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

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.​


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


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 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

Two California condors in a flight pen perching with their wings outstretched. Another condor can be seen in the background.
Our Partners
Working with Tribes
One of our top priorities is working together with those who have stewarded the country’s lands and wildlife since time immemorial. Native American Tribes have long dedicated themselves to management and conservation of fish, wildlife, and their habitats. Read about a few of the projects were we...
Close up of a small spotted brown and black toad on blades of brown and green grass.
Endangered Species Act
Service lists Dixie Valley toad, found only in Nevada, as endangered
Following a review of the best available scientific information, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined the Dixie Valley toad is at risk of extinction and is listing the species as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, continuing the protections applied to the toad in the...
A plant with white and pink flowers
Endangered Species Act
Two Channel Islands plant species reach recovery thanks to Endangered Species Act
Ventura, Calif. - Two plants that live on California’s Channel Islands and nowhere else on earth – the Santa Cruz Island dudleya and island bedstraw – have reached recovery thanks to Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is proposing to remove the...
Northern long-eared bat with white-nose syndrome in a cave
Endangered Species Act
Northern long-eared bat reclassified as endangered under the Endangered Species Act
The bat, listed as threatened in 2015, now faces extinction due to the rangewide impacts of white-nose syndrome, a deadly disease affecting hibernating bats across North America. The rule takes effect on January 30, 2023. The growing extinction crisis highlights the importance of the Endangered...
A rescued young alligator snapping turtle on a grassy field.
Wildlife Management
Critical Progress as CITES CoP19 Comes to a Close
After working around the clock for two weeks, the Biden-Harris administration announced it has forged critical agreements to ensure legal, traceable and biologically sustainable international trade of wild animals and plants.
Honeybees storing honey and pollen on an apiary frame
Bee thankful for pollinators
Who helps prepare your holiday meals? Do they have wings, antennae and six legs? If you’re eating apple pie, cranberry sauce and other common dishes, they do! By helping plants reproduce, bees and other pollinators make our special dinners possible. Meet a few of these busy bees in this article.

Upcoming Events

View the upcoming events at our national wildlife refuge facilities.

Outdoor Activity

Experience the refuge after dark. Join refuge staff and members of the North Shore Amateur Astronomy Club for a full moon and planets viewing. This program will take place Tuesday December 6, with a backup date of Thursday December 8 depending on sky conditions. Registration is...

Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
Sub-Headquarters, Refuge Rd, Newbury, MA
Outdoor Activity

Guided bird walking tours will take place around the Visitor Center and Observation Building where you could see a variety of ducks, geese, cranes, and other birds.

No reservations required Meet outside the Visitor Center at 8:00 AM (Note: Visitor Center building is still closed for...
Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge
Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge - Visitor Center

Canaan Valley has not always looked the way it does now. While we have come to be familiar with the open grasslands, ski trails, and barren rocks of Dolly Sods, this region once appeared very different. Join ACE member Zoe as she discusses the natural history of Canaan Valley, and the events...

Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Beall Parking lot
View all Events