Florida’s 3rd most popular state park, Sebastian Inlet has a lot to offer outdoor enthusiasts, starting with miles of unspoiled beachfront. The sparkling aquamarine waters here remind me of the Florida Keys. Incredible numbers of endangered sea turtles nest here — so do protected shorebirds and behind the dunes, gopher tortoises. But the beach is just the beginning.
Sebastian Inlet, the park’s namesake, is one of only 5 inlets along the entire 156 mile length of the Indian River Lagoon — 5 connections between North America’s most biodiverse estuary and the Atlantic Ocean. During my visit, the inlet was turbulent, even though the ocean was quite calm. There is, however, a popular tidal pool on the north side of the inlet that remained tranquil. The contrast between the tannic, dark waters of the lagoon and the aquamarine of the ocean is striking. You can read the currents by watching how these two very different waters mix, especially along the jetty.
On the north side of the inlet there is a great curved jetty with a (concrete & steel) boardwalk on top, ADA accessible. A popular fishing spot, you have the inlet to the south, the ocean to the north, and a mixture of both to the east. The views are beautiful and you’re likely to see a great variety of birds…maybe even manatees playing in the ocean (when the water is warm).
The inlet leads to the Indian River Lagoon on the western side of this barrier island. Just up the road from the inlet area there is a full service marina on the lagoon side, including kayak rentals. A natural wonder itself, this spectacular lagoon is home to a wider variety of flora and fauna than any other estuary in North America. Dolphins and manatees are common, as well as a huge variety of birds. Fishing? Some of the best in the world.
Between the dunes and the lagoon rests a great coastal forest with miles of scenic trails. I chose my bike for trail transportation, but hiking would be just as enjoyable. A short offshoot trail even takes you to a more remote section of the beach.
It’s easy to see why this park draws more than three quarter of a million people every year. Sebastian Inlet State Park is a full service, full featured slice of paradise. Check out the Photo Gallery, links and trail map for more information…then put it on your Bucket List!