Thacher Island National Wildlife Refuge

Fish and Wildlife Service, Massachusetts.

Located just thirty miles north of Boston, Thacher Island NWR is home to herring and great black-backed gulls. The refuge serves as a stopover site for songbirds and other migrants to rest and feed during their seasonal migration. Off-shore habitats are used by seals, waterfowl, loons, grebes, cormorants and alcids.

The refuge was established in 1972 to provide feeding, resting and nesting habitat for migratory birds, located approximately one mile off the coast of Rockport, Massachusetts. 

Thacher Island also has a rich cultural history, perhaps best symbolized by the twin lighthouses that continue to grace its rocky landscape.

Nearby Activities


Although there are scenic trails on both the refuge and town-owned portion of the island, the refuge does not currently provide public access to the island. The island is accessible by kayak or small boats (under appropriate weather and sea conditions). During the summer months the Thacher Island Association operates a boat out of Rockport. Contact the Association at Box 73, Rockport, MA 01966.

Additional Information