Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge

Attraction magazine has partnered with the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office and Chesapeake Conservancy to help readers find their next adventure. Each month we’ll feature a new place from their helpful website, FindYourChesapeake.com. There, you can also sign up for an e-newsletter, Trips and Tips, that delivers fresh ideas to your inbox each week.

Photograph courtesy of Middleton Evans, NPS.

Ready to try something new? At FindYourChesapeake.com, also find expert advice on experiences like birdwatching, fishing, camping, and hiking. Their team also developed content to help people explore the Chesapeake virtually so folks can stay safe at home during the pandemic.

This month the spotlight is on Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Kent County. Located at the confluence of the Chester River and the Chesapeake Bay, the 2,285-acre island refuge has much to offer its visitors. The refuge provides top-notch, easily accessible wildlife viewing from its seven trails and two boardwalks and, with over 240 species of birds, 18 species of mammals, and hundreds of butterflies, there’s a lot to see without even getting out of your car.

As you cross over the bridge and enter the refuge, the Tundra Swan Boardwalk offers two viewing scopes for a closer look, as well as access to fishing and crabbing. The Bayview-Butterfly Trail gives visitors a representative sampling of the Refuge’s habitat – and beauty – as it travels through grassland where native plants attract butterflies and then forest. The namesake tundra swans visit the refuge in winter, along with thousands of other migrating waterfowl, but the bald eagles can be spotted any time of year.

Photograph courtesy of Heather Orkis, Maryland DNR.

For paddlers, the Eastern Neck Island Water Trail encircles the island refuge after departing from Bogle’s Wharf. Fishermen can cast a line from one of three locations within the refuge, including a fishing pier at Bogle’s Wharf. The refuge is flat and is a popular place to ride bikes. Bikes are permitted on roads but are not permitted on trails. And don’t forget your camera – the spectacular sunsets at Eastern Neck NWR have inspired many a photographer.

The Tundra Swan Boardwalk offers great views of the refuge. Photograph courtesy of Middleton Evans.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lodge (visitor center) is closed. The refuge asks that everyone follow the safety protocols when they visit. For more information, visit www.fws.gov/refuge/eastern_neck.

Refuge map

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Allison Rogers



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