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Visiting Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge rests on 7,517 acres and serves as a safe refuge for migratory birds and home for native flora and fauna. The coastal lands consist of beach dunes and rolling-pine oak woodlands. Explore the natural wonders of the Gulf Coast by taking a hike on one of the four trails or enjoy some world-class bird watching.

Pine Beach Trail - Reviews, Photos - Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge - Tripadvisor

Visiting Hours

Visitor Center: Monday-Friday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Trails: sunrise to sunset 7 days a week.


The refuge is located in Gulf Shores, AL. The hottest months in this area are July and August. If you are sensitive to heat, it is best to plan a visit during October, November or April.

Things to Do At National Wildlife Refuge

  • Bird Watching
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Photography
  • Hiking

National Wildlife Refuge Birdwatching

More than 370 species of birds have been spotted here which makes birdwatching a popular activity on the refuge. Spring and Fall migrations bring an abundance of these neotropical feathered creatures.

How To Do Fishing At National Wildlife Refuge

Little Lagoon and Gator Lake are open for some recreational fishing. Anglers can also try out surf fishing at the beach. A valid Alabama saltwater fishing license is required.


Non-motorized boats like kayaks and canoes are welcome at Bon Secour. These can be launched at Jeff Friend trail kayak site. This site opens up into Little Lagoon. Gator Lake can be used for kayaks, canoes, and electric trolling motors if they are transported through Pine Beach Trail or Gator Lake Trail.

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge Photography

There are multiple opportunities on the refuge for beautiful photographs. Capture the sandy beaches along the Gulf, wetlands, maritime forest and other natural landscapes. You are sure to spot some wildlife to snap a picture of as well.

Hiking At National Wildlife Refuge

The Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge has four trails where you can discover the dunes, swales, wetlands, and other habitats in the refuge. The trails are open year-round from sunrise to sunset.

Centennial Trail: maritime forest and dune swales

  • 2 Miles
  • Moderate
  • 2 hour point to point

Gator Lake Trail: maritime forest and the frontal dunes

  • .78 Miles
  • Moderate
  • 1 hour point to point

Jeff Friend Trail: maritime forest, wetlands and Little Lagoon

  • .78 Miles
  • Moderate
  • 1 hour loop

Pine Beach Trail: maritime forest, scrub, and dune habitats

  • 1.65 Miles
  • Hard
  • 2 hours out and back

At this time, the Centennial and Gator Lake Trail boardwalks are closed due to safety concerns. All trails are still open though.

Before you head out to the preserve, here are a few tips.

  1. During summer, wear sunscreen and a hat for sun protection.
  2. Bring bug repellant. Biting insects are year-round, especially in the summer months.
  3. Stay hydrated.
  4. Pets are not permitted, with the exception of service dogs.
  5. There is no entry fee.

Plan your trip to Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge by looking at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge Map Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge | Map | U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service ( . There is something for everyone to enjoy and explore!


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