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Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve

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Address: 505 Guana River Rd, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082
Phone Number:
+1 904-823-4500
09:00 - 16:00
Closed now
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Sun - Sat 09:00 - 16:00
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours

The Reserve was established in 1999 as a part of the National Oceanic and...

The Reserve was established in 1999 as a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) System and is one of three NERRs in Florida. The Reserve staff manage the Guana Dam parking area, three beach lots (north, middle, and south), a trail system, the EEC, and a field office in Marineland, Florida. The Reserve’s 73,256 acres also includes Guana River Wildlife Management Area, Deep Creek State Forest, Stokes Landing Conservation Area, Fort Matanzas National Monument, Washington Oaks Gardens State Park, Faver-Dykes State Park, Moses Creek Conservation Area, Pellicer Creek Conservation Area, Princess Place Preserve, and the River to Sea Preserve, all of which are managed by separate agencies.

The Reserve is an important economic, ecological, and educational resource for local communities. The estuary provides valuable ecological services such as a nursery, storm protection, flood protection, oyster habitat, and water quality. Its health is fundamental to the survival of endangered ocean species such as the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) and sea

turtles. These resources provide economic opportunities in the form of fishing, recreational businesses, and jobs. As a NERR, the Reserve conducts scientific research, stewardship activities, and educational programs. Some of the unique aspects of this Reserve are its rich cultural history, location by the first city in America, pristine and quiet beaches, and diverse habitats.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 134 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 95
  • 35
    Very good
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
Beautiful authentic spot

This is a very nice walk and a chance to see what Florida was like before development. Wonderful that this area has been preserved.

Reviewed 5 days ago
Boston, Massachusetts
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134 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 133: English reviews
Boston, Massachusetts
2 reviews
Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

This is a very nice walk and a chance to see what Florida was like before development. Wonderful that this area has been preserved.

Thank hbeedy2017
Camden, Maine
Level Contributor
57 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

I used to live a few miles from the GTM as the locals call it and it was the best part about living in Ponte Vedra Beach. I loved walking on the various trails, learning about the faunas and the ecology of this very special place. I hope it will always stay protected as it is a true natural gem.

Thank Willa17
Beaufort, South Carolina
Level Contributor
43 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 April 2017

Great hiking trails, all well maintained. They provide maps at the trail head. All trails easily marked. All flat, some shade some sun. May need bug spray. Beautiful place.

Thank hhi2
Level Contributor
38 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 March 2017 via mobile

I would love to go back. Did a 3.2 mile hike and hung around there for a bit. Also checked out the educational building, very cool inside with a few aquariums. It costs a small separate fee to get in there though.

Thank India H
Gaithersburg, Maryland
Level Contributor
22 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 March 2017

Great place to go hiking! The terrain is flat, but shaded, the trails are well marked, the hiking is not difficult and the views are peaceful. When you exit A1A at the Visitor Center, keep driving straight, pay your $3 at the self-pay station, drive across the causeway to a small parking lot. Trail maps and signs are next to... More 

2 Thank stevevw31
Gainesville, Florida
Level Contributor
115 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 March 2017

We visited the museum, which had a video program teaching about estuaries. It must have been effective, because we still talk about them! There are hiking trails, if weather is decent. Take sunscreen and insect repellent. A small beach is across A1A.

2 Thank carlas51
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 February 2017

Tired of the tourist attractions? Want to see Florida without the Mackey Mouse, Ripley, and pirates? Spend some time in this beautiful natural setting. There are 2 parts to this preserve? The educational center and the park. The center has some exhibits and a documentary. The cost is $2. The documentary gives you good overview, and there are some nice... More 

2 Thank Suzanne G
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 February 2017

Living right near this place for the last 4 years and never visited this place. Stopped by Saturday with my wife and did a small hike of about 1 mile each way. The scenery is amazing! This is what Florida looked like 200 years ago. They have several hikes of varying lengths; places to fish; benches to just sit and... More 

2 Thank harnett95
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
92 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 January 2017

Beautiful beach that runs for miles, a protected Reserve from ocean to river on the lower end of Padre Island.....a rare treat indeed......a learning center, located a the southern end of the Reserve is filled with exhibits and educational material, as well as a small but wonderfully curated aquarium.....don't forget to look for the Bald Eagles

2 Thank restoman2020
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
834 reviews
369 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,105 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 January 2017

We love to walk on the beach and so when they temporarily closed Mickler's Landing for beach renourishment we ventured south (about 3 miles) to this natural preserve. Beach is very wide and long and great to walk on as there were very few people when we were there during the week. Parking is across A!A and costs $3 unless... More 

4 Thank RLWOrangePark

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