Excitement, history, and remarkable natural beauty combine to make the community of Sebastian a favorite destination of visitors from around the state of Florida...and from all over the world.
The Town of Sebastian was established in 1882 and named St. Sebastian for the nearby river of the same name. Some time later, the "St." prefix was dropped from the names of both the river and the city. Riverfront redevelopment efforts, including a 2 mile river-walk, are underway to recreate the attraction of Sebastian as a nineteenth century fishing and agricultural settlement. It is intended to heighten awareness of the rivers, marshes and ocean that are so appealing to residents and visiting fishermen.
Tourism to the Sebastian River Area is substantial for a variety of reasons. Imagine seeing a bald eagle fly from its nest perched at the top of a tall pine tree; a loggerhead turtle coming ashore at night to lay her eggs; a manatee and her calf playing in the seagrass of the Indian River Lagoon. One of the most beautiful nature walks is right here, the boardwalk trail through the Environmental Learning Center. It is no wonder that the natural pristine beauty of the area is one of the principal reasons that Disney chose to build its vacation resort in this area.
There is also a strong attraction to those whose cravings for excitement run to the extreme. Skydivers from around the world choose Sebastian as one of the best skydiving sites anywhere, with an unbeatable combination of sun, sand, and surf as their backdrop. The area is also noted for some of the best surfing and fishing in the nation.
Route 512, from Interstate 95 to Sebastian, passes through cattle ranches, citrus groves and some of the area's light industry, giving the motorist a flavor of the diversity that is the Sebastian River Area. This major artery continues east across the Indian River to Disney's Vero Beach Resort.
The Sebastian Inlet State Park has made tourism a substantial part of the city's economic base. It has been said that the popular fishing jetties have made the state park the busiest in the state. The waves at the inlet have made it a world-famous surfing spot.
History meets paradise in the north east section of Indian River County. The Atlantic Ocean rolls relentlessly against the sandy beaches on a barrier island less than one mile wide. West of the barrier island is the environmentally significant Indian River Lagoon. A three-acre, natural mangrove island in the lagoon, Pelican Island, became the nation's first National Wildlife Refuge in 1903. On the West Bank of the Indian River is the mainland of Florida.
Sebastian is a welcome alternative to the high-profile theme park atmosphere elsewhere in Florida. The area's remarkably pristine beauty make it a frequent vacation destination choice of residents from the larger Florida cities and an escape from their sometimes hectic pace.
The McLarty Treasure Museum on the Barrier Island presents visitors with a spirit of the culture that existed in the early 1700's when the Spanish fleet was shipwrecked during a hurricane. A visit to Mel Fisher's Treasure Museum provides a more hands-on, modern day experience in under sea archeology.
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