Gulf Coast
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge Information:
This 115,000 acre National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1937 by FDR as a breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. Many of the roads, ditches, fire breaks, and several buildings were constructed by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps).Located on St. Charles Bay on the Texas portion of the Gulf of Mexico, its lands include the Blackjack Peninsula, Matagorda Island WMA, and the Myrtle Foester Whitmire Unit of the Guadalupe-Blanco River Trust (closed to the public), and the Lamar and Tatton Units. Portions of the Lamar and Tatton Units are designated as critical habitat for the endangered Whooping Crane. The Park is No. 037 on the La Bahia Loop of the Great Texas Central Coastal Birding Trail. The refuge habitat consists of salt marsh, grasslands and oak woodland. Beware of Alligators and poisonous snakes, and bring water, a hat, insect repellent, and sunscreen. Dusk and dawn are the best wildlife viewing times; little moves during hot, humid times. A park entrance fee applies.  Aransas NWR Refuge Map
St. Charles Bay:
This bay is an inlet of Aransas Bay, and is bound by Blackjack peninsula on the east, and Lamar peninsula on the west. The bay and the neighboring ecosystem is prime habitat for the endangered Whooping Crane. Goose Island State Park and the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge are located on the bay.    
Claude F. Lard Visitor Center: 
The Claude F. Lard Visitor Center offers interpretive displays and exhibits, and hosts educational programs. Amenities include restrooms, an auditorium, and a nature store which lends binoculars, and sells snacks and drinks. The center offers several information pamphlets. Call the Visitor Center for the brochure titled, “Birds of Matagorda Island.” (361) 286-3559. Information is available on a rack located outside the visitor center afterhours. Other NWR amenities include an alligator viewing area, a picnic area with restrooms, and a 16 mile self-guided auto/ biking tour loop. All visitors must register daily.(361) 286-3559. Trails Information 
From Tivolitake SH 35 South for 1 mile to FM 239; exit on your left. Take FM 239 to Austwell; as you enter Austwell, FM 239 becomes FM 774 at the curve. Continue on FM 744. Take a right at the stop sign. Go to the end of the street, and take another right. This takes you about a half mile out of town to FM 2040. Go left on FM 2040 for approximately 6 miles to the refuge gate; register at the visitor center.
From Victoriaand U.S. 87, take U.S. 77 south to the Tivoli-Goliad Exit. Follow FM 239 to Tivoli, then turn south on SH 35, and follow the above directions from Tivoli.