Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve

Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve

Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve
4.5
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
About
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.
Duration: 2-3 hours
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles189 reviews
Excellent
137
Very good
48
Average
3
Poor
1
Terrible
0

dbinhou7511
Houston, TX1,620 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Friends
Unfortunately the visitor center was closed, but there are several trails to take in the back island areas to walk through the forest and swamp area. The trails are well-maintained and include boardwalk areas across the swampy areas. Be on the lookout for birds.
Written February 10, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tess
St. Augustine, FL25 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023 • Solo
This place is beautiful and well worth the three dollar entry every time! Trails are super well maintained and well marked. Didn’t see many wildlife this visit except for a digging armadillo. Many different trails of varying lengths and easy to combine to make longer or shorter. Only issue is the bugs. I always be sure to wear bug spray even if it’s not that hot. Don’t recommend in the summer, worst time of the year to visit when it’s hot + humid all the bugs are out. Otherwise highly recommend checking out this place. Excited to visit again!
Written April 1, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

The Pidge
Wayne, NJ598 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2023
I allotted a short amount of time here but should have planned a lot more- something to keep in mind next time in the area (although it was a cold, rainy day, and I didn't bother to load up on insect repellent before walking one of the many trails). The visitors' center is not to be missed- the educational displays are impressive and comprehensive.

Admission is based on the honor system- there seems to be no Venmo/PayPal/Cash App options, so bring a few dollar bills.
Written March 20, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

timetraveler09
St. Charles, IL71 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2023
We visited Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve in early February. First time there. $3 admission for the car - self pay in an envelope in a slotted box. We hiked the yellow trail - easy to follow and offered some great shade. Saw armadillo, wood stork, snowy egret. Carried in our picnic lunch and sat at the picnic tables at the half way point along the Guana River. Lovely! There are bathrooms and a water pump at the trailhead. Great way to spend a few hours.
Written February 8, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MikefromKentucky
Kentucky192 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022
For those of us who need easy trails (level trails that are not dark and full of tree roots) this is a lovely area for hiking. Trails are open and generally follow old logging roads. Located in Ponte Vedra Beach halfway between Jacksonville and St. Augustine. Fishing allowed in the bay (I assume with appropriate license). Parking available but probably full on nice weekends . Small friendly museum as well. We rent an oceanfront home in Ponte Vedra Beach and love this place and the great restaurants nearby.
Written November 11, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Anthony R
Wilmington, DE2,233 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022
A beautiful drive down A1A from Jacksonville led to this peaceful oasis just north of St. Augustine. Miles of well-marked trails take you past interesting flora and fauna, with lovely river views along the way. The reserve is well-maintained, and mostly naturalistic, and it’s refreshing to see so much open space in what would otherwise be another Florida real estate boondoggle!
There is a pay-and-display lot, so bring cash for parking. It’s also a carry in-carry out facility, so if you’re planning to picnic, bring your own trash bags!
Written April 23, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ellen Adena
3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2022
Please continue to support this precious estuary! The Visitor Center and surrouding marshes are true gems!
Written April 7, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

bbbob84
Staten Island, NY1,621 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2022
The visitor center staff were great greeting us and providing information about the preserve and surrounding area. There were all kinds of displays. Interactive ones regarding the wildlife and their migration pattens. Displays with live animals: snakes, turtles, fish and more. A long range monocular focused on the bald eagles nest on the grounds and so much more. At the time of our visit only $3 for a carload of people to enter the preserve. Several hiking trails of different lengths visiting various areas of the preserve. Be certain to check the “current conditions” board as you approach the trails to see if any areas are closed. The parking fee can be used to visit three other parking areas that have beautiful views and beaches. We stopped at the North End and took some additiona photos there.
Written March 3, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Otterhoney
St. Augustine, FL92 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2021 • Couples
We have hiked and biked these trails and love it. When we hiked, we took our dogs. They loved it ! But I have to say we came home and the dogs had tons of ticks :(

We had a great time biking the yellow-to purple to red trail. (Estimated 10miles ) It was a little bumpy due to the tree roots. You really have to watch where you are going but it was worth it! We live here in St. Aug and we will definitely go back! :)
Written March 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

J. T.
Charlotte, NC121 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2021 • Couples
Just recently found GTM. I love the variety and number of trail options. Some trails are more shaded by big oaks, others walk amongst low palms. It is incredibly peaceful. We didn’t see too much wildlife, but it has been pretty unseasonably cool each time we’ve been there. I like the orange trail for flora and the trail along the intracoastal for a energy.
Written January 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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