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Big Bend Scenic Byway

Explore Undiscovered North Florida

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

Access for All
Accessible Parking
Beaches
Biking
Birding
Boat Tours
Camping
Concessions
Entrance Fee
Fishing
Hiking, Walking
Historic Site
Interpretive Exhibit
Lodge
Museum
Paddling
Paddling Ramp
Pavilion
Picnic
Playground
Restrooms
Shower
Swimming
Tours
Water Fountain
Wildlife Viewing
  • Lighthouse keepers house at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
  • Parking and boardwalk entrance to Visitors Center at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
  • Visitor Center and interactive interpretation and gift shop at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

CR 59
Newport, FL

850-925-6121

fws.gov/refuge/st_marks

Access for All
Accessible Parking
Birding
Entrance Fee
Hiking, Walking
Historic Site
Interpretive Exhibit
Picnic
Restrooms
Tours
Water Fountain
Wildlife Viewing

The refuge was established in 1931 to provide wintering habitat for migratory birds. It is one of the oldest refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System. It encompasses over 70,000 acres spread out between Wakulla, Jefferson, and Taylor counties, and includes about 43 miles along the Gulf Coast of northwest Florida.

The refuge includes coastal marshes, islands, tidal creeks and estuaries of seven north Florida rivers, and is home to a diverse community of plant and animal life. The refuge also has strong ties to a rich cultural past, and is home to the St. Marks Lighthouse, which was built in 1842 (current tower) and is still in use today.

  • Over 17,000 acres are protected under the Federal Wilderness Act.
  • Longleaf Pine Land Management Research and Demonstration Area;
  • Globally Important Bird Area
  • Outstanding Florida Waters
  • Class 1 Air Quality area
Visitors Center

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
45 min.
Ramp to entrance; nature interpretation, gifts, information; outside deck overlook of Plum Orchard Pond “Bring your camera, the view of the pond is wonderful”

Comments:
“Very friendly staff”
“We saw a fawn sleeping under the ramp”
 

Visitor center interactive interpretion and gift shop
Parking and boardwalk entrance to visitors center - St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
Entrance to visitors center at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
roll-under sink in restroom
Viewing platform of plum orchard pond
Fishing at Mounds Pool & Lighthouse Pool Docks

The St. Marks NWR provides opportunities for both fresh and salt water fishing. In addition to many lakes, ponds, creeks and rivers, the refuge has two boat launching sites for access to Apalachicola Bay.

Mounds Pool and Lighthouse Pool Dock Fishing

Activity Time: 30 minutes or more.

Lighthouse Pool dock with portable toilets; paved to dock; Mounds Pool Dock unmarked parking on hard packed dirt across street.

Reviews & Comments

“Great for birdwatching and fishing."

“Accessible boat transfer on Lighthouse dock."

boat transfer at dock on lighthouse pool
dock at east river pool
dock at lighthouse pool
Hiking or Walking Headquarters Pond Trail

Headquarters Pond Trail
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

45 min. ¼ mile;
hard packed surface bound by board & railing; interpretation in English/Braille;
ramp to platform

Comments:
“View from the observation platform is amazing”
“Trail is very easy to maneuver by wheelchair”
“Pathway has great signage”
“Excellent wildlife viewing”

headquarter's accessible trail
Another headquarter's accessible trail at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
Another headquarter's accessible trail at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
Informative accessible trail along headquarter's pond - St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
 view of headquarter's pond from trail platform
 view of headquarter's pond from trail platform
Backcountry Tram St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

Multi passenger trams can transport groups to view birds and wildlife on the refuge.

Backcountry Tram

Activity Time: 2 hours.

Golf cart tram; open at back for easy access.

Operates on the 3rd Sunday of the month at 1-3 PM from September to May, free, reservations required (call 850-925-6121 well in advance).

Nature tour tram at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
Tram transports group of wildlife observers at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
Tram on nature tour at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
Hiking or Walking Lighthouse Levee Trail

Lighthouse Levee Trail
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

45 min. .4 miles;
packed dirt/grass path circles Lighthouse Pond, benches, can return along roadway

Comments:
“Excellent views”
“Good for sturdy wheelchairs”

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge - lighthouse levee trail natural sand & grass surface
Picnicking at Picnic Pond

Picnic Pond
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

1 hr.
Packed dirt surface to tables on concrete pad

Comments:
“Great lake view”
“Friendly Grackles”
“Saw two Bobcats here in the spring”
 

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge - picnic area
Lighthouse Birding and Wildlife Viewing

Drive the main route to the lighthouse, looking for birds in the ponds along the way

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge - lighthouse
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge - seating area with marsh view at lighthouse

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