Texas Tropical Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Austwell: Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Whooping crane. Photo by TXDOT

The refuge was set aside to protect migratory birds and the vanishing wildlife of coastal Texas. Administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, its is one of over 548 national wildlife refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System. In 1938 at the Aransas Unit near the town of Austwell, the Civilian Conservation Corps created roads, ditches, fire breaks, and several buildings. They graded roads during the construction of the road to Austwell. They constructed part of the spillway for Burgentine Lake, which serves as a major resting area for waterfowl and constructed the residence facilities needed at that time. Today, all that remains is the concrete flagpole base still visible at the site.


  • 1 Wildlife Circle
  • South of Austwell on Hwy 2040
  • Austwell, Texas
  • 77950


Hours & Fees

  • Monday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
    Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.

  • See website for entrance fees.

Map & Directions

From the south, follow Hwy. 35N to the FM 774 exit. Turn right on FM 774 and go approx. 6 miles, winding through the farm fields. Turn right again on FM 2040. Go another 6 miles to the Refuge gate. Go to the Visitor Center to register. From the north, travel south on Hwy. 35 to Tivoli. Continue past Tivoli for approx. 1 mile to the FM 239 exit (on your left). Follow FM 239 to Austwell. When you enter Austwell, FM 239 turns into FM 774 at the curve. Continue on FM 774. Follow 774 & take a right at the stop sign. Go down the end of the street. Take a right again. This takes you out of town for about ½ mile to the FM 2040 turn. Go left on FM 2040 for about 6 miles to the Refuge gate. Go to the Visitor Center to register.


Texas State Historical Association logo
Read more about Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in the Handbook of Texas Online.