Sebastian, Florida Attractions

by Ann LaPan

Sebastian, Florida is located just north of Vero Beach and south of Melbourne, with the Intercoastal Waterway spanning the length of the town. It is set on that part of the coastline known as the "Treasure Coast," so-called after the ships from a Spanish fleet that were sunk during a hurricane in 1715. While in the area, visitors could take a day trip to Cape Canaveral, a two-hour drive to Orlando, or visit the attractions offered in Sebastian.

Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge

The city of Sebastian proudly advertises itself as the "home of Pelican Island," the first national wildlife refuge, which was established by Theodore Roosevelt in 1903. Pelican Island is a 3-acre island that is only accessible by boat. One of the more interesting ways to learn about its inhabitants is to take a chartered tour. The island is a prime site for bird watching, with more than 30 species of birds, such as the endangered wood stork. Endangered or threatened animals, such as the Florida manatee, and three species of sea turtles may also be observed. Fishing is allowed on the open waters and boats and kayaks may be rented from local vendors. The refuge is open from 7:30 a.m. to sunset daily.

Intercoastal Waterway

Sea turtles, bottlenose dolphins and manatees are among the wildlife that you can see along the Intercoastal Waterway, which connects the Indian River, the Saint Sebastian River and the Indian River Lagoon to the ocean. Marshlands can be accessed via rented boats. Fishing tours take visitors to the area up the Saint Sebastian River to view occasional alligators and river otters. Over 150 species of fish have been caught in the area.

Saint Sebastian River Preserve State Park

Nature enthusiasts can explore 60 miles of trails, by bicycle, foot or horseback, through the the open grassy forests of Saint Sebastian River Preserve State Park. Visitors can launch canoes on the Saint Sebastian River that flows through the park to enjoy a day of fishing or photography. The park opens at 8 a.m. every day of the year and closes at sunset.

Indian River County Public Beaches

Golden Sands Beach Park, Treasure Shores Park and Wabasso Beach Park are all full-service sandy beaches with lifeguards, restrooms, showers, playgrounds, picnic tables and grills that are near the Sebastian/Wabasso town line. To avoid the crowds, visit one of the beaches that provides no amenities except parking, such as Sea Grape Trail, Turtle Trail and Amber Sands.