Sebastian Inlet State Park

Sebastian Inlet State Park
If you enjoy fishing, surfing, or just walking on a sandy beach, Sebastian Inlet State Park on Florida’s mid-Atlantic coast is a good place to visit.

Situated on a barrier island between Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean, the park stretches for 3 miles, comprising 1000 acres. A bridge that spans Sebastian Inlet is part of state route A1A. The section of the park south of the inlet is part of Indian River County, while the section north of the inlet belongs to Brevard County.

History

Sebastian Inlet is a man-made channel connecting the ocean with the lagoon. Beginning in 1885, several attempts had been made to create this connection, but these early projects were ultimately unsuccessful because sand deposited by ocean currents would eventually close the channel. In 1955, the inlet was narrowed to increase the speed of the tidal flow through it. Two jetties were also built, one at its northeast point, the other at its southeast point, to direct sand away from the oceanside opening. The north jetty is about 1600’ long, while the south jetty is approximately 1200’ long. Even so, the opening on the west (lagoon) end must be periodically dredged to remove deposited sand.

There is evidence that the area has been inhabited by groups of indigenous people since about 2000 B.C.E. These early inhabitants left behind artifacts in “middens,” mounds containing discarded objects such as mollusk shells, bones, and pottery shards. In 1715, a Spanish fleet carrying gold, silver, and jewels from Havana, Cuba, to Spain was sunk offshore in a hurricane. The survivors, camped in a location that is now the site of the McLarty Treasure Museum, attempted to salvage what they could of the lost treasure. The museum exhibits present the history of the area starting with its prehistoric tribes and tell the story of the lost Spanish fleet. The museum is located at the southern end of the state park.

Another museum, the Sebastian Fishing Museum, features the history of fishing in the area and commemorates 3 families that operated fish houses. It is located adjacent to the park entry station.

Park Activities

Sebastian Inlet State Park offers fishing, surfing, swimming, boating, picnicking, camping, hiking, geocaching, and wildlife viewing. Regularly scheduled, ranger—led programs cover subjects such as fishing, sea turtles, beachcombing, and plant and bird identification. During June and July, programs present a chance to see nesting loggerhead turtles.

Fishing can be done from the north or south jetties, a walkway under the Sebastian Inlet bridge, from a boat, or from the shore. The park concessionaire, BG’s Surfside Grill and Adventures, rents boats, sells bait, tackle, and other supplies, and has a snack bar. Boats can be launched at the south end of the park, or at the marina on its north end. The marina also rents motor boats, canoes, and kayaks.

The north jetty creates world-class surfing conditions. Several competitions are held there annually. A tidal cove just north of the inlet is a popular swimming spot for families with young children.

Sebastian Inlet State Park is part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. Watching manatees from the jetties, river otters and diamondback terrapins on the lagoon, or observing birds on both the ocean and the lagoon sides of the park are popular activities.

Four picnic pavilions with grills, water, and electricity are located on the southwest end of the park, fronting the lagoon. A playground is also located there. Reservations can be made by phoning (321)724-5424.

A full-service campground contains 51 campsites equipped with water and electric hookups, fire ring, and picnic tables. Showers, restrooms, and laundry facilities are located within the campground. A dump station is also available. Reservations can be made at the Reserve America website or by calling (800)326-3521.

Sebastian Inlet State Park is located at:
9700 South State Road A1A
Melbourne Beach FL 32951





You Should Also Read:
Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail (GFBWT)

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Content copyright © 2018 by Georgiana Kurtz. All rights reserved.
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