The nation’s first national wildlife refuge by proclamation of President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903, Pelican Island protects, as the name implies, wetland habitat for brown pelicans and shorebirds. Located just off Route A1A at the northern end of Orchid Island, it offers three easy self-guided trails that total 7 miles and include interpretive signs, a butterfly garden, and an observation deck and tower. The most recent trail, the boardwalk Centennial Trail, commemorates the 100th anniversary of the refuge and the refuge system in 2003. Admission is free.
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to sunset daily