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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, 24 hours (10PM – 5AM, fishing access only). Property is patrolled from April through October. Sections of the refuge may be closed seasonally to protect endangered nesting shorebirds. 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 Nantucket@thetrustees.org for more information.
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.