Explore Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary
Between the historic port communities of Edgartown and Oak Bluffs is the down-island nature delight of Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary. A paradise for birdwatchers and a joy to saunter through, Felix Neck offers both adventure and serenity throughout its 194 acres of woodland, meadow, ponds, marsh, and shoreline.
Its assortment of different habitats makes Felix Neck a welcoming home to diverse populations of birds from ducks and oystercatchers to wild turkeys, ospreys, and red-tailed hawks. The nature center even has binoculars you can rent so you don’t miss out on the sights.
In all, there are four miles of well-maintained trail through the sanctuary that intersect to give you a variety of paths to take. Sassafras to Shad Trail takes you a half mile across the footbridge over Turtle Pond, where turtles, dragonflies and birds like to congregate. Take the Jessica Hancock Memorial Trail to see the freshwater bog, hear the chorus of frogs, spot red-winged blackbirds in the sandplain grassland, and perhaps catch an osprey perched on the osprey pole. Old Farm Road is another half-mile section that meanders through the middle of the sanctuary out to the edge of Sengekontacket Pond where you can sit and take in the spectacular view. Marsh Trail winds through salt marsh and a grove of pine trees, offering more stunning views looking across the pond to Joseph Sylva State Beach and the open water beyond.
Felix Neck is a part of Mass Audubon’s efforts to provide opportunities for everyone to explore nature. The nature center, restrooms and at least a mile of trail are suitable for wheelchairs and strollers. The sanctuary has audio tours, tactile maps, braille signage, post-and-rope guiding systems, and accessible wildlife viewing platforms, picnic and play areas. There is even a 1-hour guided tour of the property’s woodlands, marshes, and beach habitats provided by sanctuary staff on a golf cart for those with limited mobility.
From the nature center, you can join a walking tour through the sanctuary or find out about their kayak and paddleboard tours of Sengekontacket Pond. Explore the Discovery Room with live animals and a marine life touch tank and check out the butterfly garden, then visit the gift shop for nature-related products, local goods and art. While you’re there, grab some bug spray if you don’t have any (before hitting the trails).
The trails are open daily from dawn to dusk. Visit Mass Audubon online for nature center hours, fees, events, and closure details. To get to Felix Neck, you can bike in, drive, or take bus #1 from Edgartown and walk about three-quarters of a mile to reach the nature center. Bicycles are not allowed on the trails inside the sanctuary, but can be left at the nature center parking lot.
You’ll find that Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary has something for everyone. For the treasure that it is, however, Felix Neck is rarely crowded and is a perfect place to escape for a few hours immersed in nature.