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Sebastian Inlet State Park Beaches

Snorkeling Sebastian Inlet

My first visit to Sebastian Inlet was colored by a long-held reverence for its reputation as the most famous surfing spot in Florida. The day I arrived--a scorching and humid July day--there was a very small swell in the water, pounding heavily on the steep brown-sand beach. This beautiful park far exceeded my expectations.

We had driven down from Indiatlantic on A1A, a mostly two-lane road that carried us through upscale gated retirement communities built near the coast. Elegant landscaping, gates and guard-houses, and glimpses of million-dollar retirement homes was all we could see for mile after mile. Here and there a public beach access was marked by a small sign and a few parking spaces. Traffic was very light between Melbourne and Sebastian.

Sebastian Inlet State Park extends to both the north and south sides of the Inlet. A tall bridge with a catwalk for fishermen spans the inlet. There is a campground on the south side of the inlet. Jetties protect both sides of the inlet, but the main one is on the north side.

The park offers an undeveloped beach with nature trails, top notch waves for surfing, clean and relatively clear water, a brown sand beach that slopes rather steeply near the water, a snack bar and restrooms, picnic tables (some with shade), excellent fishing from the jetty and from the catwalk under the bridge, great snorkeling, and a protected shallow-water swimming area for kids and adults.

Sebastian Inlet is about halfway between Indiatlantic and Vero Beach on Florida's Atlantic Coast. It's on a long barrier island with the Atlantic on the east side, and the Indian River on the west side. You will not find any major hotels near the park, but closer to either Indiatlantic or Vero Beach you may find rental condos and some smaller beach motel-type rentals. Indiatlantic, Melbourne Beach, and Vero Beach all have major hotels, but they are not cheap, even in the off-season. We were not particularly pleased with where we stayed, so I won't make a recommendation right now. I will make this suggestion: If you are going to be in the area for a week, find a nice oceanfront rental condominium. If you'll just be staying a few days, or if you prefer a hotel in one of the beach cities, plan to spend at least $170 to $200 per night to get a beachfront room. We stayed in an $89 room across the street from Indiatlantic Beach and were not at all happy with the room, but didn't want to fork over $170 for a few hours sleep at the Hilton on the beach right across the street. Another option, if you don't feel you have to stay right on the beach, is to find a hotel or bed & breakfast in the town of Sebastian, just across the Indian River, or get a room at the Marriott near I-95.

Above: Sebastian Inlet State Park has a beautiful beach enjoyed by many.


Above: The steepness of the beach indicates the height and power of the surf, though it is nearly calm on this day.


Above: The north jetty at Sebastian Inlet is an excellent platform for fishing and enjoying the view.


Above: Shell fragments take on a high polish from the constant pounding of the surf.


Above: A small swell is breaking almost directly on the beach. This is a classic summer day in Florida.


Above: Sebastian Inlet is an excellent fishing spot.


Above: A shallow lagoon is available for those who want to avoid the powerful surf of the Atlantic Beach.