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“trek out a coast trail” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
12295 State Highway 180, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
(251) 540-7720
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Ranked #10 of 32 things to do in Gulf Shores
Activities: Hiking, Birdwatching, Viewing wildlife
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Attraction details
Owner description: A 6,000-acre nature preserve with a number of endangered species.
Fayetteville, Arkansas
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
16 attraction reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“trek out a coast trail”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2013

A national wildlife excursion is just the change of pace from the surf. Something the whole family can enjoy with very little effort. Plenty of birds to see and varieties vary depending on the time of year. The bay side coastline is a unique experience so take it in while you can. Wear shoes not sandals and bring some water, otherwise it may be more than you can take. A little planning and you will have a good family outing.

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Lafayette, Louisiana
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“Best place around to see what the natural beach looks like”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2013

This is a place for nature lovers. It is a wonderful way to enjoy a respite from the hustle and noise of the built-up high rise coastline of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. This is a place where you can take a deep breath and see what the area would have looked like before all the development. You don't need to be a biologist to appreciate the interesting and unique plant and animal life that have adapted to the harsh environment of the beach.

I would recomend the Jeff Friend Trail for an easy walk. It's a one-mile loop. If you want something a little harder, take the Pine Beach Trail all the way to the beach. Doing so let's you go from a Live Oak and Magnolia Hammock, through a Slash Pine and Sand Pine forest into the back dunes and up to the newly resotred fore dunes. It is a wonderful way to see the transition of the different ecosystems.

My hike on the Pine Beach Trail from parking are to the beach and back was 3.6 miles and took me 2 hours. I left early in the morning because it gets very hot in the summer. Besides, you have a much better chance of seeing wildlife early in the morning. I saw an Oak Toad, a Hermit Crab, a family of Common Moorhens, a Great Blue Heron, and an active Osprey nest with both parents. The Pine Beach Trail is nice because most of it is on a closed hard-packed raod. It is much easier to walk on than the Gator Lake Trail which is very sandy.

Check out the Fish and Wildlife Service Website for details. One thing they don't tell you is that there is a bathroom about halfway down the Pine Beach Trail just north of where it intersects with the Centennial Trail. Could be useful. Also, there is a great observation tower and picnic area at Gator Lake.

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montgomery, Alabama
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Lovely Wildlife Refuge!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2013

I grew up going through this place. I enjoy the fact that they have trails winding throughout and its great for birding too!

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Sikeston, Missouri
Top Contributor
152 reviews 152 reviews
41 attraction reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
“Must like hiking!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013 via mobile

We were not prepared for this excursion. Wish we had read more before we went. Hiking is nice, secluded, interesting, not very many people around. Turned back after about 1/3 mile going to see alligators. Sand walking is hard and we had not brought water. White sand increases heat. We ended up doing jeff friend trail and did enjoy that. Want to come for other trails when we are more prepared.

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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Mukwonago, WI
Top Contributor
185 reviews 185 reviews
69 attraction reviews
Reviews in 86 cities Reviews in 86 cities
142 helpful votes 142 helpful votes
“Relaxing walk in Nature!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2013

We walked about 1 1/2 miles along the Pine Beach Trail to the lagoon. The guided trail was well kept up. There was a variety of terrain along the flat trail. We walked through woods, prairie, shore line & a small amount of marsh. There was a portable toilet along the trail for a rest stop. No water available in the toilet. We saw many birds along the walk.

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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