GTM Research Reserve
The Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve is an estuary divided by the city of St. Augustine, stretching approximately 30 miles north and 30 miles south of the city, in St. Johns and Flagler counties.
Simply put, estuaries connect the ocean and the land. Salt water and fresh meet to become the brackish water that nature uses to foster life. The 73,352 acres of salt marsh and mangrove tidal wetlands, oyster bars, estuarine lagoons, upland habitat and offshore seas that comprise the GTM make it a living laboratory for staff, scientists and graduate students.
The northernmost extent of mangrove habitat on the east coast of the United States, the GTM offers some of the highest dunes in Florida, measuring 30-40 feet, and one of the few remaining "inlets" in northeast Florida not protected by a jetty, appearing exactly as it might have been in the distant past.
The beachfront of the GTM Reserve, including the next 10 miles of Atlantic Ocean, provide a shelling and shark tooth hunter’s treasure trove. Shells and shark’s teeth going back 60 million years are commonly found here. On the west side of A1A at13.6 miles, a boat ramp provides access to the Guana River as it meets the Intracoastal Waterway. Other public beach access points are located at 12.9 miles, 15.2 miles and 16.2 miles, with parking on west side of A1A (No accessible facilities). Next bathroom, fuel and food facility is at 20.2 miles on west side of A1A.
The GTM Reserve’s Environmental Education Center provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity for people of all ages to learn about the many functions of the coastal and estuarine ecosystem and the natural history of Northeast Florida. The center contains natural & cultural history exhibits, aquariums, an audiovisual theatre/auditorium, a laboratory, and a nature store. Outdoor recreational activities include a picnic pavilion, 10 miles of hiking trails, 4 beach access points, fishing area and 2 small boat ramps.
The GTM Research Reserve is located at 505 Guana River Road, Ponte Vedra Beach.The Environmental Education Center is open daily, 9 am -4 pm with the exception of state holidays. Admission is $2 for adults, $1 for children age 10 - 17 and free for children under age 10. GTM trails and Guana beach parking areas are open daily, 8 am to sunset, 365 days a year. Parking fee: $3 per vehicle. The GTM Guana River Dam Use Area is open daily for fishing, 4 am - 11 pm. Parking fee: $3 per vehicle.
For more information visit www.gtmnerr.org or call (904) 823-4500