Matlacha Pass National Wildlife Refuge

Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida.

The islands contain two basic vegetative zones, upland sand ridges and mangroves. Several islands of the Matlacha Pass NWR are used as roosting and nesting sites for a variety of colonial water birds including the brown pelican, great egret, snowy egret, reddish egret, great blue heron, little blue heron, tricolored heron, double crested cormorant and anhinga. The beaches and shores provide loafing, feeding, and nesting areas for migratory ducks, shorebirds, gulls, and terns.

Ospreys and bald eagles can be observed nesting and feeding in Matlacha Pass NWR. Several endangered and threatened species benefit from the habitats described including: wood storks, sea turtles, and manatees.

Nearby Activities


Access to the waters surrounding the islands that make up Matlacha Pass NWR is by boat only. The islands are not accessible to visitors. Boaters should consult navigational charts and tide schedules before attempting to visit any waters surrounding the refuge. Numerous oyster bars and shallow back bay/estuary waters are difficult to navigate and fragile seagrass beds must not be damaged. The refuge can be located by boat via the intracoastal waterway south of Charlotte Harbor between the eastern boundary of Pine Island and western boundary of Cape Coral. For more information, contact the J.N. "Ding" Darling NWR, 1 Wildlife Drive, Sanibel, Florida 33957 or call (239) 472-1100.

Additional Information