
      1. Registration is required.
      2. Pets will not be allowed on any tour.
      3. For your safety and tour enjoyment, we recommend that all participants wear closed-toe shoes, bring a bottle of drinking water, sunscreen, and bug spray (please apply away from the other participants).
      4. For your comfort and enjoyment, we suggest that you dress for the weather, wearing or bringing layers.  It is also a good idea to carry a lightweight rain jacket for unexpected showers or cooling weather
      5. Practice “pack it in, pack it out”. Any trash, including biodegradable food and packaging, is to be taken back with the participant and disposed of off-site.
      6. Attendees must arrive early enough to use the restroom prior to tour start time.  If tour is scheduled to start at 9, it will be pulling out of the meeting area at 9.
      7. Leave all plants and animals alone. DO NOT engage in any of the following:
        1. Eating any leaves and/or berries found alongside trail
        2. Approaching, handling, or attempting to feed any wildlife
        3. Collecting any material, with the exception of trash, on refuge property
      8. Be aware of your surroundings. The refuge is home to venomous snakes, alligators, burrowing animals, and some endangered species. Stay safe, when getting on and off the tour wagon watch your step and try not to disturb any habitats or animals with loud noises.
      9. As a courtesy to all visitors, those that sign up and are no shows will not be allowed to sign up for another tour.
      See Events for a list of available tours.

      Our Organization

      Close up of a California condor. Its pink featherless head contrasts with its black feathers.
      We provide national leadership in the recovery and conservation of our nation's imperiled plant and animal species, working with experts in the scientific community to identify species on the verge of extinction and to build the road to recovery to bring them back. We work with a range of public...
      Smoke from a prescribed fire enters the sky.
      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages fire safely and cost-effectively to improve the condition of lands while reducing the risk of damaging wildfires to surrounding communities. This balanced approach to fire management benefits people and wildlife.
      Green plains and a lake with a mountain range in the background.
      Wilderness areas are wild, undeveloped, federally protected areas where you can see wildlife in its natural habitat, enjoy adventure and unmechanized recreation, or just relish solitude. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages more than 20 million acres of Congressionally designated wilderness...
      An old stone A-framed building in a high desert landscape with an old mill next to it
      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conserves more than just flora and fauna at America’s national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries. As mandated under the National Historic Preservation Act, the Fish and Wildlife Service also conserves tens of thousands of archaeological and historic...

      Our Species

      The Refuge lists contain 44 species of mammals,  271 species of birds,  and 38 species of amphibians/reptiles. Some are resident and others are seasonal or occasional.

      Our Library

      You should view the publications before your visit. Please download/print the ones you need. That way you are prepared if the Visitor Center is closed or the supply is exhausted.

      Click on View Our Library to see more publications. Allow time to load.

      St. Marks NWR General Information Brochure

      General information about the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge.

      Get Involved

      Volunteers at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge are an integral part of the staff. They assist with numerous projects ranging from wildlife inventories to presenting interpretive programs, and their help has been instrumental in the accomplishment of a number of refuge projects and activities.

      The Friends of St. Marks Wildlife Refuge, formed in 1987, is the 501(c)3 non-profit friends group that supports the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in accomplishing its biological and educational objectives.

      Environmental Education Programs & Field Trips

      Attention School teachers, Homeschool groups and Scout leaders: Come to the St Marks National Wildlife Refuge for a FREE field trip! You can pick from one of our current education programs or our Environmental Educator can tailor your trip to fit what you are studying in the classroom. Each lesson incorporates a variety of hands-on activities into every program. Through multi-sensory experiences, audience interaction, fun animal bio facts and meaningful contact with Refuge Staff, all participants may experience a new awareness and appreciation for the natural world.

      Projects and Research