Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

Eastern Shore

The Atlantic Flyway is the main route birds take between northern and southern migratory trips, and the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge was established to give our feathered friends a rest stop. This enormous expanse of marsh and pine forest contains a third of Maryland's wetland habitat. Thousands upon thousands of birds call the refuge home, or stop there on their migratory routes. Driving or cycling the paved 4.5-mile wildlife drive is perhaps the seminal wildlife experience on the Eastern Shore.

Though the Blackwater is technically in the state of Maryland, by all appearances it could have fallen from the cutting-room floor of Jurassic Park. A few short walking trails and an observation deck can be accessed via the wildlife drive. Stop by the visitor center for driving, cycling and canoe trail maps and to scan for bald eagles. The refuge is also a stop on the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway and borders the historic byway's new national historic park. In sum, don't miss it.

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