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“Nice place to take the family.”

Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: 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.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities, Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Vilano Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
50 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Nice place to take the family.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 March 2014

Very educational outing for anyone. Highly recommend to visit if you are traveling down A1A in Ponte Verdra.

Visited February 2014
1 Thank PaintedSunrise
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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132 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Asheville, NC
Level Contributor
16 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“There's a Great Visitor's Center There, Too!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 March 2014

Yes, it's a biological/habitat reserve. The dunes are natural-looking, the beach is not crowded, the trails are appealing. But everyone keeps missing a great part of the Reserve. There is a very informative Visitor's Center! Here you can see a right whale replica suspended from the ceiling, a telescope trained on an active bald eagle's nest, a couple of (sad) sculptures made out of trash picked up at the beach, a number of interactive exhibits, lots of sea birds perched nearby, really great docents and lots more. This is one of 27 or so national estuarine research reserves in the US. And since it's also a research facility, there are also many research posters to read and learn about.

Visited March 2014
3 Thank TravelGirl104
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jacksonville, Florida
Level Contributor
22 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Biking the trails”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 March 2014

We took the bikes out to the trails and had a wonderful day exploring. We had one mountain bike and one beach cruiser, both with tag-alongs on the back for our younger children. While I was able to ride the trails with the beach cruiser, it would have been easier with a mountain bike (tree roots, mud, etc). We took the yellow, blue and orange trails and saw some beautiful scenery. The three trails combined was the perfect distance for us. It probably took us an hour to an hour in half. The yellow trail takes you to the intracoastal where my daughter loved playing with hermit crabs and watching the fiddler crabs. We then went to the nature center and my kids LOVED it. The volunteer gave them a scavenger hunt list and the kids (ages 4 and 6) were so into it. At the end they turned it in for a surprise (rainbow loom bracelet). We will be back.

Visited March 2014
3 Thank Jennifer V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
somewhere deep in Ohio
Level Contributor
105 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“Reprieve from St. George St”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 January 2014

Maybe 10 miles from the heart of St. Augustine, GTMNERR gives walkers, hikers, bikers, fisherman, crabbers, kayakers, beach walkers, boaters, and other nature lovers an opportunity to do just that. A dog friendly park but dogs need to be leashed - for their protection on the trails. Some trails lead to the Tolomato River, part of which helps form the intracoastal waterway. Views are impressive. Admittance is $3 per carload. Perhaps the best entertainment deal in the area. There are several entrances on A1A and all offering different paths. GTMNERR also has a nice educational center at one of the entrances. Good for kids and adults.

Visited January 2014
2 Thank JaneRussel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
25 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Great secluded beach”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 December 2013 via mobile

There are three parking lots with walk over A1A. Parking is very difficult so get there early or ride your bike down on the sand at low tide!

Thank Compass_marc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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