Where freshwater seeps and flows into the sea along Florida’s coastline, massive estuaries serve as aquatic nurseries for fish. The National Estuarine Research Reserve System includes 29 units across the United States. Florida has three.
Guana Tolomato Matanzas (GTM Reserve) stretches down the Atlantic Coast from Ponte Vedra to Palm Coast. Rookery Bay NERR includes the Ten Thousand Islands between Everglades National Park and Naples, the longest unbroken mangrove coastline in America. Apalachicola NERR encompasses the vast estuary at the mouth of the Apalachicola River and the barrier islands protecting Apalachicola Bay. These public lands are jointly managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. All three have excellent nature centers and a variety of trails.
National Estuarine Research Reserves
Outdoor recreation within our National Estuarine Research Reserves in Florida