Beach Exploration

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On the 3rd Saturday of every month from 9 to 11 a.m., join GTM Research Reserve docents for a beach walk! You will learn about the animals that call the beach their home, as well as seashells and other interesting facts. This is a “Beaches 101” experience that the entire family will enjoy. The hike will begin at the Visitor Center where you will learn about the different habitats on our beautiful seashore. The group will then walk across the street to the beach for this salty adventure!

Parking for this event is located in front of the visitor center. There is no fee for this lot.

This event is also, free, but online registration is required.

After the walk, you can come back to the GTM Research Reserve Visitor Center, enjoy our many miles of trails, or spend the day on the beach! The Visitor Center is located at 505 Guana River Road, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL  32082.

Please CLICK HERE to reserve a spot for the Beach Exploration online, or call (904) 823-4500.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I need a reservation to attend? Yes, please register online by following the links provided above.
  • If I can’t make it, how do I cancel my reservation? Upon making the reservation you should have received an email confirmation. There is information about canceling within the email. Since a lot of our guided family programs are full, we strongly encourage you to cancel (as opposed to just not showing up) so that we may accommodate another person/family.
  • What should I wear? Please wear clothing that is appropriate for outdoors. It’s always recommended to dress in layers and prepare for any type of weather. Hats will help protect your skin from the sun, along with sunscreen. Closed-toe shoes are suggested, but not required. Bug spray is also recommended.
  • How long is the walk? Round trip, the walk is about half a mile. The hike leaders will take you down to the beach, and will walk ~0.25 miles one way. You are welcome to continue on with the lead, or turn around when they do, to discuss more on the way back. At any point throughout the hike, visitors are allowed to take swim breaks in the beautiful ocean.  
  • What should I bring? Please bring a reusable water bottle filled with water, insect repellent, sunscreen (strongly recommended), and binoculars/camera, and a bag if you would like to collect shells, shark teeth, sea glass, trash, etc.
  • Where should I meet my guide? CLICK HERE for a Google Map. Your guide will be waiting at the GTM Visitor Center 15 minutes prior to the scheduled hike. The hike begins at 9 a.m.
  • What will I learn from this? The GTM Research Reserve interpretive guide will cover where the restless sand comes from and where it’s going and its refusal to stay put. Ask why the sand is fine or coarse and how it got its color. Learn about coquina rocks, dune flowers, sea birds, shells and the humble gopher tortoise who digs deep burrows and comes out to dine on prickly pears along the dunes.
  • Are there any fees? There is a $3 parking fee for the lot. This pass will give you all day access for a full day of beach fun or afterwards if you wanted to head to the Guana Trails or Guana Dam area.
  • Is there anything else to see afterwards? You’re welcome to stay at the beach longer and collect shells, swim in the ocean, or lay in the sun- have a family day! Besides the beach, your $3 parking pass will also get you to the Dam area where visitors can fish or rent kayaks and SUPs, you can hike one of our beautiful trails, head to one of our three beach lots, or come hang out in the Visitor Center and play with our touch screen games, scavenger hunts and more! 
  • How old does my child need to be to attend? Can I push a stroller? There are no age restrictions for this hike, but the Florida heat can be uncomfortable for small children. You are welcome to push a stroller, however we strongly recommend strollers with large beach-capable wills (otherwise it will be incredibly difficult).
  • I have a bad back, can I still do this hike? The hike is moderately paced, and has soft sand terrain. As long as you feel comfortable walking through beach sand for about half of a mile, please join us on this hike!