Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Austwell

4.5
#40 of 242 in Wildlife in Texas
Must see · Wildlife Area · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
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Aransas National Wildlife Refuge is a 115,324-acre (466.7 km2) protected area situated on the southwest side of San Antonio Bay along the Gulf Coast of the U.S. state of Texas. It is located in parts of Aransas, Refugio, and Calhoun Counties. It is situated on the southwest side of the San Antonio Bay, formed by the mouth of the Guadalupe River. It also includes nearly the entirety of Matagorda Island, a 38-mile barrier island. The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge was established by Executive Order 7784 on 31 December 1937 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as the Aransas Migratory Waterfowl Refuge as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. Roosevelt issued a proclamation in 1940 changing the name to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.
In October 1938, Civilian Conservation Corps Company 880 established camp south of Austwell, Texas. They built roads, ditches, firebreaks, and the residence facilities for the refuge. They constructed part of the spillway for Burgentine Lake, which serves as a major resting area for migratory waterfowl. They also graded the road to Austwell.
Bird life includes ducks, herons, egrets, ibises, roseate spoonbills, and the endangered whooping crane, whose population has recovered significantly since the 1940s.

Other fauna include American alligators, collared peccaries, snakes, and bobcats, which inhabit the refuge's grasslands, blackjack oak thickets, freshwater ponds, and marshes.
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Aransas National Wildlife Refuge reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
164 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Would give this place extra stars if I could. It’s beautifully located with great views of the gulf and intracoastal waterway. We saw countless butterflies and birds, including egrets and cranes, as.....  more
    Would give this place extra stars if I could. It’s beautifully located with great views of the gulf and intracoastal waterway. We saw countless butterflies and birds, including egrets and cranes, as.....  more »
  • Spent a lovely day in the extremely interesting Wildlife Refuge. There are many different hiking & observation opportunities throughout the Refuge. Plan to spend at least 4 hours investigating the.....  more
    Spent a lovely day in the extremely interesting Wildlife Refuge. There are many different hiking & observation opportunities throughout the Refuge. Plan to spend at least 4 hours investigating the.....  more »
Google
  • Went to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge yesterday August 14, 2022). Stopped at the brand new Visitor Center & the employees were quite helpful on the best places to spot the wildlife. The weather cooperated & the rain mostly stopped while we were there. Did the auto loop & walked a bunch of the paths. Saw tons of wildlife! (Most at Jones Lake) 2 BIG alligators. Several doe, fawns & 1 buck that was 6-8 points! Several breed of birds, including gorgeous Rosette Spoonbills! A small herd or family group of Javelina (7 that we could count) A stunning Live Oak Tree that the sign said was at least 500 YEARS OLD! An armadillo walking on the roadside. And even a few frogs crossing the road! (one appeared to be trailing a LOT of water as s/he was leaping) The pics are mostly maxed out on magnification, so not great. But good enough! ;)
  • My wife and I visited this past Saturday 10/1/2022. We enjoyed the serenity, the wild life and it was a much needed venture away from the city. The park ranger who assisted us in the welcome center was very kind and the staff operating the store were top notch. I recommend a visit and don't forget to pack a picnic and enjoy the view with your meal. Must visit now!!!

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