At the edge of Boynton Beach, where historic farmlands have given way to subdivisions, Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge is a 145,000 acre buffer between suburbia and the Everglades
Recreation in Florida's National Wildlife Refuges
Florida is where the National Wildlife Refuge system began in 1903, at Pelican Island. We now have 29 refuges across the state, with hiking, paddling, and birding the top activities at these refuges.
The original Cedar Key isn’t where you think it is. It’s offshore, within sight of the current historic waterfront, an island called Atsena Otie Key, part of Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge.
If you’ve wanted to see bioluminescence while paddling in Florida, this is your put-in spot. Bairs Cove offers an easy launch into the Indian River Lagoon as well as a sheltered cove along Haulover Canal.
Home to a gentle 1-mile loop hike through coastal habitats, Barrier Island Sanctuary is a gateway to Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, with an informative oceanfront coastal biology center.
A stop along the Bartram Trail, the Beecher Run Nature Trail at Welaka National Fish Hatchery provides a walk beneath ancient pines along the edge of the hatchery ponds, which are fed by historic Beecher Spring.
Winding along a narrow hardpacked limestone road for 7 miles, Black Point Wildlife Drive offers from-your-car birding amid the marshes of Merritt Island NWR.
For the easiest wildlife watching opportunity inside National Key Deer Refuge, head for the trail and observation deck at Blue Hole, a cenote-like pond that is the largest body of fresh water in the Florida Keys.
Tunneling through the shade of coastal cedars between open marshes and the boat channel from the saltwater boat ramp to the Gulf of Mexico, the Cedar Point Trail is a short walk to the Gulf ‘s shores.
Designed the first National Wildlife Refuge in 1903, Pelican Island NWR celebrated its century mark by creating this short, scenic, accessible boardwalk for birding.
Protecting more than 6,700 acres of Key Largo to provide prime habitat for the endangered American crocodile, Crocodile Lake NWR has a small visitor complex where you can learn about species conservation at the refuge.