The parks in Ponte Vedra Beach are beautifully designed and a peaceful respite for residents and visitors alike. Juan Ponce de Leon first spotted Florida from his fleet off the coast of Ponte Vedra Beach, making this a particularly special area. Ponte Vedra Beach is best known for the PGA tour and the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. Culture, beauty and affluence are the common thread repeated about this area code.
This is an innovative, passive park artistically designed to reflect natural Florida. A wonderful place for picnicking, bird watching, strolling and relaxation. There is a hedge maze in the shape of a sea turtle that my children love to explore. The playground does not have a slide or swings, but my children enjoyed the climbing structures in the shape of fish and the firetrucks at the station next to the play area. This park shares its parking lot with the public library, making it a perfect place to take children for an afternoon playdate.
Deleon Shores Park/ Dolphin Cove Community Park – Dolphin Blvd. E., Ponte Vedra, FL 32082
Tucked into a neighborhood named Dolphin Cove is a wonderful playground for locals. This park is located in the northernmost corner of St. Johns county. Facilities in this park include a skate area, a tennis court, 2 small basketball courts, a pavilion, swings, a toddler play area, a multipurpose field, and a dog park. There are no public restrooms here, but there is a portable toilet available if circumstances make it necessary.
Mickler’s Beachfront Park – 1110 Ponte Vedra Blvd, Ponte Vedra, 32082
This beach access area has restrooms, showers, a handicapped accessible dune walkover, grills, and is open for horseback riding. Mickler’s has a large parking area, making it an ideal spot for group gatherings during the off season. This is a very popular spot for a full day of swimming, hunting for shark teeth, and surfing.
This beach access point has BBQ grills, a small parking lot, a picnic pavilion, a shower, and restrooms. This area offers free parking unlike the parking areas within the Guana Reserve. Spend the morning looking for shark teeth and sea glass in the sand after watching the sun rise.
GTMNERR Exxon Store Beach Access – 2701-2719 Ponte Vedra Blvd, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082
Beside the Exxon gas station and just before the main entrance to GTMNERR there is a small dirt parking lot and a public beach access point. There is a crosswalk at this location with flashing lights to alert motorists of pedestrians. The beach is a close walk from this lot but there are no restroom facilities or showers.
Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve South Beach – 1640-1798 Ponte Vedra Blvd Parking, 1640-1798 Ponte Vedra Blvd, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082
This is the first beach access point as you head North from the main Guana entrance (where the Guana Dam is located). The south beach parking lot is wheelchair accessible, but you will need to cross A1A. Fortunately, you will have the assistance of flashing lights that alert motorists of pedestrians. There is access to the Hammock Trail from this parking lot. It is $3 to park at this beach access area and there are no lifeguards present.
Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve Middle Beach – 1641-1799 A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082
You must pay $3 to park at this beach access point. The parking area is on the west side of A1A. To reach the stairs you must cross A1A using pedestrian signs which flash to alert drivers when activated. There are no lifeguards at this beach and cell reception is terrible. You will be far from the tourists and busy rush of the city. It is worth the cost to enjoy the pristine beaches without many others. This is the perfect beach for introverts. The parking area boasts an oyster shell recycling program. You can see mounds of oysters being sanitized in the sun prior to their placement in the water. These oysters have been collected from local restaurants and are being used to re-create a natural oyster reef.
This beach access area has an impressive statue to Ponce de Leon, the explorer who led the first official European expedition to Florida. The coordinates 30° 8′ North Latitude were recorded as the fleet position when the Spanish sailors first sighted Florida. The land at this beach access point has been preserved and looks very similar to what the explorers would have encountered in 1513. To park in this area you must pay $3. There is no lifeguard on duty and cell phone service is spotty. You must cross A1A to access the walkover. There are lights that flash when activated by pedestrians to warn drivers to stop for people in the cross walk.
Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve – 505 Guana River Road, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082
There are 10 miles of nature trails through hammock, scrub and flat-woods. There is a $3 entrance fee per vehicle to the reserve. The parking lot from the trails is west of the dam. Each Saturday there is a guided hike or activity available for free! Simply reserve your spot online and pay the $3 fee for parking when you arrive. There are many activities available here including fishing, cast netting, trails for hiking and mountain biking, wildlife viewing, beach access, and education through the visitors education center. GTMNERR is a collaboration between Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. If you walk the trails be sure to download the self guided resources provided online. Ticks, mosquitos, and biting flies are common in wooded areas here so do not forget to wear bug spray and sun screen. Please be aware, the insects are in abundance during the warmest months of the year.
There are two fenced tennis courts at this park. The fences are short so you may lose a few tennis balls to overenthusiastic hits. These courts seem to be in good condition. This park also has 4 baseball fields, a multipurpose field, a basketball court, restrooms, and a picnic pavilion. Just north of Mickler’s Landing, this park is great for a quick tennis game before or after a trip to the beach.
There is one tennis court at this park. The basketball court is on one side of the fence, while the swings are on the other, making it one of the least private courts I visited. The court is playable and the park was busy when we visited, making it feel safe even at dusk.
This is a multi purpose field with Football goals at either end. There are bleachers for spectators and the field is fenced. This is a beautiful place to play football with friends or family. There is a restroom and a covered picnic pavilion nearby. This park has 4 baseball fields, a multipurpose field, 2 tennis courts, and a basketball court. Just north of Mickler’s Landing, this park is great to visit along with the beach.
This is a multi purpose field, with a fence for foul balls and a covered dug out. While it is certainly set up for baseball, this is a community park where the field is used in many different ways. Fly a kite, play soccer, toss a football, or play tag in this large field.
There are 4 baseball fields at this park. These are well maintained fields where many local children play through the Ponte Vedra Athletic Association. This park also has a multipurpose field, 2 tennis courts, a basketball court, restrooms and a pavilion. Just north of Mickler’s Landing, this park is great for teaching your children to play America’s favorite pastime.
This is the only public dog park in Ponte Vedra Beach. The park is small but has a nice shaded area for dog owners. The dog park has one area for large and small dogs. Please be aware that the fence is not tall. The skate park and basketball court are near the dog park, so if your furry companion is easily frightened by loud noises this may not be the best location for play.
This is a beautiful location for boaters, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, and canoes with a large parking lot. It has 1 boat ramp and space for 12 vehicles. This is an excellent location to enter the Tolomato River. There is a dock and a floating dock. Palm Valley Outdoors is right next door to this boat ramp. They are a waterfront bar and grill, tackle shop and sporting equipment rental store. They even have a resident rooster to enjoy after your outdoor adventures. The kayak launch is just over the bridge on the other side of the river.
There are two boat ramp access points on either side of the Dam. These points allow access to the Guana River and Lake. There is a limit of 10 HP for access and a $3 entrance fee per vehicle to this reserve. There is plentiful parking, restroom facilities, and water washing stations. There are many activities available here including fishing, cast netting, kayaking, bird watching, hiking trails, and education at the visitors education center. There are alligators here, so please use caution during breeding season when they are most active (April to June). GTMNERR is a collaboration between Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Six Mile Landing Public Boat Ramp – 1700 Ponte Vedra Blvd, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082
This boat ramp is located 6 miles North of the Guana River Dam, giving it its name. This sandy lot has parking for 6 vehicles. Outboard motors are limited to 10 HP. There is often a portable toilet at this location. Boats, canoes, and kayaks will gain access to the Guana river from this location. This area is closed during Waterfowl hunting season (November 11- February 9th).
This is an excellent place to fish and is listed as a favorite spot among local fishermen. The dam is open daily for fishing from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m. It can get crowded at times due to its popularity. Fishing by canoe or kayak is ideal. Huge fish have been pulled out of the River here. Alligators are present so please use caution during mating season (April to June) when they are most active.
This park was designed with natural Florida as its inspiration. Native flora and fauna are featured here, attracting native Florida birds, insects and lizards. The unique ecosystems of our state are represented among the features. There is a gazebo at the entrance with wildlife information, a hedge maze in the shape of a sea turtle, a boardwalk that surrounds the pond, an amphitheater with beautiful mosaics of Florida wildlife, and a handicapped accessible sidewalk that encompasses the park. As the name suggests, many birds can be seen here.
GTM Research Reserve Environmental Education Center – 505 Guana River Rd, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082
Visit the air conditioned education center open daily from 9am-4pm Tuesday to Saturday (Closed on Sunday and Monday) to learn about the estuary, ocean and forest. The center features full size models of sea life (a right whale and sea turtles hang from the ceiling), an educational video, and a scavenger hunt that children and parents will find delightful. Entrance to the Environmental Education Center is free for all ages.