Many national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries offer a range of recreational and educational opportunities for visitors — tourists and locals alike.​

Plan Your Visit

Best Time to Visit

Our sites span all 50 states and five territories. Some places offer things to see and do year-round. Others are season-specific. Time of year often will influence what you can see or do. Dawn and dusk generally are the best times of day to see wildlife.​

Events

Wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries host numerous conservation-oriented programs, festivals and events throughout the year.

Fees

Most places are free. A handful charge a nominal entrance fee. Sometimes fees or permits are required for specific activities such as huntingcamping or fishing

Recreate Responsibly

To help ensure that wildlife and people thrive, please recreate responsibly.

Find Public Lands Near You

Ideas for Visitors

An aerial view of red, yellow, orange and green trees.
Fall is a season of change on national wildlife refuges

Visit a National Wildlife Refuge

Protected Lands and Waters

The Refuge System administers lands and waters across the U.S. and territories, including:

  • 570 National Wildlife Refuges
  • 38 Wetland Management Districts
  • 5 Marine National Monuments
  • 63 Refuges with Wilderness Areas

The Purpose of Refuges

Each refuge is established to serve a statutory purpose that targets the conservation of native species dependent on its land and waters.

Things to Do and See

Where consistent with their primary purpose, refuges also offer activities for people, such as:

  • Hunting and fishing
  • Birdwatching and wildlife photography
  • Hiking and canoeing
  • Scientific research

Find A Refuge    More about Wildlife Refuges

Outdoor Recreation Activities

Whether you are a novice or an expert, wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries offer many ways to connect with nature. Click on these icons to learn more.​

Visit a National Fish Hatchery

National Fish Hatcheries and You

Whether you want to further conservation, learn more about nature, or share your love of the outdoors, you’ve come to the right place. National fish hatcheries provide many opportunities for you to help your community, fish, and wildlife by doing what you love.  

The Purpose of Hatcheries 

Seventy fish hatcheries across the nation work with states and Tribes to produce and distribute fish for recreational and conservation purposes and provide refuge for endangered species. The hatcheries also provide outdoor opportunities from fishing events and tours to numerous education activities.  

Things to Do and See

Nearly one million people visit the National Fish Hatchery System every year for incredible opportunities to hike, bird, fish, visit an aquarium, and learn more about fish conservation. 

  • Take part in a fishing derby 
  • See a freshwater fish aquarium 
  • Explore a nature trail 

Find A Hatchery    More about Fish Hatcheries

Upcoming Events

View the upcoming events at our national wildlife refuge and national fish hatchery facilities.

Outdoor Activity

Get outside this winter and spring by participating in free guided birding tours at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. You don’t need to be an expert to enjoy identifying and learning about the many species of birds that inhabit the refuge. Expert birder Ron Ketter will help you find and...

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
Blackwater NWR Visitor Center
Presentation

Cozy up in front of the fireplace to hear a story (or two) read aloud from a Park Ranger. Afterward, feel free to explore all that our Visitor Center has to offer.

This event is intended for young children.

No tickets required, but registration requested via Eventbrite.

The...

Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge
Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge
Outdoor Activity

Winter trams at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park offer the unique opportunity to observe and experience the incredible migration of wintering ducks, geese and swans. These waterfowl use the wildlife refuge to feed and rest during the winter months, preparing themselves...

Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
View all Events

Ways to Get Involved

Whether as a visitor to a refuge, a volunteer, a coworker, a formal partner, or more, there's plenty of ways we can work together to conserve and protect our natural resources. Here's just a few...

Learning Opportunities

We offer many types of learning opportunities including formal and informal training. Some of the education we offer includes job training, career enhancement training, education for environmental or technical professionals, and students.

Youth Programs

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) enjoys a proud history working with a range of youth organizations to help young people develop academic, leadership, and citizenship skills.

Partnerships

The Fish and Wildlife Service enters into agreements with a wide range of organizations at the national, regional and local levels.

Volunteering Opportunities

We have lots of ways to help out, for the short term or long, on the ground or in the office. We truly value our volunteer colleagues.

Get Involved