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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.
Tours are postponed until further notice.
Oversand Vehicle Permits
OSV permits are available now and must be purchased in advance.
Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge is open normal hours.
OSV permits must be purchased in advance.
Your cooperation is appreciated during this phase of reopening.
Please contact the manager at Nantucket@thetrustees.org, or 508.228.5646 for additional information or read our FAQ sheet.
Seasonal portable toilets at Wauwinet Gatehouse and Great Point Lighthouse.