J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge

1 Wildlife Dr., Sanibel, 33957
(239) 472-1100
730am to sunset

J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge

This refuge on Sanibel Island is an internationally renowned birding destination, and for good reason – it is one of the finest wildlife refuges in the country. The Wildlife Drive will take visitors on an introductory tour of the impoundment system that makes the refuge famous, with incredible views of herons, egrets, ibises, storks and spoonbills, and shorebirds during drawdowns in spring and fall. Drive the 4-mile road slowly, or bike this same road along with several spur trails for a slower, more intimate view of the mangrove estuaries. Listen for mangrove cuckoos as you go! Put in your own canoe or kayak at one of the two unimproved ramps off Wildlife Drive for a tour of the mangrove wilderness area (no motors), or ask at the visitor center about the possibility of renting a boat or joining a boat tour. The Bailey Tract is a separate site that offers different habitat but still excellent birding. This dry barrier island interior property has a trail system that will take you through upland habitat and past freshwater inholdings that are frequented by ducks, shorebirds, sparrows, blackbirds and warblers! This is an excellent place to start or end the day, watching the flyover of larger birds between the ocean and the sound.

trip planner
ebird