The River to Sea Preserve off of iconic highway A1A in Florida includes a beach on the Atlantic Ocean and extends all the way to the waterfront of the Matanzas River, part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. The 90-acre preserve which protects the maritime scrub environment, features walking trails, viewing points, educational opportunities, and a public beach. You can also enjoy kayaking, canoeing, birding, bicycling, fishing, and picnicking. The beachside boardwalk provides views of the beach and ocean, benches for sitting a while and enjoying the view, and easy access to the nearby restrooms.
To take advantage of the most of the preserve, you can walk from the parking area, which sits near the beach dunes, to the coastal scrub habitat, where you’re sure to spot some beach mice, tortoises, and maybe even a bobcat. As you walk, you’ll see that the habitat changes to a maritime forest, with palms, oaks, and cedars. If you head away from the beach and onward to the river, you’ll see even more wildlife, including wading birds, dolphins, and manatees.
Leashed pets are welcomed in the preserve. The preserve emphasizes that all visitors should “take only pictures and leave only footprints,” so do your best to follow this mantra when it comes to both you and your pet. Bring your own means of picking up after them and take your trash with you, then dispose of it before you leave. As always when visiting a conservation or preservation area with your dog, don’t allow them to be destructive in any way or to harm the environment. Keep them away from wildlife and, if you know your dog is prone to chasing or attacking wildlife, note that this might not be the best beach for you to visit, as the wildlife is plentiful, particularly the further you hike.