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“Beautiful place to look for shells and to walk and see a natural Florida beach” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve

Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve
505 Guana River Road, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082
(904) 823-4500
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Type: Nature/ Wildlife Areas, Outdoors
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Owner description: The Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM Research Reserve) is dedicated to the conservation of natural biodiversity and cultural resources through research and monitoring to guide science-based stewardship and education strategies. The GTM Research Reserve was formed through a collaboration of Florida's Department of Environmental Protection and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It covers 74,000 acres of coastal lands in northeast Florida from Ponte Vedra Beach to Palm Coast. The GTM Research Reserve is part of a national system of research reserves that focus on research, education and stewardship. The GTM Research Reserve has a 21,000 square foot Environmental Education Center which includes interpretive exhibits, aquariums, classrooms, teaching and working laboratories, an auditorium and an outdoor amphitheater overlooking the Guana River Aquatic Preserve. Education staff offer programming for all ages on the importance of estuarine ecosystems. A Coastal Training Program offers training for professionals on issues of concern in our local community including watershed, invasive plants and much more.
Rome, Italy
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
“Beautiful place to look for shells and to walk and see a natural Florida beach”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2013

This is a great treasure of the Jacksonville area. Bring family for a walk, for looking for seashells and to see a natural beach. However, note that in mid day its VERY hot, bring bug spray for evenings and early mornings, and be very careful swimming -- the surf is much stronger and more unpredictable than in other beaches in the area.

Visited September 2012
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53 reviews from our community

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English first
Ponte Vedra Beach Florida, USA
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Easy access to unspoiled natural wetlands”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (or Guana Park as the locals call it) is a beautiful wetlands preserve along the Atlantic coast north of St. Augustine. There are 15 miles of marked trails through the preserve and hiking and trail biking are popular. For the aquatic minded, there is a good launch point for canoes or kayaks.

There are incomparable views of wetlands, mature hardwoods, pine scrub and the intracoastal waterway. You will undoubtedly encounter deer, racoons and a variety of other wildlife along the trails. I'd recommend packing a lunch and hiking or biking to a secluded beach area along the waterway. I enjoy mountain biking along the trails. It is great exercise, usually not crowded at all and very scenic. Entry is $3 per vehicle or annual passes are about $50.

Visited June 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ponte Vedra Beach Florida
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“OLD FLORIDA”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

What a great place to get the feel of what Florida's coast used to be. When you walk any of the trails through the forest, you are totally transformed from today to many yesterdays ago. The forest side of the Reserve is quiet and cool. Birds sing, snakes will slither and other creatures will abound if you are quiet enough. A transforming day. If you fish, there's plenty of company for you and if you still love the beach best, cross over A1A and enjoy a wild beachfront - no homes, no concessions, no clubs, just the sea and the sand and other visitors.

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LAKE MARY
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Kids enjoyed the day”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2013

Beautiful beach. The learning center is very informative and my kids loved it. Lots of shells and shark teeth on the beach. Had a lovely visit.

Visited July 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacksonville, Florida
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
20 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Beautiful Beach”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2013

I was passing by and stopped at this beach on an impulse; I was very pleasantly surprised. The boardwalk leading to the beach takes you past some beautiful photographic terrain and the birds overhead where interesting to watch with their huge wing spans. The beach wasn't very crowded either.

My only real "con" is the fact that the parking is located across the street from the beach and visitors have to cross (at their own risk) a well traveled main street on which traffic moves at speeds of 50 mph or greater.

Be advised that there is a nominal fee for parking BUT there is not a charge to go onto the beach.

Visited May 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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