Wildlife Refuge

Wildlife RefugeA Bird Sanctuary is a Wildlife Refuge!

A Wildlife Refuge is a gathering place - for wildlife watching. Many are particular refuges for birds, so they attract bird watchers! As the sign "tells" them, they're considered a sanctuary - birds sense it's a stopping place! They arrive, rest up, travel on. Some stay. Some nest. Some refuel. Birders get to observe!

What's your favorite Bird Refuge?

What's also terrific about National Wildlife Refuges set aside throughout the world - and in particular in the U.S., - is that they attract the local wildlife. They provide a refuge for all the fauna of the area. Naturally, because they provide the environment for the flora of the area!

A Wildlife Refuge therefore, provides nature trails for hiking. That's why it's a wonderful place to bring the family. Have a nice day hike along with some nature observation. The terrain observed will be varied, just as the wildlife that can be observed will also be...

Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge to Tijuana Estuary

National Wildlife RefugeGreat Blue Heron seen at many a National Wildlife Refuge - East or West

We first used to regularly visit Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge. That's when we were new bird-watchers. Right along the barrier islands of the Jersey Shore! And right in viewing distance of Atlantic City. A couple of hours drive from our house.

Later on, more recently, we've lived in Imperial Beach, California. Our home was situated just a few blocks from the Tijuana River Estuary. The total opposite end of the country. Some of the birds are the same - but others are very different.

Each refuge has very easily hiked trails, where shorebirds can be seen. Other local animals may be spotted, as well. These are terrific areas for short, easy hikes. You're sure to get views of bird-life in these wetlands that will make for thrilling additions to your bird life-list!

Now we again live in Arizona, where we've resided for half of our lives. There are wildlife refuges here. They have unique environments with many more and varied bird watching opportunities. Yet, there are still some old familiars!

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

Chincoteague Refuge is along the coast of Virginia. Just south of the border of Maryland, it's essentially a barrier island environment. It's also in close proximity to the southern border of Delaware. If you live in the Washington D.C. area, or in Northeastern North Carolina, it's also not too distant.

Chincoteague has some unique features, a variety of habitat. That's why bird watchers will find it a fabulous spot! Plus great hiking areas. There are a number of hiking and bicycling trails on this wildlife refuge. Click here for more details.

The beaches! The dunes are instrumental in helping with  preservation efforts for the endangered Piping Plover. They provide nesting areas. Other shorebirds love it here too!

There are both freshwater (essentially brackish - really) and saltwater marshes. Forested areas and lowland shrub lands are both on the refuge.

With all this - you can see how there's a large variety of bird-life. What's also unique, and what the kids will love - are the Chincoteague Ponies.

One legend says Black-Beard the Pirate was involved in the ponies coming to these islands. 

National Park Service

National Parks are treasures that belong to the people. Learn history, see scenery, experience ecological treasures. With natural history, have fun educational and children's activities. They're a preservation of national heritage - natural, cultural and historical. AZdesertTrips believes that National Parks are a value to be kept alive, to be supported, and kept in pristine condition. 

Including trips to a National Park, near or far, is a way to have experiences that can be economical and unforgettable. The National Park Service incorporates the principles of wildlife management, preservation and conservation.

When visiting a National Park, you'll have opportunities for a variety of activities that the Park Service gladly accommodates. They're conscious of family economic necessities, and offer tips for you!

Hiking in National Parks

There are so many places of beauty in America you can visit and enjoy. Hiking in National Parks can be a part of family vacation time. What are some of the areas you love? Can you think of some suggestions for us? Tell us here>

We have some suggestions for you...

Acadia National Park

A beautiful spot right along the Atlantic Ocean. The hawks use the coastal updrafts along the mountains here, to get some spring in their trek south in the autumn. There's a special hawk-watch spot on Cadillac Mountain where everyone gathers! See which raptors you can spot...

But anytime of year is great to see birds. 338 birds have been named as observed there. Hike the trails - see what you can see! Click here for details on hiking in Acadia National Park.

It's a great spot for the whole family! Mount Desert Island is a terrific vacation spot! There are loads of wonderful family activities.

Glacier Bay National Park

There's nothing like Alaska for outrageously fantastic scenery!

We took a cruise to Alaska, and just saw one jaw-dropping scene after another. We stopped in Juneau and Skagway. Even though it didn't make a run to a National Park - we saw glaciers that I'm sure were similar to those there.

You'll see fabulously unique birds like Puffins, black oyster-catchers, common murres, kittiwakes and guillemots! Lots of loons calling their haunting cry. Of course majestic bald eagles floating on the air currents of the magnificent cliffs!

Bartlett Cove is the easiest area to get to and explore. The Bartlett Cove Webcam refreshes every 30 minutes. Other webcams in the park feature some other areas! Pretty cool (not literally for you now - through this web cam!) to view Alaska live! Check it out: click here!

Glacier National Park

Sitting against the border to Canada, the park encompasses areas of the Northern Rocky Mountains, in Montana. It has a wide variety of topography. That makes multiple climate zones - ideal for hiking diversity.

Have you ever seen a Harlequin Duck? I haven't yet, so it's on our list! This is the place to see one! Such a colorful specimen, and not easily seen in many places. Yes - look for it here!

Hawaii Volcano National Park

Kids will find this park an exciting place, for sure! Get to visit a live volcano... and you can look for the Hawaiian national bird! It's a goose, called the Nēnē. It doesn't do much swimming, as other geese do. Although it can fly, it would rather walk if possible. 

The Nēnē is endangered, sad to say. Its goslings are sought after by the mongoose, as well as the abundant feral cats living on the islands. Other dangers are auto traffic, and even the golf courses. They are herbivores, and tend to roam fields and meadows foraging for food. The Park has programs to assist in their protection and breeding.

Another Hawaiian bird that needs survival help is the 'ua'u - the Hawaiian Petrel. Their habitat is the high slopes of the mountains, such as Mauna Loa. Urban development has interfered in their natural methods. When night flying, lights confuse them and they bump into buildings. They're injured and fall to the ground. They then die or are attacked by local animals. 

The park service has adjusted its own lighting to avoid disorienting the birds. They're working on other plans to assist in their survival. This is a great discussion to have with your kids, as you hike along the trails. 

A Hawaiian Vacation is usually an awe-inspiring time. A Hawaiian trail hiking experience can add much value! You won't regret visiting any Hawaiian National Park.