We stayed in Sebastian on our first week in Florida. Sebastian is located in Indian River County, on the East coast of Florida. We chose Sebastian because we found a gorgeous holiday house there and also because we figured it would be a good base from which to do road trips to Vero Beach, Cocoa Beach and Orlando.
We didn’t really have a chance to explore the town of Sebastian as much as we would’ve liked as we were on the move all the time. It has a pretty, well-kept centre by the Indian River.
How happy the sun makes me!
You will find many restaurants to choose from in Sebastian. We started Christmas Day with breakfast at Country Ham ‘n Egg since all grocery stores were closed and we needed breakfast. This restaurant is your typical American diner experience – we actually went twice.
You gotta have pancakes when in the USA.
We also tried the riverside restaurant Mulligan’s Beach House bar & grill but I am not going to blog about that as the food was awful. It does have a very prominent setting though and good happy hour deals. But you don’t have to go inside to see the dolphins playing in front of the building.
For more nature, it’s a good idea to visit Pelican Island Natural Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Did you know that Pelican Island was the first national wildlife refuge in the United States? President Theodore Roosevelt established it in 1903 in order to save the brown pelican rookery and provide a safe haven for other water birds as well. Exotic birds were being hunted for their feathers which were being used to adorn ladies’ hats and a stop had to be put to it.
I have understood that there is no visitor access to the island but you can see it from the observation platform at the NWR like we did. There it is, in the distance. Not very big is it. But full of animal life and manatees swimming around.
For the viewing platform you will walk the Centennial Trail. Do take your binoculars with you. This trail is only 3/4 miles as a roundtrip and can be done with strollers or wheelchairs as well.
In addition we walked the Joe Michael Memorial Trail. It’s a three mile loop if you do the whole thing.
For someone who is used to walking in forests in Finland this felt a bit too urbanized. The trail is a huge dirt trail where you could easily drive by car. You won’t actually see much except birds flying above you since the mangroves are around you blocking the view. I suggest you just walk this trail to Joe’s Overlook and then walk the same way back instead of doing the whole loop trail.
We did see holes where I guess crabs like to reside. We also saw lots of crab claws like these all around.
Below is a view from Joe’s overlook. It is a salt marsh. What is surprising is the lack of mosquitos. The reason for this is that during the summer months, the amount of mud is minimized by tapping the mud and thus there’s not so much ground for the mosquitos to lay their eggs.
Please note that the nearest toilets are near the refuge entrance. Remember to take your own water with you.
After you’re done, I suggest you drive the Jungle Trail out of the area. This is a historical sand road from the 1920’s built so that citrus growers could transport their produce up and down the barrier island.
Another nature attraction you might want to visit in the area is Sebastian Inlet Park.
There are also great beaches in Sebastian, for example Wabasso Beach Park.
Have you been to Sebastian?