Driving Directions: Return to US 98 and continue east, crossing the St. Marks river at Newport. Turn right on the Byway Spur at CR 59 and follow signs to St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. The road winds 6.5 miles through a mixed hardwood/pine forest and across a vast salt marsh dotted with large pools for migrating waterfowl, ending at Apalachee Bay and the historic St. Marks’ Lighthouse.
Distance and driving time between this and previous stop: 14.7 miles / 40 minutes.
Minimum time: One hour.
Description: Covering more than 68,000 acres of land and 31,000 acres of bay, the Refuge is internationally recognized for its more than 300 species of birds.
The Refuge also has strong ties to a rich cultural past and is home to the St. Marks Lighthouse, which was built in 1832 and is still in use today. Excellent birding at Refuge ponds along the road. Outstanding nature trails and viewing platforms. Excellent migratory waterfowl viewing in fall and winter months. Wildflowers in spring and fall plus Monarch and other butterfly migration in fall.
The Refuge features a guided driving tour, picnic sites, observation platforms, bathrooms, trails, boat ramp, and a Visitor/Nature Center with excellent interpretation.