CORONAVIRUS update from The Trustees. Learn More
Cape Cod & The Islands

Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge

Nantucket

1,117 acres

A ruggedly beautiful coastal environment where deer, raptors, seals, and shorebirds play.

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Plan Your Visit
  • Overview
  • Ideas for Your Visit
  • Admission & Hours
  • Directions
  • Property Map
  • Regulations & Advisories

Overview

Made up of a pair of long peninsulas, Coskata-Coatue (pronounced “co-skate-uh coat-oo”) Wildlife Refuge is both a popular warm-weather destination and a wild, remote barrier beach.

Rolling maritime dunes cover more than 200 acres and support bayberry, beach plum, heather, and beach grass. The Cedars, a red cedar savannah and woodland facing away from Coskata Beach and the Head of the Harbor, is the largest of its kind in New England. Coskata Woods is a mature maritime oak forest that contains gnarled, wind-blown trees.

Gray and harbor seals feed on fish and invertebrates in the Great Point riptide and use the nearby beach as a haul-out.

 

 

Ideas for Your Visit

Explore Great Point Lighthouse and the assorted natural wonders of the refuge on seasonal tours, or explore the refuge along the popular Beach Trail, Inside Trail, or Coskata Woods Trail.

Admission & Hours

Free to all pedestrians and boaters. OSV permits are available for purchase online.

Open year-round, daily, 9AM-6PM (except for active surfcasters).

Property is patrolled year-round. Sections of the refuge may be closed depending on environmental conditions. Allow a minimum of three hours.

Directions

Wauwinet Rd.
Nantucket, MA 02554
Telephone: 508.228.5646
Gatehouse: 508.228.0006
Tours: 508.228.6799
Email: nantucket@thetrustees.org

Get directions on Google Maps.

From Nantucket town rotary, take Polpis Rd. east for 6 mi. Turn left onto Wauwinet Rd. and continue to end where gatehouse is located.There is no parking area.

Access is by oversand vehicle (permit required) or foot.

Property Map

Free trail map distributed from bulletin board in the parking area. Please understand that supplies periodically run out.

We recommend that you take a photo of the map on your phone so you can refer to it during your visit, or download a trail map before you head out.

Regulations & Advisories

  • Refuge is located more than a mile by foot from gatehouse.
  • Oversand permits required for vehicles.
  • Dogs are not allowed between April 1 and September 15.
  • Sections of the refuge may be closed seasonally to protect endangered nesting shorebirds.
  • Authorized hunting, only with written permission, is allowed on this reservation for a limited number of hunters, according to MassWildlife regulations from mid October through December each year, from ½ hour before sunrise all day until ½ hour after sunset, Monday through Saturday. Hunting is not allowed on Sundays. Signage is posted at the property listing safety precautions, requirements, and rules for the benefit of all visitors. Learn more about hunting on Trustees properties.

Warning! Seals are wild animals and can be dangerous. Seals in this area will chase fish caught on a line. Seals are attracted to fish that are being filleted. Stay Safe.

  • If fishing: bury any fish remains and be careful at the water’s edge if cleaning anything with fish remains.
  • DO NOT APPROACH OR FEED SEALS (STAY 50 YARDS AWAY)
  • Be aware of your surroundings, seals will come up to your vehicle if you have fish.
  • Watch children. Children playing at the water’s edge are at risk of cutting off a seals escape. Seals can weigh up to 800 pounds, move quickly, and have serrated teeth.
  • Consider fishing at a different location on the property where seals are not so prevalent: Marker 6, Marker 5, Marker 4, or the North Parking lot.

The Trustees reserves the right to photograph or video visitors and program participants for promotional use, and usage of our properties implies consent. Please read our photo and video policy.

Before Setting Out
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History

As was the case on Martha’s Vineyard, 17th-century European settlers arrived to find the Wampanoag people had been living on this island for thousands of years. The indigenous peoples called their home Nantucket, “the land far away at sea” and their chief was Wauwinet, whose name now graces the gateway to the refuge.

Coskata and Coatue also derive from Wampanoag place names, meaning “at the broad woods” and “at the pine woods,” respectively.

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