Frequently Asked Questions About Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

How do I get to the Refuge?

When are the hours of operation?

What are the entrance fees?

Where can I find information on lodging and camping?

What is the weather like at the Refuge?

What is at the Visitor Center?

What is the Wildlife Drive?

Does the Refuge have trails?

Are pets allowed at the Refuge?

Where can I find information about wildlife at the Refuge?

Where can I find information about biking, hunting, boating, fishing, and crabbing at the Refuge?

Where can I find information about educational opportunities at the Refuge?


How do I get to the Refuge?

From Easton, Maryland, heading East (South):

From the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, follow Route 50 East to Easton. From Easton continue south on Route 50 East. Cross over the Senator Frederick C. Malkus, Jr. Bridge (Choptank River Bridge) into the city of Cambridge. Continue on Route 50 (approximately 4 miles) through several traffic lights until you come to a traffic light just past the Dorchester Square Shopping Center (Center includes Wal-mart and Dollar Tree). You will see a brown sign directing you to the Refuge. Turn right at this light onto Route 16 West (Church Creek Road). Follow Route 16 straight through a traffic light at Maple Dam Road (Snow's Turn Exxon is on the corner). You will you pass the South Dorchester High School on your left. At the blinker light, turn left onto Egypt Road just past the school buildings (first road past the traffic light; watch for a speed camera after turning at the light). Follow Egypt road for approximately 7 miles and it will dead end at Key Wallace Drive. You will see a brown Refuge sign directing you to turn left onto Key Wallace Drive to go to the Wildlife Drive, or turn right onto Key Wallace Drive to get to the Refuge Office and to the Visitor Center. After turning right onto Key Wallace Drive, the Refuge Office (headquarters) will be the first building on the left (1/2 mile), and the Visitor Center will be the second building on your left (1 1/4 miles).

From Salisbury, Maryland, heading West:

From Salisbury head west on Route 50. Once you are almost in the town of Cambridge, you will come to a traffic light with a gas station on your left and the entrance to the Hyatt on the right. Before the light there should be a large brown sign on the right directing you to the Refuge. At the light you should see the Dorchester Square Shopping Center with a Wal-mart and Dollar Tree. Turn left onto Route 16 West (Church Creek Road). Follow Route 16 straight through a traffic light at Maple Dam Road (Snow's Turn Exxon is on the corner). You will you pass the South Dorchester High School on your left. At the blinker light, turn left onto Egypt Road just past the school buildings (first road past the traffic light; watch for a speed camera after turning at the light). Follow Egypt road for approximately 7 miles and it will dead end at Key Wallace Drive. You will see a brown Refuge sign directing you to turn left onto Key Wallace Drive to go to the Wildlife Drive, or turn right onto Key Wallace Drive to get to the Refuge Office and to the Visitor Center. After turning right onto Key Wallace Drive, the Refuge Office (headquarters) will be the first building on the left (1/2 mile), and the Visitor Center will be the second building on your left (1 1/4 miles).

From Vienna, Maryland:

When coming off the Route 331 ramp, make a right at the 1st stop sign, then make a left onto Race Street toward Market Street. Take the 1st right onto Market Street (if you are on Race Street and reach Middle Street, you've gone a little too far). Market Street becomes Elliotts Island Road/Vienna Henrys Crossroads Road. Turn slight right onto Steele Neck Road. Stay straight to go onto New Bridge Road (you will pass Layton's Chance Winery on the left). Turn left onto Ravenwood Road. Turn right onto Drawbridge Road. Take the 1st left onto Decoursey Bridge Road (if you are on Drawbridge Road and reach Fork Neck Road, you've gone about 2.6 miles too far). Turn left onto Bucktown Road. Turn right onto Greenbriar Road (if you are on Griffith Neck Road and reach Lewis Lane, you've gone about 9.6 miles too far). Turn slight left onto Maple Dam Road/MD-341. Take the 1st right onto Key Wallace Road/Key Wallace Drive (if you are on Shorters Wharf Bridge Road and reach Sandy Island Road, you've gone about 5.4 miles too far). After turning right onto Key Wallace Drive, the Refuge Office (headquarters) will be the first building on the left (1/2 mile), and the Visitor Center will be the second building on your left (1 1/4 miles).

For GPS users: The address of the Blackwater NWR Visitor Center is 2145 Key Wallace Drive, Cambridge, Maryland, 21613.

Should you get lost, you can call (410) 228-2677 for the Visitor Center.

What are the hours of operation?

The Refuge's outdoor facilities and Wildlife Drive are open from dawn to dusk, all year. The Visitor Center and gift shop are open 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the weekend (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas).

What are the entrance fees?

Visitors can purchase a daily permit at the Visitor Center for the following amounts:

Private Vehicle - $3
Pedestrian, Bicyclist - $1
Commercial Van or Bus up to 20 passengers - $15
Commercial Van or Bus 21 passengers or more - $25

Annual and lifetime passes are available at the Visitor Center and include either a current Federal Duck Stamp valid July 1 to June 30 ($25); a Blackwater NWR Pass ($12), valid one year from date of issue; an Interagency Annual Pass ($80), valid one year from date of issue; a lifetime Interagency Seniors Pass ($10); or a lifetime Interagency Access Pass, which is free for the blind and permanently disabled.

Where can I find information on lodging and camping?

Camping is not allowed on Refuge property, but lodging and campgrounds can be found in surrounding towns. For information about camping, see our Camping Fact Sheet (PDF, 15 KB). For more information about motels, hotels, and resorts, visit the Tour Dorchester website and click on "Where to Stay." When selecting a place to stay, note that Cambridge is the closest major town to the Refuge.

What is the weather like at the Refuge?

The Eastern Shore of Maryland enjoys four unique seasons. Many visitors come from late October through early April to avoid the mosquitoes and biting flies that invade the Refuge during the warmer months. The Eastern Shore has temperatures that range from winter lows in the 20s to summer highs in the 80s; average annual rainfall is 40 inches and average annual snowfall is 10 inches.

What can I see at the Visitor Center?

Visit our Visitor Center page to learn about what is available at the Blackwater NWR Visitor Center.

What is the Wildlife Drive?

Visit our Wildlife Drive page to learn about highlights along the road.

Does the Refuge have trails?

Yes, the Refuge has several land trails and paddling trails. Visit the "Plan Your Visit" section of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Blackwater NWR website to learn about the trails.

Are pets allowed at the Refuge?

Pets are not allowed on trails or out of vehicles on the Wildlife Drive, even if on a leash. This policy is to protect the ground-feeding Delmarva fox squirrels.

Where can I find information about wildlife at the Refuge?

Visit our Wildlife page to learn about what species you can see at the Refuge.

Where can I find information about biking, hunting, boating, fishing, and crabbing at the Refuge?

Visit the "Plan Your Visit" and "Visitor Activities" sections of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Blackwater NWR website to learn about these activities.

Where can I find information about educational opportunities at the Refuge?

Visit our Education page for information about environmental education at the Refuge.