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.​


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 Public Lands Near You

Ideas for Visitors

Monarch Butterfly at Clarence Cannon National Wildlife Refuge
Things to see when the day is long at 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:

  • 567 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.

This is the 39th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day, the state's largest annual volunteer event! All are welcome to join us and spend some time cleaning up our environment.

We will be meeting at 501 Fulton Shipyard Rd.


Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge
Special Observance

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED DUE TO FORECASTED WEATHER. An alert will be posted on the refuge website when the event is rescheduled.

In observance of National Public Lands Day, volunteers are needed to help pick up litter on refuge roadsides. Bags, gloves, and...

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
Refuge Visitor Center
Special Observance

In recognition of National Public Lands Day, all national wildlife refuges and other U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands that normally charge an entrance fee offer free admission today, September 23, 2023. Concessionaire or permit fees for...

Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge
Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge
Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge
Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge
Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge
Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge
Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge
DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge
Mingo National Wildlife Refuge
Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge
J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
Nathaniel P. Reed Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge
Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge
Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge
Elizabeth Alexandra Morton National Wildlife Refuge
Target Rock National Wildlife Refuge
Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge
Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge
All U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands that normally charge an entrance fee
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.


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