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 local conditions on this website and call ahead for current information.
  • Operations vary based on local public health conditions.
  • Consistent with CDC recommendations, people 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.

Around the Refuge

Visitor Activities

Photography at Salt Meadow

There are activities year-round at Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge including wildlife observation, photography, environmental education and hunting. Visit the Visitor Activities page to learn more.

Visitor Activities

The Islands

Beach at Calf Island

The Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge includes a variety of islands that are extremely important to Connecticut's coastal wildlife.

Learn more about the units that make up the refuge.

Falkner Island Story Map

Story map promo

Falkner Island in Guilford is home to thousands of charismatic seabirds that nest and raise their young. It's not open to visitors most of the year to protect habitat. But now you can visit it virtually any time with our new story map!

Falkner Island Story Map

Urban Oases Project

Children running - USFWS.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated the Urban Oases project in the New Haven Harbor Watershed as an Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership. Learn more by visiting our Urban Oasis Project page below.

Urban Oases Project
Outer Island in Branford Open for Visitors May 29th!

Outer Island is Open Daily, Sunrise to 8pm

Please obey signage and directions from island volunteers and refuge staff when visiting. See our "PLAN YOUR VISIT" and "DIRECTIONS" pages for more info.

New Recreational Hunt Program

Hunting Permit Information and Regulations

Hunting is one of the six public uses encouraged and facilitated on national wildlife refuges. In August, 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a plan expanding hunting opportunities here. Click the link below to be taken to our Visitor Activities page to read about our offerings and download our Recreational Hunting Plan.

Visitor Activities - Hunting

About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System


The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife, and plants.

Learn more about the NWRS