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Information iconHike with a ranger, San Diego National Wildlife Refuge in California. (Photo: Rinus Baak)

Visiting a national wildlife refuge is easier than you might think. The hardest part is choosing between all of the refuges based on your location and interests. There are more than 500 national wildlife refuges to choose from, so if you need a little help picking one, you're at the right place.

Tips to Get You Started

America the Beautiful - Federal Recreational Lands Passes
A pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites.

Know Before You Go

Regulations, wildlife viewing opportunities, and recreation activities vary greatly from season to season and refuge to refuge.  For example, some areas like beaches may be closed during shorebird nesting season. Visit an individual refuge website for more details and local contact information.This planning will help you have an enjoyable and safe visit.

Be Prepared

Some sites have gas stations, convenience stores, and other amenities nearby. At others, you have to travel miles for basic services. In rural areas, hours of operation may be more limited (for example, restaurants may be closed on Sunday or stores close earlier). Some refuges have staff or volunteers on site daily; others are not staffed at all.

Be sure to have some of the basics with you before your trip:

Information iconGreater sage grouse, Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming. (Photo: Tom Koerner/USFWS)