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The Ultimate Guide to New Jersey National Wildlife Refuges

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  • Post published:11/23/2020
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New Jersey is home to five National Wildlife Refuges, which are protected land administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

These lands are home to many species of wildlife, including birds, fish, amphibians, and more.  Some of the best birding and bird photography can be done here at these spots, as well as wildlife photography!

From North to South Jersey, these are the five National Wildlife Refuges you should start exploring, any time of year! And here’s the USFWS Map for more information about each site.

The Walkill River NWR boasts four walking trails, including two miles of the Appalachian Trail. You can canoe and kayak, too!

This refuge stretches along the Wallkill River into New York state.

See our whole Wallkill River guide here.

Photo Credit: Abbey Dufoe

The centrally-located Great Swamp is chock-full of hiking trails through swamp and wooded areas, so you’ll be able to see tons of birds and other wildlife through the bird blinds. 

Over 13 species of duck, 39 species of mammal, and 42 species of reptiles/amphibians call the refuge home! So make sure you have all your photo gear. Need new stuff? We have you covered.

Looking to explore Basking Ridge? See our guide.

Head south for your next stop — Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Salem County.

Bordering the Delaware River, this wildlife refuge features an internationally-recognized wetland which is home to waterfowl and wading birds. The tidal marsh, wetlands, and grasslands will give you a lot to explore! 

You can even visit Finn’s Point Rear Range Lighthouse while you’re here, which is part of the refuge. See all our lighthouses on our Lighthouse Map.

Want to explore more of Salem County? We have a guide for that.

Photo Credit: Lindsay McNamara

Edwin B. Forsythe NWR, also known as Brigantine or “Brig” in the birding community, is the next wildlife refuge in South Jersey, located just north of Atlantic City.

There are dozens and dozens of birds to see here, including the endangered piping plover. Check out our Birdy Jerz guide to see what’s visiting Brig during each season.

Want more to do in Atlantic County? Check out our guide.

Last but certainly not least — and certainly not more south! — is Cape May Wildlife Refuge in Cape May County.

The refuge has multiple divisions, along the Delaware Bay, the Great Cedar Swamp, and along a barrier island, so there are a multitude of spots to seek out!

There is tons to explore in the outdoors of Cape May Point, especially in the winter, and even in the off-season, so get down to the southernmost-point of New Jersey and get exploring!

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