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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: Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access, Activities for older children
Reviewed 24 August 2014

For nature enthusiasts, this was an amazing place. A small, but very nice interpretive center, beautiful marsh views, great trails and a wonderful beach. Don't miss it.

Thank Chelonian1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"education center"
in 12 reviews
"hiking trails"
in 7 reviews
"real florida"
in 6 reviews
"bug spray"
in 5 reviews
"old florida"
in 6 reviews
"wildlife viewing"
in 4 reviews
"wild boar"
in 4 reviews
"parking lot"
in 9 reviews
"well marked trails"
in 3 reviews
"nice walk"
in 3 reviews
"scavenger hunt"
in 3 reviews
"beautiful scenery"
in 5 reviews
"clams"
in 5 reviews
"across the street"
in 6 reviews
"visitor center"
in 2 reviews
"mountain bike"
in 2 reviews
"florida nature"
in 2 reviews
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99 - 103 of 147 reviews

Reviewed 15 August 2014

Our family loves the beach here. There are 3 main parking areas along AIA where you can park for $3 and walk across the street to an almost secluded beach. You may see a few families/dogs/fishermen there, but much quieter than the public beaches. I believe the 3rd parking lot has wheelchair access. Note that there are no facilities/water at the first or second lot (haven't been to the 3rd).
The Outdoor Education Center which is a couple miles further South was well worth a visit for kids or adults!
We also took a kayak tour through Ripple Effect Ecotours in the estuary and although blazing hot, was very informative!

1  Thank MovingStates
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 July 2014

More interesting stuff about wildlife habitat etc. Then we took the hike. They gave us a map red loop, orange loop, blue loop, etc and set off only to find that the directional signs on the trail don't use colors they use names which made the map worthless. And the trail signs didn't have any maps with you are here locators. We backtracked to the starting point as we joked about a possible naked and afraid overnight camping experience.

3  Thank BigHUGEfun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 July 2014

The GTM National Estuarine Reserve is one of twenty some estuarine reserves around the U.S.A. It's a national treasure, and a fantastic place to enjoy nature and learn about how important biodiversity is to our ecosystem. The GTM is a serene nature preserve just north of St. Augustine with 80,000 acres of protected wetlands and coastal hammock. There are many species of birds, plants, trees, mammals and reptiles to observe in their natural habitat.

Visit the education center, where scientists and educators are working on an array of research projects. I had the opportunity to participate in a two year community project to rebuild an oyster reef along the bordering intracoastal waterway, and to conduct a survey of native bees.

Be sure to visit the education center and watch the beautiful video describing the estuary. There are plenty of activities for children.

1  Thank wmsterry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 6 July 2014

Great nature trails, fun interactive building for kids and parents alike. Need bug spray and sun screen in the summer! Kids get to do scavenger hunt to find all the different animals. Great break if you need time off from the beach

Thank Julie-Anne C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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