Opportunities for outdoor recreation draw millions of people each year to national wildlife refuges, boosting local economies. Many visitors enjoy hiking, paddling, wildlife viewing or nature photography. Others take part in heritage sports such as hunting and fishing. All these activities offer visitors a chance to unplug from the stresses of modern life and reconnect with their natural surroundings.

Plan Your Visit

Things to Do

National wildlife refuges provide a variety of activities such as walking, fishing, bird-watching, canoeing, and hunting that offer the chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with our natural surroundings.

View Recreational Activities

Things to See

National wildlife refuges are world-renowned as places to see great seasonal migrations of fish and wildlife, iconic animals life bison and bears, and more ordinary creatures thriving in their natural habitats.

Passes and Permits

Some 30 national wildlife refuges charge visitors a nominal entrance fee (generally $3-$5 daily) to cover road and facility maintenance. If you are a regular visitor or would like to visit other public lands, you could save by buying a Federal Duck Stamp or an America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Passes, your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites.


Find a Refuge Near You

Ways to Get Involved

There are many ways to get involved at any facility in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Learn about the ways you can help out at your local refuge.


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

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.


Since 2010, the National Wildlife Refuge System has embarked on strategically and collaboratively addressing the mounting challenges faced by conserving America's wild plants, fish, animals and their habitats in our rapidly changing world.

Learning Opportunities

Outdoor Learning provides you with links to fun facts and info you can use for every trip to our refuges. 

Latest Stories

closeup view face to face with an adult African elephant showing one broken off tusk.
Wildlife Crime
Wildlife Trafficker Sentenced to 63 Months in Prison
A citizen of Liberia and resident of Uganda, Moazu Kromah, was sentenced to 63 months in prison for conspiring to traffic in millions of dollars in rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory, both endangered wildlife species.
Aerial view of hatchery buildings adjacent to water and surrounded by trees.
Our People
Job Program Helps Tribal Member Find Hatchery Future
Tribal employment partnership lets local member grow a hatchery career in the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state.
woman in lifevest in kayak in water near a shore with tall grasses
Our People
Director Williams Talks With Ducks Unlimited
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director was recently interviewed for a special edition of the Ducks Unlimited Podcast. She joins co-hosts Senior Waterfowl Scientist Mike Brasher and Chief Conservation Officer Karen Waldrop to discuss her love of the outdoors, priorities within the USFWS, the...
orange and blue sky over water
Land Management
Great American Outdoors Act Makes Public Lands More Accessible
The nation’s public lands are for everyone, and we at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are celebrating the two-year anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act, which is helping make greater access possible.

Upcoming Events

View the upcoming events at our national wildlife refuge facilities.

In Nature Interrupted, Erik Olson uses quilted plastic waste to examine the effects of consumerism, mass consumption, and unfettered capitalism on our waterways, wildlife, and wilderness areas. By layering climate change and environmental justice messages, his art emphasizes our alienation from...

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Bloomington Education and Visitor Center
Outdoor Activity

Have you ever wondered how big a tree is when you see them in a forest or in your back yard? Learn how to measure a tree with a few simple tools you already have at home. You may just discover a record breaking tree! We'll practice on one of the large native bur oaks at the Rapids Lake Education...

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center
Outdoor Activity

Join Refuge Rangers as we explore the different turtle species as well as some other reptiles that utilize the refuge throughout the year. Explore their habitats and compare them to other wildlife species on the refuge!

For more information on this program please call the refuge at 712...

DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge
DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
View all Events