U.S. National Wildlife Refuges Offer Affordable and Free Summer Events

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An osprey gives a fierce stare at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, VA. (Katherine Whittemore/USFWS)

An osprey gives a fierce stare at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, VA. (Katherine Whittemore/USFWS)

Soak up the summer by enjoying the great outdoors in a national wildlife refuge. A host of events and activities are planned at wildlife refuges across the country ranging from full moon guided canoe trips to butterfly counts and learning how to make mustard to birding for beginners.

These activities are ideal for solo travelers because they offer perfect opportunities to meet others. They’re also easy on the budget because some are free to participate.

Following is a sampling of events happening throughout the U.S. Find a refuge near you – or near your travel destination – by using the “find your refuge” tool.

Full Moon Guided Canoe Trips
Saturday, June 22, 7 to 9 p.m. — Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, Fla.
Enjoy a guided moonlight canoe tour through part of the refuge. Wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants and bring a flashlight and bug spray. Canoe rental from Loxahatchee Canoeing is $32; you may not bring your own. One canoe seats two to three people. Reservations: 561-733-0192

Archery Classes
Tuesday, June 25, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. — Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge, N.J.
Refuge staff will lead archery classes for children in grades 4 through 8. This training follows the National Archery in the Schools Program and will provide 24 hours of instruction and practice followed by a tournament. Registration is required. Contact Fran Stephenson, 938-702-7266 ext. 10.

Find additional June 2013 events here.

Mingo Night Life – Bats
Saturday, July 13, 6 pm. — Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, Mo.
Did you know that one little brown bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes in a night? Learn more about these fascinating creatures.

Mountain Hike
Saturday, July 20, 8 to 11 a.m. — San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Calif.
Join refuge staff for a strenuous, 3 hour hike on the McGinty Mountain trail.

Find additional July 2013 events here.

Birds for Beginners
Saturday, August 3, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. — Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, Colo.
Discover the tips and tricks to birding. Learn how to use binoculars, guide books and other bird identification aids in an auditorium presentation. Then head into the field with a naturalist to put your new skills to the test. Recommended for beginners and families.

Cutting the Mustard
Sunday, August 11, 11 a.m. to noon — Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, CA
Hear how the mustard plant was introduced from the Mediterranean region to California more than 200 years ago. Learn how it spread throughout the state and invaded wild areas, displacing native habitat. Collect seeds from the plant to reduce the seed bank and make a mustard condiment. Reservations: 510-792-0222 ext. 363.

Find additional August 2013 events here.

Do you live near a national wildlife refuge?

Image Source: Katherine Whittemore/USFWS

Author: Solo Travel Girl

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led Jennifer Huber, aka: Solo Travel Girl, to a career path in tourism. She has worked in the tourism industry for more than 20 years including 10 years with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley and Everglades National Park. She currently lives in Southwest Florida, and maintains this travel blog with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely.

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