Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge is a Nature-Lovers Must See

When visiting the Bolivar Peninsula, you may want to get off the beaten path for a unique outdoor adventure. The Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge is an ideal place for just that. This stunning 37,000-acre wildlife conservation area is located along the coast of Texas and offers opportunities for hiking, photography, birdwatching, fishing, and more.

If you are planning a getaway to the Texas Gulf Coast, we encourage you to get our FREE Destination Guide. This is the perfect planning companion for your next vacation.


In this blog post, we will help nature lovers plan an amazing day of outdoor fun and exploration at the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. Keep reading for details and what to expect at the refuge.

Getting There

The Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge is on the Texas Gulf Coast at 4318 FM 1985, Anahuac, TX. During the high season, when traffic is heavy, it is approximately one hour east and then north of Crystal Beach.

Hours of Operation

The refuge is open daily from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset.

About Anahuac Nation Wildlife Refuge

The mission of the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge is to protect critically important coastal wetlands. These efforts benefit not only wildlife and the ecosystem but also people and the economy.

Founded in 1963, the refuge was initially established to provide wintering habitats for migratory birds and waterfowl. Serving as one of three refuges in the Texas Chenier Plain Wildlife Refuge Complex, the refuge is now a Globally Important Bird Area, a Monarch Waystation, and a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network Site of International Importance.

Visitors of all ages are invited to explore the refuge, which offers a variety of recreation and educational opportunities. Public lands are meant to be used, and this one provides a vast array of activities.


person walking on boardwalk in nature

What Activities are Available?

Places to Explore at the Refuge

Check out these incredible places within the refuge to view wildlife, including alligators and bird species. Paved roadways, boardwalks, and overlooks provide excellent viewing opportunities. Be sure to bring your binoculars and your camera.

  • Shoveler Pond Auto Loop and Boardwalk Trail – 2.64-mile auto tour and 0.14-mile accessible boardwalk
  • Willows Trail and Butterfly Garden – 0.71-mile accessible trail
  • Skillern Tract
    • Honeysuckle Trail – 0.10-mile grass trail
    • Live Oak Trail – 1.00-mile grass trail
    • Rookery Trail – 0.24-mile accessible trail
  • Woodlot Trail – 0.12-mile paved trail
  • Hackberry Trail – 0.67-mile gravel trail
  • Cypress Trail – 0.25-mile accessible trail (at the Anahuac NWR Visitors Center)
  • Frozen Point
  • East Bay Boat Ramp
  • Oyster Bayou Boat Ramp
  • Anahuac NWR Visitors Center – located just north of Anahuac, TX

For more details on the locations of specific points of interest, click here for the refuge’s brochure. Click here for their trail map.


american alligator sunning on log in water

Wildlife to Be Seen

The unique ecosystem of the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge provides a habitat for various reptiles, insects, amphibians, birds, and mammals. Here is a list of some of the animals you may see during your visit:

  • Alligators
  • Nutria
  • Snakes
  • Caterpillars
  • Wildflowers
  • Frogs
  • Bees
  • Insects
  • Spiders
  • Dragonflies
  • HermitCrabs
  • Fish
  • Turtles
  • Lizards
  • Songbirds
  • Ducks
  • Geese
  • Hawks
  • Eagles
  • Otters
  • Raccoons
  • Rabbits
  • Coyotes
  • Bobcats

More Adventures for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts will want to explore more of the Bolivar Peninsula’s natural wonders. There are so many incredible outdoor activities to enjoy, including the East End Lagoon Nature Preserve and High Island.

What to Bring

  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Repellant
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Walking Shoes
  • Walking Stick
  • Water
  • Snacks or Picnic

Where to Stay

crystal beach vacation homeYour Crystal Beach vacation rental makes the perfect home base for your outdoor adventure while on vacation. Swedes Real Estate offers guests a beautiful selection of rental homes with excellent amenities. Beachfront homes give you a front-row seat to the Gulf’s beauty. Homes that are pet-friendly provide guests the option to travel with their four-legged family members. Search for a rental house that fits your travel needs, and book your getaway today!