Plan Your Visit


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.


See St. Mark's Current Weather Conditions HERE

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Notice

  • Outdoor areas on the refuge remains open during daylight hours. $5 per car daily entrance fee or federal pass required.
  • Out of concern for the health of our visitors, volunteers, and staff, all refuge tours, classes, and other events have been canceled until further notice.
  • The Visitor Center and Lighthouse are closed. However the Office is staffed every day and you may call to purchase a pass. During office hours; M-F 8a-4p, S-S 10a-5p, call (850)925-6121 for a pass or information.
  • Restrooms are available near the picnic area. Portalets are available at Visitor Center and salt water boat ramp.
  • All trails and the boat ramp are open.
  • Masks are required in all Federal buildings; and on public lands when physical distancing can not be maintained. Take the necessary precautions and stay well!
Call (850)925-6121 with questions. Call 911 for an emergency.

Hours of Operation

The refuge is open year round, daylight hours (gate on Lighthouse Rd opens at 6 am).  Entrance fee required.

The refuge's Visitor Center and administrative office is located about 25 miles south of Tallahassee, FL. From Tallahassee, take SR 363 (Woodville Hwy) to Wakulla. Turn left (east) on SR 267 (Bloxham Cutoff). At US 98 (Coastal Hwy), turn left (east) and cross the St. Marks River. Turn right on Lighthouse Road (CR 59) and drive 3 miles to the Visitor Center/Office.

[GPS: 30° 9.097' N   84° 8.845' W]

Late fall through early spring the weather is usually cool, with some afternoon showers. Summer is hot and humid with a variety of biting insects.

Administrative roads and levees may be closed during prescribed burns, peak wildlife events, especially around eagle nests, shorebird and waterfowl areas. Please check with the Visitor Center for the latest information concerning closures.

Food & Lodging – there is no place on the refuge to buy food or stay overnight, but picnic tables, drinking water and restrooms are available.

Be safe and have fun but follow all Federal and State laws and regulations and Refuge rules.

Nearby Accommadations.


Visitor Center (St. Marks Unit)

Visitor CenterThe Visitor Center is open Mondays – Fridays, 8 am – 4 pm; Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am – 5 pm; Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. It offers many exhibits, a Nature Store, information, and restrooms, and is a perfect stop for first-time or repeat visitors.
The Nature Store, located in the Visitor Center, carries items that highlight the animals and plants of the refuge; and all profits go to support refuge programs and projects.

Restrooms are located inside the Visitor Center; at Tower Pond Trail; and Otter Lake Recreational Area.  However, when our Visitors Center was completed in the early 1980s, our restrooms met the requirements at that time. In the intervening years, we have upgraded our entrance doors to automatic doors and built an all access trail and overlook. At this time, our restrooms are not fully compliant with the current standards and some visitors may have difficulty using them.

Physical address:

1255 Lighthouse Rd
St. Marks, FL 32355

Mailing Address:

St. Marks NWR
P.O. Box 68

St. Marks, FL 32355

Telephone: (850) 925-6121
Email Address:


Nature's Classroom

Natures ClassroomThe Environmental Education Building, known as Nature's Classroom, was completed in September 2011. It contains 3200 sq. ft. and has one conference room, the Barred Owl Room, and one classroom, the Monarch Butterfly Room. Besides environmental education, Nature's Classroom is used for wildlife photography classes, St. Marks NWR Photo Club, First Sunday at the Refuge programs, and local and national conferences.
Nature's Classroom is located next door to the Visitor Center.

More about the Education Programs offered.


St. Marks Lighthouse

Visit_Lighthouse_150One of the most photographed landmarks on the Gulf coast, the St. Marks Lighthouse is the second oldest lighthouse in Florida and the oldest on the Gulf coast. It was the only lighthouse in Florida with wooden stairs. The current tower was completed in 1842.

Renovations to the keeper's house and tower were completed in 2017-18. The keeper's house is open for tours on Tuesdays and the first Friday and following Saturday of each month. There is a $2/person (12 and older) fee in addition to refuge admission. Climbing the tower is not permitted.

Learn more about the St. Marks Lighthouse


The refuge has many visitor activities such as hiking, hunting, photography, wildlife viewing, environmental education, and interpretation.



Otter Lake Rercreational Area (Panacea Unit)

Otter LakeDaylight Use Only

The Panacea Unit is largely dominated by uplands pine and oak forests, with several fresh water lakes interspersed. Primitive walking trails criss-cross through this unit, and like the Wakulla Unit, this unit is open to quota-hunts during the fall and winter months. Located within the Panacea Unit is the Otter Lake Recreation Area, which offers picnic shelters, restrooms, and a launching point for small boats (motor size limit of 10 horse power or less).
Use of picnic facilities, trails and launch point is free to the public.

Aucilla River Unit:

Aucilla Boat RampLocated along the banks of the Aucilla River, this unique area features a boat ramp and plenty of fishing opportunities for visitors. This area is currently managed by Taylor County in a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Aucilla River unit is located off US 98, approximately 15 miles east of the town of Newport. Taylor County collects a user fee at the Aucilla River/Mandalay boat ramp. Federal recreation fees do not apply at this boat ramp. Call 850/838-3517 for annual pass and other fee information.


 Wakulla Unit:

 Shepard SpringDaylight Use Only

Located off US 98, west of the town of St. Marks, the Wakulla Unit of the wildlife refuge offers upland forests, palm hammocks, fresh and brackish water marshes and tidal beach access to the Apalachee Bay. This unit is open to quota-hunts during the fall and winter months, and it provides an ideal launching point for small boats year-round. Approximately 5.5 miles of the Florida National Scenic Trail traverses through this portion of the refuge including the popular hike through the "Cathedral of Palms" to Shepard Spring. No facilities. Use of launch point and access to trails are free to the public.

Flint Rock

Daylight Use Only


  • Photography
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Bicycle and horseback riding on roads and levees only 
  • Fishing
  • Pets on leash.


  • Open fires 
  • Collecting animals/plants and artifacts
  • Feeding or disturbing wildlife
  • ATVs, motorbikes
  • Motorized vehicles except during hunting & fishing seasons
  • Dumping

September – April, open for general hunting season.