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Trip Planner: USA / Massachusetts / Newburyport / Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is a wildlife sanctuary encompassing the majority of Plum Island in northeastern Essex County, Massachusetts, 5 miles southeast of Newburyport. It was established in 1942 primarily to provide feeding, resting, and nesting habitats for migratory birds. Located along the Atlantic Flyway, the refuge is of vital stopover significance to waterfowl, shorebirds, and songbirds during migratory periods.Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is just one of the many highlights you can arrange to see using our , online itinerary creator Edition.
In 1985, The Trust for Public Land added 12 acres to the refuge. Besides providing habitat for birds and wildlife, the pristine coastal habitat is enjoyed by visitors who come to swim, hike, surf, fish, and birdwatch.
Parker River National Wildlife Refuge reviews
We rented a car and drove here from Boston. Visiting the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island was a highlight of the day. It's beautiful and well worth a stop. We saw a lot of birds...
We rented a car and drove here from Boston. Visiting the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island was a highlight of the day. It's beautiful and well worth a stop. We saw a lot of birds... more »
This proved a "refuge" indeed during the long pandemic, as the migratory birds and other animals carried right on, providing much-needed psychological relief and inspiration. And now with the world...
This proved a "refuge" indeed during the long pandemic, as the migratory birds and other animals carried right on, providing much-needed psychological relief and inspiration. And now with the world... more »
On several visits to Newburyport, I’ve visited the Parker River NWR and its visitor center. I really like the video. It's a must-see for first-timers. On this visit, I would have liked to watch...
On several visits to Newburyport, I’ve visited the Parker River NWR and its visitor center. I really like the video. It's a must-see for first-timers. On this visit, I would have liked to watch... more »
We visited in May to go birding. The refuge did not disappoint. Well kept bathrooms at every parking point, the trails are clean and level. It’s a great place for accessibility. Visiting in the early morning will most likely get you parking, later in the day it gets quite crowded. Overall a great day trip!
$5 admission fee. It was a bargain if you love to explore and walk, ride a bike 🚲, see giant windmills, birdwatch or hang out by the ocean 🌊. We went to the Hellcat Interpretive Trail so my kids could have any easy walk and their were a lot of great 👍 reviews for this trail. It was enjoyable. There was an observation tower that had a good view and we saw an airplane from a local airport fly overhead. Waterfowl were feeding nearby. Many other trails and observation areas along the way. Only issue, the unpaved road has huge potholes that needs to be filled! It can make driving challenging and hard on your vehicles' suspension. The road is paved up to the Hellcat Interpretive Trail. Place is popular. Parking 🅿️ can be a little challenging. I recommend a visit! Plan to stay for awhile. Bring food and drink. Bathrooms are available. ♿ Accessible to the handicap. Stroller friendly.
Parking lot #4 allows you to take a boardwalk walk with overlooks of the ocean and the marsh. It is a partially shaded walk and very pleasant. The loop with overlooks is two miles. There are several benches along the way.
This place is beautiful--great for birding, kayaking, and general loving of nature. You can also avoid the Samsonite beach crowds by coming here. The greenheads are super annoying, so be prepared for that. But that shouldn't do you from visiting this great resource do close to Boston.
Was quite worth the visit during the winter! I came on a particular sunny day with a gentle breeze that meant it wasn't too cold; perfect for a stroll around the refuge. I was very amused by the icy patterns in the marshlands (didn't get too many pictures though as I was trying to stay off my phone and didn't have a camera with me). Parking is scattered throughout the park and more available than in the summer. Parking fees rely on the trust system, still $5, but I'm unsure as to if anyone actually checks. Better safe than sorry!
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