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Coronavirus Update from The Trustees
Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge
cape-cod-islands Nantucket, MA
1,117 acres
Photo Credit: J. Coutre

Click here to read an important update about property closures and COVID-19

Discover this ruggedly beautiful coastal environment where deer, raptors, and shorebirds play. Explore sand dunes and small coastal forests, salt marsh and tidal ponds, on 16 miles of trails and sand roads. 

What makes Coskata-Coatue a special place?
Comprising a pair of long, fingery peninsulas, Coskata Coatue (“co-skate-uh coat-oo”) Wildlife Refuge is both a popular summer vacation destination and a fragile, wild and semi-remote coastscape. Most easily accessible by boat or oversand vehicle, the refuge also draws trampers and naturalists eager to observe shorebirds, raptors, and Great Point Light.

A Haven for Wildlife on Nantucket
The greater coastscape, which includes the federally owned Great Point Lighthouse and Nantucket Conservation Foundation land, remains a popular destination for saltwater anglers in search of striped bass and bluefish. Yet this double-fingered peninsula jutting northward between the Atlantic Ocean and Nantucket Sounds is so much more: a blend of sandy beach, rolling dunes, and forest uplands both rugged and serene.

The refuge provides multiple habitats for an array of coastal plant and animal species, including heather and beach plum, a maritime oak forest and savannah of red cedar – the largest of its kind in New England – which offer shelter to deer. At the beachfront, watch for horseshoe crabs advancing in extremely slow motion, seals basking in the sun, and shorebirds skittering above the surf line.

And a trip to Great Point at the extreme northwest tip of the refuge is recommended, as is a visit to the lighthouse (open seasonally), which has been aiding mariners across three centuries.

16 miles of oversand vehicle routes and walking trails – including the popular Beach Trail, Inside Trail, and Coskata Woods Trail – plus miles of beach front. Strenuous hiking (walking across soft sand for long periods can be arduous). Free to pedestrians.

When to Visit
Open year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset  (10PM – 5AM, fishing access only). Property is patrolled year-round. Sections of the refuge may be closed depending on environmental conditions. Allow a minimum of three hours.

See our schedule of Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge tours for the season. All proceeds support ongoing conservation work at Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge, including conducting wildlife research, protecting endangered species and their habitats, and maintaining the structure of the lighthouse. Please call the Wauwinet Gatehouse at 508.228.6799 to book a tour or for more information. Email for more information.

Oversand Vehicle Permits
OSV permits are available January 20 - May 10, 2020. Click here to purchase your OSV permit.

The Wauwinet Gatehouse opens May 16, 2020 for the season!  Hours 9AM - 5PM DAILY. 

Please contact the manager at, or 508.228.5646 for additional information or read our FAQ sheet.

Seasonal portable toilets at Wauwinet Gatehouse and Great Point Lighthouse.

Wauwinet Gatehouse will open for the season on Saturday, May, 18, 2019 at 9AM. The gatehouse will be open 9AM-5PM, May, June, September, October and 8AM-6PM through the months of July, August until we close Columbus Day.

  • OSV Permits
  • Great Point Circle
  • Regulations & Advisories
  • Programs
  • History
  • Conservation & Stewardship
Announcements & Alerts

Please call 508.228.5646 for refuge closure information.
Before going out, check the tide and weather warnings.
The refuge will be closed during any storm, gale or coastal flood warnings.

Walking Tours
Offered in partnership with Nantucket Walkabout we are now offering walking tours on the refuge!  Learn more >

Learn about the Nantucket Biodiversity Initiative.

Refuge is located more than a mile by foot from gatehouse.

The Great Point wildlife web cam is not working and we are working on a fix as soon as we are able to access the materials needed.

Advisory: Authorized hunting is allowed on portions of this reservation with prior written permission from the property superintendent. Please stay on marked trails. See Regulations and Advisories at left for more information.

The Hike Trustees Challenge
Take our Hike Trustees challenge and see just how far you can go. Get outside, win prizes.
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