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Our Favorite Wildlife Along the East Coast
Posted by Long & Foster | Monday, April 27, 2020

One of our favorite aspects of traveling is getting to know all of the different species of wildlife that inhabit the earth. There are thousands upon thousands of truly unique creatures that call our beaches, bays and oceans home. Some of them stay year round, and others travel long distances each year. We are proud that the East Coast has many sanctuaries, state parks and wildlife reserves to keep these spectacular creates safe. Here are just some of the many lovely locations that you can enjoy wildlife viewing along the East Coast from New Jersey and Maryland down to Delaware and Virginia.

Wildlife in Delaware

Waterfowl in Bethany Beach, Delaware

Waterfowl in the water at Bethany Beach

Waterfowl are ducks, geese and other larger aquatic birds, and Bethany Beach is home to many of these wonderful creatures! The Assawoman Bay State Wildlife Area near Bethany Beach offers thousands of acres of protected land, where you can see rare plants and animals on a self-guided auto tour. This is the perfect adventure (and educational opportunity) to take your family on while in the Bethany Beach area. You will see a great variety of waterfowl, not to mention other interesting wildlife such as the bald eagle and the pileated woodpecker.

Crabs in Dewey Beach, Delaware

Horseshoe crab on the beach in Dewey

Dewey Beach is home to a ton of wildlife species, including many varieties of crab! You might see a horseshoe crab or baby crabs on the beach, and you can enjoy extremely fresh crab and crab cakes at many of the local restaurants. The Dewey Beach Patrol actually holds an annual Sunset Park Environmental Educational Outreach program for kids on the bay at Dagsworthy Avenue so that they can learn all about these fun creatures - it's a must for families with kiddos if you're around in the late summer when this event takes place.

Clams at Fenwick Island, Delaware

Fenwick Island is home to Fenwick Island State Park, an excellent area for spotting clams and clamming. This 3 mile stretch of land was actually part of Delaware's coastal defense system during World War II before becoming a state park. People also enjoy swimming, birding, sailing, windsurfing and more in this area. You can see a great variety of wildlife in addition to clams here, like loons, terns, herons, and the federally protected piping plover.

Saltwater Marsh Wildlife in Lewes, Delaware

Seagull catching a fish in a saltwater marsh

Lewes is home to the Gordons Pond Wildlife area, a 900 acre coastal saltwater marsh with abundant wildlife. If you're a birder, this wildlife area is a special treat. There is a paved biking and walking trail that will give you excellent views of all the native plant species and birds. After riding or walking along the trail for a while, you'll come across an overlook with even better lagoon views. This paved excursion is perfect for people of all ages and abilities!

Birds in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Rehoboth Beach is home to the Silver Lake State Bird Refuge, a lovely little lake with a great variety of birds. The Silver Lake State Bird Refuge is close to the beach and ocean, and you can walk or bike around the lake while enjoying the wildlife. There is a long dock that leads out to a gazebo so that you can get a close up look at the birds playing in the water. There's also a bridge you can walk across to take in the sights, and many people enjoy kayaking on the lake. 

Wildlife in Maryland

Wild Ponies in Ocean City, Maryland

Wild ponies in Ocean City, MD

Immediately to the south of Ocean City is the Assateague Island Wildlife Refuge, where over 300 wild ponies roam the island! You can take a cruise or join a kayak tour where you will get to see the ponies roam (and even swim) around. There's also great bird watching at the Assateague Island Wildlife Refuge - you may see birds like the bald eagle, merlin, piping plover, oystercatcher, black skimmer and much more!

Wildlife in New Jersey

Turtles in Avalon & Stone Harbor, New Jersey

Baby turtle in Avalon, New Jersey

The Avalon & Stone Harbor area is home to the Wetlands Institute, with 6,000 acres of protected wetlands. This is an excellent place to bring the family for a day, with educational tours and courses. You can see a huge variety of birds, and even hatchling baby turtles if you come at the right time. You can enjoy the sights from an elevated marsh walkway (which is ADA accessible) or the salt marsh trail (a sandy path). 

Blue Crabs in Cape May, New Jersey

Blue crab on the beach in New Jersey

Cape May is home to the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge, which offers over 11,500 acres of protected wildlife habitat. The Cape May National Wildlife Refuge includes a vast assortment of wildlife, with 317 bird species, 42 mammal species, 55 reptile species and numerous others. You'll find blue crab, flounder, striped bass and more in their marshes and tidal creeks. They offer a wonderful trail that you can ride bikes on to see the wildlife. 

Birds in Longport, New Jersey

Longport is home to the Pork Island Wildlife Management Area, which is a protected waterfront park with many species of birds. Pork Island Wildlife Management Area is roughly 850 acres and offers beautiful sights. 

Bald Eagles in Sea Isle City, New Jersey

Bald Eagle soaring through the air

The Beaver Swamp Fish and Wildlife Management Area in Sea Isle City is an excellent place to try and spot a bald eagle. This vast, wooded natural habitat offers a freshwater pond that attracts many species. Frogs and dragonflies enjoy hanging out around the lily pads, butterflies are abundant in the summer, and you might even spot a wild turkey. There is also a hiking trail you can walk along to hear the songbirds all around. 

Crabs in Wildwood, New Jersey

The Two Mile Beach Wildlife Refuge, which is part of the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge is in Wildwood. The protected beach has a whole area blocked off for birds only, and the sand is speckled with tiny crab holes. If you watch carefully, you might just spot one walking along the beach! You'll love the quiet, uncrowded atmosphere at the Two Mile Beach Wildlife Refuge.

Wildlife in Virginia

Catfish in Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia

Catfish jumping through the air

Flathead and channel catfish are abundant in the waters at Smith Mountain Lake. Smith Mountain Lake reservoir is over 20,600 acres, acting as one of Virginia's premier fisheries. Did you know that catfish can live to be 24 years old, and that the heaviest catfish ever caught was 123 pounds?

Your East Coast Guide

Want more on the best of the east coast? At Long & Foster Vacation Rentals, we have all the details on your next east coast getaway.

 

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