Parks are now
toll free, at
SEBASTIAN INLET STATE PARK
Every year over one-half million people enjoy Sebastian Inlet State Park. The beautiful park, situated on the tips of two barrier islands, is
surrounded by gorgeous water. The Atlantic Ocean is on the east, the Indian
River Lagoon to the west and the Sebastian Inlet flows between the two.
In 1971 the State of Florida acquired the land for a park. It is a favorite
spot for picnicking, swimming, surfing, fishing, shrimping, clamming, crabbing,
boating, snorkeling, scuba diving, bird watching, camping and enjoying nature.
Sebastian Inlet S.R.A. has something for everybody.
Three miles of Atlantic beach offer some of the best surfing on the east
coast of Florida. One of the most consistent surf breaks in Florida is Sebastian
Inlets 1st peak, located next to the north jetty. Another hot surf
spot is Monster Hole, when the surf is big. Monster Hole is located about
1/3 mile off the beach, on the south side of Sebastian Inlet. The contour
of the ocean floor rises up and when the surf is big, the waves form long
lines, giving a long ride.
Sebastian Inlet and the surrounding
waters provide fantastic Florida fishing for beach, river and inlet anglers.
Large catches are often made from the two jetties extending into the Atlantic
Ocean. Boat launch facilities provide access to nearby offshore fishing
and diving. Information on fishing regulations and salt water fishing licenses
is available at both entrance stations. Spearfishing is prohibited.
The central location of Sebastian Inlets
campground makes it a popular camping spot. It is a mere stones throw
from the inlet and a short stroll from the beach. All 51 campsites have
water and electrical hook-ups, a fire ring with grill and a picnic table.
Also available are full restroom facilities, a dump station, laundry facilities
and pay phones. Reservations are offered up to 11 months in advance. Camper
registration is from 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.. For camping information
and reservations call 1-800-326-3521 or stop by the camping registration
office located on the south side of the Sebastian Inlet.
The history of the Sebastian Inlet
area goes back to the end of the last ice age. The barrier islands were
formed as sandbars off the coast of the mainland. As vegetation took hold
on the sandbars, animals moved in, followed by the first human inhabitants,
the Paleo hunters.
The Ais Indians were more recent
inhabitants of the barrier islands. They were a tribe of hunters and gatherers
who lived off the bounty of the land and sea. The Ais captured the English
Quaker Jonathan Dickinson after his ship wrecked in 1696. Dickinsons
descriptions of the Ais and their lifestyles is the best record we have
of these people. By 1760, all of the Ais Indians were gone. Like the other
natives of Florida, they succumbed to European diseases and mistreatment.
In 1715 eleven Spanish treasure galleons sank along the east central Florida
coast. One of the survivors campsites was located on the present day
site of the McLarty Treasure Museum. Seven hundred people lost their lives
in this disaster, while over 1,000 people survived. For four years, the
Spanish sent divers from St.Augustine and Cuba to work the wreck sites.
While the Spanish were busy recovering the treasure from the ocean floor,
an English pirate, Henry Jennings, and his 300 men surrounded the Spanish
and stole what treasure they had recovered at the time. This plan worked
so well that he returned two months later and stole the treasure again.
The Spanish eventually recovered 100% of the value of the registered treasure.
It is estimated that the value of smuggled treasure equaled the registered
McLarty Treasure Museum
In 1886, the first inlet (Gibsons
cut) was dug by hand approximately 3 miles south of the present day inlet,
at a spot where the ocean frequently washed over the dunes. This inlet was
quickly closed by a storm and the shifting sands.
/ Sterling Photo
The next attempt to open an inlet
was organized by fishermen wanting quick access to the ocean. The Florida
Legislature created the Sebastian Inlet Tax District in 1918. In 1924, the
Sebastian Inlet was opened at its current location and small jetties were
completed. Between 1924 and 1941 the Inlet opened and closed several times
due to the shifting sands caused by storms. For safety reasons, it was left
closed during World War II, then permanently blasted open in 1947. The 1,548
foot long bridge over the Inlet was completed in 1965 at a cost of $745,000.
The park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Entrance fees are $3.25
per vehicle. Yearly passes are also available. Most facilities are wheelchair
accessible. For additional information and people who have special needs,
please contact the ranger station at (321) 984-4852.
Sebastian Inlet S.R.A. is located off Highway A1A, between Melbourne and Vero Beach, on the Brevard/Indian River county line.
For more information:
SEBASTIAN INLET STATE PARK
9700 South A1A
Melbourne Beach, FL 32951