Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

This 4662-acre sanctuary occupies the southern three-quarters of Plum Island. More than 800 species of bird, plant and animal reside in its many ecological habitats, including beaches, sand dunes, salt pans, salt marshes, fresh­water impoundments and maritime forests. This is prime bird-watching territory, with a few miles of foot trails and several observation areas set up specifically for spotting shorebirds and waterfowl. Stop at the visitors center for maps, bird lists and loads of informative exhibits and programs.

The beaches are also pristine and lovely. But much of the beachfront is closed in summer because it is an important habitat for the endangered piping plover. During spring and fall, you can observe migrating songbirds, including magnificent wood warblers in the forest. In winter the refuge is a good place to see waterfowl, the rough-legged hawk and the snowy owl.