Merced National Wildlife Refuge

Unplug from the city with a sightseeing auto tour with incredible waterfowl photo ops

Where else can you see tens of thousands of waterfowl, plus sand hill cranes, swans, white pelicans, egrets, owls, hawks, coyotes, and if you’re lucky, a bald eagle? Easy to get to, and guaranteed to deliver great wildlife shots right to your camera lens.

  • 45 minutes north of Fresno, 15 minutes south of Merced.
  • Open daily, dawn to dusk. No entry fee.
  • Easily accessible by car. Minimal or no walking required.
  • Best time of year to go: November through February.
  • Best time to take pictures: Dawn to dusk.

Learn more on their website

Photo Tips

Most important to take a fast zoom or telephoto lens, and a wide angle lens, and a tripod or monopod. This is a wetland, so a polarized filter and neutral density filter are helpful.

Merced National Wildlife Refuge