Go to the main location, drive, walk, or bike the eight-mile loop out into the ocean. Several different areas are considered the refuge, but you want the main loop road for the best bird photography. BEWARE! The green flies come out to get you on humid, hot summer days. Bug spray is not enough. We do not recommend going on a high-humidity day. Our green friends love humidity. The bugs bite, and it’s not fun.

We like spring when all the birds come back. Snowy Owls come here sometimes in winter. You can call and see if there have been sightings since the snowy owls don’t always come yearly. We have photographed peregrine falcons, eagles, great egrets, and smaller birds. It’s just a great overall bird photography location.

It is also a Sunrise and Sunset photography location – check out our sunset image above.


It’s an 8-mile loop, but if you have patience and you want to sit and wait for bird action, you can spend several hours here throughout the day.


800 Great Creek Road, Galloway, N.J., for your GPS

The Forsythe is right off of the Garden State Parkway.

Trail Map brochure
Wildlife Drive Self-guided Tour


The Visitor Information Center is open from Wednesday to Sunday between 10 AM and 2 PM, where you can also find the Friends of Forsythe Gift Shop and purchase passes. Admission to Wildlife Drive costs $4 per car.


The wildlife drive is open seven days a week, from sunrise to sunset. CHECK THE WEBSITE FOR CLOSURES BEFORE YOU GO: Refuge website or call (609) 652-1665


We always pair this up with the Smithville Village right down the street. You can also stop here to eat and do some shopping.


It’s never been very busy anytime we’ve ever been there, and we’ve been here many times.




The Refuge is vital in providing habitat for various species, but it mainly focuses on migratory birds. Edwin B. Forsythe has an extensive recorded list of bird species, with over 360 sightings. On the Wildlife Drive, visitors can spot a variety of waterfowl, waders, shorebirds, and seabirds on any given day. The Refuge is home to large populations of American black ducks and Atlantic brants that rely on the coastal wetlands for food and shelter during the winter months.

Furthermore, the Refuge is a crucial breeding ground for federally threatened piping plovers in New Jersey. These precious birds use the last undeveloped coastline on Holgate and Little Beach Island wilderness areas, protected sites for other beach-nesting birds such as American oystercatchers, least terns, black skimmers, and common terns.


Spanning over 40,000 acres (162 km), the Refuge is a haven for southern New Jersey Coastal Habitats and tidal wetlands. Within its borders lie 6,000 acres (24 km2) of designated wilderness areas where public access may sometimes be limited or entirely restricted. These areas, including Holgate and Little Beach, home to some of the last undeveloped barrier beaches in the state, provide a vital sanctuary for rare nesting birds such as the piping plover. Holgate is off-limit during nesting season to protect these fragile ecosystems from further human impact. However, access to Little Beach is only granted through special permits for research or education purposes.

Most of Forsythe Refuge consists of tidal salt marshes with shallow coves and bays, making it a popular stopover for thousands of migratory ducks, geese, wading birds, and shorebirds during spring and fall migration. Birdwatching, nature photography, and other related activities are popular among visitors here. Additionally, 3,000 acres (12 km) of woodlands provide crucial habitat for upland species like songbirds, woodcock, white-tailed deer, and box turtles.

Visitors can reach the Refuge by car or bicycle. While no guided programs are offered, an eight-mile (13 km) driving trail recommended by a brochure highlights critical features of the Refuge. For those on foot, there are four trails ranging from 1/4 mile (0.4 km) to 4 miles (6.4 km) in length to explore.


Check out the friends of the National Wildlife Refuge Cam. The raccoon is our favorite. What’s your favorite?

When to Go: Spring and Fall are best when it is not too humid, and the green flies aren’t around, but the birds are. It doesn’t ever get too crowded. Edwin B. Forsythe is also not too far from a Milky Way dark sky area, so you might want to plan your trip around a new moon or the week before during Milky Way week.



If you are photographing birds, you want to shoot with shutter priority to ensure your images appear sharp since they are moving subjects.

At The Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge, you want to keep your camera in shutter priority mode when doing bird photography. This allows you to control your shutter speed. 1/1000th of a second allows for clear images of the birds moving quickly. You can go higher on bright, sunny days. On dark, overcast days, you may up your ISO some to allow for a high shutter speed, stopping the action for crystal-clear images.



Add your campground here!

Do you want us to send our photography and ghost-hunting friends to your campground to stay during their ghost-hunting trip? Put your campground information here. We will put a picture of your establishment, the website link, the phone number, and your information on your campground to make it easy for our photographers and ghost hunters to find you. They are good at getting there in the dark.

Would you like to be featured in an article as a place to stay while doing photography or ghost hunting? If so, please send us an email. You will be surprised at how affordable our prices can be.




Add your Restaurant here!

Do you want us to send our photography and ghost-hunting friends to your restaurant after their ghost-hunting trip? Put your restaurant information here. We will put a picture of your establishment, the website link, the phone number, and the information on your restaurant to make it easy for our photographers and ghost hunters to find you.

The best hotels while doing photography



Add your hotel here!

Do you want us to send our photography and ghost-hunting friends to your hotel for their photography or ghost-hunting trip? Put your hotel information here. We will put pictures of your hotel, the website link, the phone number and your information on your hotel.

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