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.

Partnerships

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.

Outreach

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

Pumpout Boat
Recreation
$16 Million for Local Waterways and Recreational Boaters
Recreational boaters, local communities and aquatic resources will benefit from more than $16 million in grant funds, thanks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Clean Vessel Act (CVA) program. The CVA program fosters clean water and recreational access through funding to state agencies for the...
A bright yellow kayak glides through on a glass-smooth river surrounded by towering evergreen trees. In the distance ominous clouds hover in a clearing sky on the horizon.
Migratory Species
Searching for Wonder Among the Sparrows
How do biologists keep their sense of wonder for nature alive when the point of their job is to be objective and look at the facts? Read biologist Bri Benvenuti's blog to find out how.
whooping crane in water
Migratory Species
Record High Number of Whooping Cranes Wintered in Texas
Last winter, an estimated 543 whooping cranes arrived on their Texas wintering grounds after migrating 2,500 miles from their breeding grounds in Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada.
a big log in a clear stream
Wildlife Wonders
The Quiet Love Affair Between Fish and Trees
We all know fish live in water, but many of us don’t realize that their world stretches up onto the banks and beyond. Sure, fish don’t occupy that space. But what happens out of the water can affect them profoundly. This story is about the quiet love affair between fish and trees.
Sunrise over wetland with treeline silhouette in the distance.
Land Management
5 Things You Need to Know About Wetlands
May is American Wetlands Month, yet every day is a great time to celebrate these diverse habitats. Wetlands support birds, fishes, amphibians, plants, and more. Discover the importance of wetlands to plants, wildlife, and people around the globe.
Greater sandhill crane on Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge
Wildlife Management
$95 Million Awarded for Wetland Conservation Projects
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland today announced that $95 million in funding has been approved by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, which will provide the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners the ability to help conserve or restore more than 300,000 acres of wetland and...

Upcoming Events

View the upcoming events at our national wildlife refuge facilities.

Wetlands give a lot back to the community, much of which goes unseen. From issues like flood control to recreation, protecting these fragile ecosystems is vitally important. Join ACE member Zoe in learning about why and how we protect this area, and the hidden functions of our wetland...

Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Freeland Boardwalk

Let's put the birds to bed! We'll watch and listen for bird activity with Paul Bogard & Joanna Eckles as night falls, test our senses, and learn about night migration and light pollution at the MN Valley National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is a wild and truly remote landscape yet it winds...

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Bloomington Visitor Center

Join us to see who is flitting in our upland forests! Meet Herb Myers at the Visitor Center at 7am on Saturday May 21 to see who is calling Canaan Valley home. From the Visitor Center, you will travel up Forest Road 80 to see what high elevation birds we have. Black throated blues and other...

Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Visitor Center
View all Events