Trip Planner:   USA  /  Maryland  /  Wildlife Areas  /  Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge
Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland
(4.7/5 based on 25 reviews on the web)
Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, a part of the Chesapeake Marshlands National Wildlife Refuge Complex, is a 2286acre island located at the confluence of the Chester River and the Chesapeake Bay. Established in 1962 as a sanctuary for migratory birds, Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge provides natural habitat for over 240 bird species — including bald eagles and transitory peregrine falcons — and is a major staging site for tundra swans.The refuge comprises the entirety of Eastern Neck Island, projecting into a bend of the Chester River. The island was one of the first settled places in Maryland, where Major Joseph Wickes was granted 800acre in 1650 and built the now-vanished "Wickliffe" mansion.HistoryThe island was visited in precolonial times by Woodland period Native Americans, who left shell middens, arrowheads and pottery behind. From 1658 to 1680, Joseph Wickes and his partner Thomas Hynson assembled the entire island under their ownership, farming the land. Captain Lambert Wickes, Joseph's great grandson and captain of the, is memorialized with a monument on the site of Wickliffe. The island was owned by the Wickes until 1902, who continued to raise a variety of crops on the land. After 1902 portions of the island became hunting preserves. In the 1920s, wealthy individuals from surrounding cities were attracted by the waterfowl concentrations and bought portions of the island for hunting retreats. The present visitor contact station was built as a hunting lodge in 1930.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • During hunting season the refuge may close for the day so check first. The boardwalk was closed when we were there in mid October. Very disappointed. There are paved and gravel roads. We walked 1/2 mi...  more »
  • We visited in October 2016 and found that the boardwalk overlook trail out to the bay was closed. We were disappointed but the other trails more than made up for it. Gorgeous views of the Chester Rive...  more »
  • Some of the areas are closed due to lack of funding and volunteers. Trash here and there as well. Nice office building with many displays. Seems less than inviting than when we were there 2 years ago....  more »
Google
  • Eastern neck is beautiful. We had a wonderful time Spotted a snapping turtle sunning himself by the butterfly trail. Eagles Ospreys and the elusive fox squirrel. Great place to hike, bike, explore nature, and enjoy the Chesapeake.
  • Always a favorite day trip destination. Bring a picnic and binoculars. Great bike riding too.
  • Quiet place for a walk, nice level grounds.
  • Good fishing an crabing
  • Hike it, bike it, kayak it, explore the beaches, the marsh edges, the shallows. Take binoculars, a camera. A fine white net and a white shallow tray (like a frisbee) will help you spot (and release!) interesting macroinvertebrates. You might see fins slicing the water (don't worry, it's only cownosed rays). You'll undoubtedly see osprey, and likely eagle. Look for small migratory birds in the meadows and woods. Waterfowl are best seen from a kayak. There are quiet coves and big open water with waves, so there are conditions for every level of paddling skill. Tides, waves and wind vary so check the weather.