- Address/Phone: Great Creek Road, Oceanville, NJ, 609-652-1665.
- Open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset (note that some sections may be closed at various times due to wildlife management work).
- Driving directions from NYC: Take Garden State Parkway south to Exit 48, then Route 9 south. Stay on Route 9 past Smithville. At Oceanville, take a left at the traffic light onto Great Creek Road and continue to the entrance of the refuge.
It’s difficult to say if the Brigantine Division of Forsythe NWR is a day trip or is best classified as farther afield. Though a bit more of a distance from NYC, we have frequently made it a day trip. However – if you can – spend a night or combine it with a trip to Cape May to get the most from this fabulous federal refuge.
Brigantine is particularly well known in birding circles as an excellent spot, attracting over 300 species thanks to its location along the Atlantic Flyway, plus the landscape’s diverse habitats on 46,000+ acres. But with 5,000 acres of upland woods, 1,415 acres of fresh and brackish marshes, bays, dunes, and a view of Atlantic City to boot, Brigantine hosts all kinds of plants and critters including Horseshoe Crabs, Box Turtles, and White-tailed Deer. These habitats offer food and shelter all year, so any season is pleasant – but bring plenty of insect repellent for warm months and dress appropriately in winter.
To begin your journey, pull into the parking lot to pay the small fee and stop by the charming visitor center/gift shop (hours vary) for trail maps plus a chance to talk with the friendly, informative volunteers and staff.
Though the refuge offers four walking trails between ¼ to 2.2 miles long, possibly the best way to tour the area is along the eight-mile wildlife autoroute, with several designated pullouts to accommodate longer stops.
Though it may feel lazy, the beauty of slowly driving through Brigantine is two-fold – first, the car acts like a mobile blind that birds seem unbothered by, and second, your trip is not tied to pleasant weather conditions. Of course, the animals use the autoroute as well, so keep your eyes open and observe speed limits.
- Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, accessed on April 5, 2009 at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/forsythe/.
- The New York City Audubon Society Guide to Finding Birds in the Metropolitan Area by Marcia T. Fowle and Paul Kerlinger, published 2001 by Cornell University Press.
(Please note that while we make every attempt to list accurate information and directions, NYCNatureNews does not assume responsibility.)
Have a spot you’d like to recommend? We’d love to know about it, so please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2009 All rights reserved
NYC Nature News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.