In Chatham, Massachusetts, visitors will find not only a colorful beach town that is an integral part of the Cape Cod experience, but also a gorgeous natural attraction that cannot be missed: Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge. First declared a refuge in 1944 for birds migrating to the area each season, this breathtaking locale is based on the elbow of Cape Cod, showcasing over seven thousand acres of varied habitats for local wildlife, from oceans, fresh- and saltwater marshes to coastal dunes and freshwater ponds.

Read on to learn more about what makes Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge in Chatham, MA such a wonderful place to visit during your time in Cape Cod!

Activities to Do and Places to See

Because of its vast and dynamic environmental landscapes, Monomoy Wildlife Refuge is replete with options for visitors looking to experience the wonders of this picturesque New England setting.

Sport and recreational fishing are allowed here, and non-resident visitors to Chatham may acquire a recreational shellfish permit. Bluefish and striped bass can be found along the beach—the perfect catch for saltwater or fly fishing.

Wildlife viewing is an understandably popular activity here; after all, the refuge serves as a sanctuary for birds, having been listed as both an Important Bird Area and a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network Regional site. If you take the Morris Island trail, you could potentially see horseshoe crabs, shorebirds, song birds, and seals.

With so many intriguing animal denizens and stunning backdrops, visitors will also find that Monomoy Wildlife Refuge is an ideal destination for photography enthusiasts—particularly during the summer, when the refuge hosts its annual summer photo contest. There are scenic overlooks on the Morris Island Trail, as well as a diverse presence of snowy egrets, willets, least terns, piping plovers, and common terns.

Visitors may choose to go on a self-guided walk of Morris Island trail with the aid of a trail map, or a guided hiking tour along the trail during the summer season, when more staff are available. Along the trail, each stop has informative panels about the flora and fauna of the area, while the visitor center has hands-on exhibits and games.

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Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters
30 Wikis Way Chatham, MA 02633

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