Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge
- Type: Parks and Gardens, Neighborhood/Area
- Time to Spend: 2 hours to Half Day
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With more than 7,000 acres of protected dunes, salt and freshwater marshes and a decommissioned lighthouse, the gorgeous Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge will make you feel like ye-olde explorer. But there's more than rugged scenery; the encompassing islands of Morris, and North and South Monomoy are a nesting habitat for more than 10 species of migratory seabirds. Off the coast of South Monomoy, a large harbor seal population congregates to mate, play and sun themselves on the shore.
Although you can go it alone, most visitors opt to charter a tour. One TripAdvisor says: "They take you out to where the seals are sitting on the sand bar, just waiting for the tide to go out. It was incredible to be so close! … They circled around quite a bit so we all got plenty of opportunity to view the seals."
Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge stretches from Chatham into the Nantucket Sound. Although the refuge is open year-round from sun up to sun down, access to the Monomoy Islands is restricted by the seasonal ferry schedules. You can reach Morris Island from Chatham year-round. Check out the refuge's website for more information.