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.

Enjoy the refuge from the comfort of your car. The wildlife drive route is approximately 7 miles long, departs from the Visitor Center parking lot, and travels through a part of the refuge that is normally closed in order to provide undisturbed nesting area in the summer, and resting and feeding...

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge
Outdoor Activity

Join a Ranger for a bird identification walk at the Refuge! Learn bird calls, bird identification, and other avian facts. All skill levels welcome! Bring your own binoculars or borrow a pair from us. Photographers are welcome as well. The walks are at the Visitor Center on Waverly Road, most...

Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge
Refuge Visitor Center (Waverly Road)
Festival

The 44th Annual Eagle Days Event at Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge sponsored by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). Join us for this FREE fun-filled weekend. 

Saturday, December 2, 2023 - 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM...

Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge
Refuge Headquarters
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