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.

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

Find Public Lands Near You

Upcoming Events

View the upcoming events at our national wildlife refuge and national fish hatchery facilities.

Public Meeting
What will we do at the Talking Circles?

Share, Listen, and Plan:

 What Tribal leaders have to say and what federal partners have heard about co-stewardship.  Examples of how co-stewardship is happening in AK today.  How Tribal leaders and...
Southern Alaska Fish and Wildlife Field Office
Northern Alaska Fish and Wildlife Field Office
Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge
Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge
Izembek National Wildlife Refuge
Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge
Togiak National Wildlife Refuge
Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Innoko National Wildlife Refuge
Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge
Koyukuk National Wildlife Refuge
Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge
Selawik National Wildlife Refuge
Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge
Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge
Alaska Region Headquarters
Virtual Meeting
Outdoor Activity

Always the second Friday in June, this fishing derby is open to Senior citizens aged 62 and over and individuals of any age with a permanent disability. Registration begins at 8:00am, free fishing runs from 9:00 am - 12:00pm. Free hot dog lunch served. Fishing tackle and bait are provided....

Neosho National Fish Hatchery
Neosho National Fish Hatchery

Get behind the scenes for a bus tour of Great Bay NWR. Meet at Great Bay NWR at 10:45am, or ride the bus up from Parker River NWR departing at 10am. 

Registration required at: 

Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Parking Lot
View all Events

Latest Stories

Solid red bird perched on branch
Migratory Species
Migratory Birds to Benefit from More Than $24 Million in Funding Throughout the Americas
Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is announcing more than $24 million in funding has been approved for grants through the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act for conservation projects to benefit migratory birds and people throughout the Americas.
A container filled with plastic hair curlers that have birds stuffed inside
Wildlife Crime
Partnering to stop songbird smuggling
This spring, an individual who has repeatedly engaged in songbird smuggling received the strongest sentence of anyone to date for finch smuggling. The Service is stepping up efforts to stop serial smuggling, and working with partners to better understand demand to get at the root of the issue.
A group of mussels on sea floor.
Wildlife Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Supports Boaters and Clean Waterways Through Clean Vessel Act Program
Recreational boaters and the nation’s waterways 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. Since the program’s inception in 1993, these grants have improved pump-out stations and waste reception facilities...
Light purple, five-petal flowers with yellow center on a branch with green leaves.
Endangered Species Act
$62.5M for Endangered Species Recovery Planning
Today, on Endangered Species Day, the Department of the Interior announced a $62.5 million investment from the Inflation Reduction Act to help plan for endangered species recovery efforts.
A turtle sticks its head out of as suck it's been stuffed inside
Wildlife Crime
Keeping turtles safe from illegal trade
Conservationist Jeff Corwin teamed up with the Service and partners to raise awareness about threats to America’s native turtles and tortoises, including illegal collection. Join Jeff in the field to track eastern box turtles and learn how you can help keep them wild.
boat with service employees electrofishing with multiple fish jumping out of water
Science and Technology
Theodore Roosevelt Genius Prize Offers up to $100,000 for Novel Conservation Solutions
The public can now help reimagine what drives wildlife conservation in the 21st century by participating in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Theodore Roosevelt Genius Prize competitions, which open for entries today.

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