Free guided Beach Exploration event at GTM Research Reserve

On the 3rd Saturday of next month, join Historic City News editor Michael Gold when he celebrates his birthday from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. at the GTM Research Reserve Visitor Center located at 505 Guana River Road in Ponte Vedra Beach.  The Reserve will provide docents for a free guided beach exploration event on Saturday, November 16th.

The hike will begin at the Visitor Center where you will learn about the different habitats on our beautiful seashore. 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 group will walk across the street to the beach for this salty adventure,” Research Reserve spokesman Patrician Price reported.  “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.”

Parking for the guided Beach Exploration is available in front of the Visitor Center. There is no fee to park in this lot.

  • Do I need a reservation to attend? Yes.  The event is free, but online registration is required.
  • If I can’t make it, how do I cancel my reservation? Upon making the reservation, an email confirmation is sent. There is information about canceling within the email. Since a lot of our guided family programs are full, we strongly encourage you to cancel, so that your seat becomes available for others interested.
  • 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 with the lead or turn around when they do and discuss more on the way back. At any point throughout the hike, visitors can take swim breaks in the beautiful ocean. 
  • What should I bring? Please bring a reusable water bottle filled with water, insect repellent, sunscreen, binoculars, camera and a bag if you would like to collect shells, shark teeth, sea glass, trash, etc.
  • Where should I meet my guide? Your guide will be waiting at the GTM Visitor Center 15 minutes prior to the scheduled hike.
  • What will I learn from this? The GTM Research Reserve interpretive guide will cover where the restless sand comes from, 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.
  • 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! You can purchase a $3 parking pass to enjoy the Dam area, where visitors can fish, rent kayaks or paddleboards. 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 learn more about our natural surroundings.
  • 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 wheels.
  • I have a bad back; can I still do this hike? The hike is moderately paced and has soft sand terrain. If you feel comfortable walking through beach sand for about half of a mile, please join us on this hike! !