With a population of about 22,000, Sebastian is a small, Atlantic coast city that’s located between Melbourne to the north and Vero Beach and Fort Pierce to the south.
Sebastian is home to Pelican Island Preserve, which was established in 1903 and is the oldest natural preserve of its kind in the country.
The Sebastian area features an ever-growing eco-tourism industry, and like many coastal vacation destinations, offers a variety of activity options, including golf, fishing, and a number of historical, cultural and natural sites as well.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Sebastian, Florida.
1. Riverview Coffee, Tea and Books
Located on U.S. Route 1 in Sebastian, Riverview Coffee, Tea and Books kills two birds with one stone by providing guests with a full-spectrum of coffees and teas and a variety of reasonably priced books.
Many of their products are organic, and they offer delicious fresh-baked goods too; there are vegan and gluten-free options available for those with dietary restrictions.
If you’ve got a few books that you’ve already read just laying around taking up space, you might want to consider taking them along; if they’re not too beaten-up, you may be able to trade them for other used books.
2. Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge
In 1903, Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge was designated a natural preserve – the first of its kind in the country.
Since then, the refuge’s land has remained pristine and is home to a variety of natural environments; it’s one of the Florida coast’s most important and active bird rookeries and sea turtle nurseries.
Don’t expect to find coffee shops and speedboat rentals, but for those interested in communing with Mother Nature, there are ample trails and an observation tower overlooking the land and surrounding water.
The refuge is an easy drive from Sebastian and is located on an island in the Indian River.
3. Captain Hiram’s Resort
Of all Sebastian’s attractions, none encompasses such a variety of activity options in one place like Captain Hiram’s Resort.
From guided boat tours and lodging to dining and special events, Captain Hiram’s is a place where many guests choose to spend a good chunk of their time when in the area.
Eco-tours depart from the marina daily and lead guests on amazing cruises along the Indian and Sebastian Rivers, rain or shine.
The resort’s restaurant is known for its fresh seafood, cold drinks, and live entertainment. For visitors who’d like to stay a night or two, there’s a hotel that offers non-smoking rooms and suites.
4. Sandridge Golf Club
Sandridge Golf Club is a public facility owned and operated by Indian River County. It features two 18-hole courses that opened between the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.
Both courses wind through a variety of natural landscapes and feature challenging and scenic holes; many of them have dramatic changes in elevation, which is uncommon in such a flat state.
Sandridge Golf Club has continually been rated one of the state’s best values by national golf magazines, and due to its popularity, it’s advisable to book your tee time well in advance of your visit.
5. Sebastian Inlet State Park
Sebastian Inlet State Park is one of the most visited state parks in Florida, and with so much to see and do, it’s no wonder.
With ample coast along both the Atlantic Ocean and Indian River, it is a hotspot for surf-fishermen, surfers, and those just looking to stretch their legs and take in the natural splendor.
There’s a museum onsite that details the area’s history which dates back nearly three centuries, and many previous guests have noted that to take advantage of all the park has to offer, you’d really need to dedicate a few full days.
6. Turkey Creek Sanctuary
Located on Port Malabar Boulevard NE in nearby Palm Bay, Turkey Creek Sanctuary is comprised of more than 100 acres. It is characterized by old stands of oaks and palmettos and the scenic dunes that provide as picturesque a backdrop as you’re likely to find anywhere.
The sanctuary’s amenities include walking and biking trails, nature and visitor’s centers, and a boardwalk that stretches for three-quarters of a mile.
The cost of admission is relatively inexpensive.
7. The Downtown Fort Pierce Farmers Market
The Downtown Fort Pierce Farmers Market is held every Saturday from 8 AM until noon and is not affected by inclement weather.
Taking place on Melody Lane along the city’s scenic waterfront, the market contains a wide assortment of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables and a variety of prepared food and non-food items as well.
The market sports nearly 70 vendors who are almost all local farmers, entrepreneurs, and craftspeople, which means more of the money you spend will stay in the area and not go into the coffers of a national company headquartered thousands of miles away.
8. Grapefruit Trail
The Grapefruit Trail on Babcock Street NE in nearby Palm Bay is a regional hotspot for mountain bikers, who find the flat, paved trails in most parks a bit on the dull side.
Consisting of nearly three miles of dirt tracks with jumps, switchbacks, and changes in elevation, the trail isn’t a good fit for the very young, elderly or physically unfit. But for those with a suitable bike and an appetite for adrenaline, it’s the perfect place to spend a few hours tearing it up.
The trails are well marked, and all riders must wear helmets at all times.
9. Ted Moorhead Lagoon House
Located along U.S. Route 1 in nearby Palm Bay, the Ted Moorhead Lagoon House is owned by the city and is one of the first stops along the Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway, one of the state’s most natural stretches of coastland.
The Lagoon House offers guests interesting insights into the area’s history and environment, and the onsite education center is full of fascinating exhibits that include photographs, old maps, and first-hand accounts of those who settled the area in centuries past.
For those planning on traveling the byway, there’s a large map that shows starting and stopping points and not-to-be-missed highlights you’ll want to see along the way.
10. Manatee Observation and Education Center
Manatees are large, herbivorous marine mammals that call Florida’s shallow coastal waters home.
Often referred to as sea cows, in the winter months when the water temperature drops, they congregate around warm water discharges at the state’s power generation facilities.
Located on North Indian River Drive at the Henry King Power Plant in Fort Pierce, the viewing area and education center is full of interactive exhibits. During the winter months especially, it offers visitors a rare opportunity to get a good look at these amazing animals.
The manatees are best viewed from the covered walkways and the dedicated observation tower.
11. Heathcote Botanical Gardens
With such an abundance of sun, warm weather and rain, it’s no wonder that Florida is home to amazing botanical gardens. For lovers of all things natural and beautiful, the Heathcote Botanical Gardens on Savannah Road in Fort Pierce is the perfect place to spend a few hours.
The gardens have been around for more than three decades and are particularly well-known for being home to the country’s largest public bonsai garden that features many Japanese-themed elements.
Other popular areas include fish ponds and herb and rainforest gardens. Unlike many similar facilities, dogs are welcome as long as they’re kept on leashes and cleaned up after.
12. St. Lucie County Aquarium
The St. Lucie County Aquarium in Fort Pierce is chockfull of professionally created environments mimicking those found along the Florida coast.
The marine and coastal ecosystems which the state is known for foster a huge variety of life; for those who don’t have time to see them all on their own, there’s no better place to get a crash course in Florida’s ecology than the St. Lucie County Aquarium.
The aquarium’s estuarine and coral reef exhibits are among their most popular, and the daily feeding tours are big hits too.
For the most thorough behind the scenes look at how the animals are cared for, consider signing up for the guided tours that take place.
13. Navy UDT-SEAL Museum
Fort Pierce’s Navy UDT-SEAL Museum is a must-visit attraction for military history buffs and those fascinated by elite forces who often carry out their missions in total secrecy.
The museum has been open since 1985 and features one of the country’s most impressive collections of equipment and memorabilia related to SEALs and the Underwater Demolition Teams; units that played significant roles in nearly all of the country’s conflicts since before World War II.
The memorial to fallen SEALs and frogmen is the museum’s most poignant attraction, and each year there’s a popular Veteran’s Day event that draws quite a crowd.
14. Al’s Family Farms Citrus
For more than four decades, Al’s Family Farms Citrus has been owned and operated by a local family. In addition to their traditional farming role, they’ve added several activity options that make it the popular destination it is today.
They are known for their high-quality local citrus which is grown along the nearby Indian River. For those who’d like to pick their own fruit or get a look into how fruit is processed after it’s been picked, there are some tours of the company’s packing and bottling operations.
There’s a popular restaurant onsite known for its tasty Mexican and American food options, and they host a variety of special events throughout the year as well.
15. Sunrise Theatre
Located inside a renovated historic theater that was originally built in the ‘20s, Fort Pierce’s Sunrise Theatre is one of the area’s cultural icons and is known for providing guests access to high-quality productions at a reasonable cost.
From standup comedy and reggae to dramatic performances and jazz, the theatre features an ever-changing schedule of events to tempt even the most finicky theatre-types. Over the years, the venue has hosted internationally known performers like Willie Nelson and Diana Ross.
The theatre reminds customers to buy tickets from their website or at the box office only, to avoid being sold overpriced and unlicensed tickets from scammers.