Sebastian Inlet State Park

Sebastian Inlet State Park is located just ten miles South of Melbourne Beach and is the second most visited state park in Florida.

Sebastian Inlet State Park is located just ten miles South of Melbourne Beach and is the second most visited state park in Florida (wikipedia). We spent half a day exploring the ten mile drive down to Sebastian and the park itself.

The majority of the drive was through beautiful water-front neighborhoods and was along the famous Florida Birding Trail. Our first stop was the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Information Center, where they had a lot of free and informative interactive material about sea turtles. It also detailed the conservation efforts undertaken at the refuge specifically, and in Florida more generally. For example, proceeds from the sales of these license plates go to fund sea turtle research and conservation efforts around the state.

20171117_115017

There were several hiking trailheads along the side of the road during our drive. We stopped at one of them, but due to the recent hurricane, much of the trail was flooded and covered in plant debris. We didn’t make it very far before we were forced to turn around and go back to the car.

20171117_120354
Many “nature walks” in Florida are built on raised walkways like this one.

After our failed hike, we reached the main attraction, Sebastian Inlet State Park. It is a fairly large park, with sections on both sides of the inlet that connects the ocean and the river. There is an entrance fee, but it’s only $8 for the day. The park also showed signs of hurricane damage, with some fallen trees left uncleared and dark waters that are usually crystal clear.

Even a short walk through the park allowed us views of more flora and fauna than we had seen during the entire rest of our trip. We saw several species of birds, including a rare sighting of Wood Storks, along with several sea turtles, fish, a huge land crab, skinks, hermit crabs, and a few types of butterflies. Our favorite was the land crab; we chased it for a while, trying to capture a photo of it’s bright ruby coloring before it could disappear back into the water.

 

Josh and I spent a decent amount of time crabbing when we lived in Oregon. Despite our lack of actual spoils, we consider ourselves quite the seamen. Therefore, it was with confidence that we walked out onto the park’s crowded fishing piers. These docks were huge, jutting out much farther into the ocean than what we were used to. Not only that, but the fishermen on these piers were serious, not the laid-back Oregonians we usually met. These guys were cut-throat, and had more gear than our usual net, bucket, chair, book, and beer. And it appears that was for the best, because they were actually catching fish!

We watched three different large fish get lifted out of the water during our ten minute venture onto the pier. They looked to be at least two to three feet long. One fisherman told us that the fish we watched him haul up was limited to one per fisherman.

20171117_153430

Once the fish smell hit my nose, I had an immediate craving for fish. Thankfully, there is a large gift and snack shop in the park that provides decently priced food. It had all the expected park food, with the added treat of fresh seafood, most of it grilled or fried. Unable to resist (not that we really tried), we ordered a couple baskets of clam strips and ate them on the shaded patio overlooking the ocean.

I really enjoyed our trip to Sebastian and look forward to coming back next year once the area has had a little more time to recover from the hurricane. There’s some calm water off the inlet that looks like an amazing place to do some of my favorite “paddle birding”, and we may even bring some poles and try to reel in some of those delicious ocean fish.

Vacation Rental – Melbourne, Florida

Review of a vacation rental in Melbourne, Florida.

Obnoxiously Long Note: If you read my “I’m a Travel Blogger” post, you know that I spent the early part of this week boosting my “exposure” in the social media marketing world. I contacted a few vacation rental owners in the area and asked to tour their properties to feature on my blog. I had a great time and learned a lot. Today’s post and my next one are practice posts. Today’s post is about my favorite condo I visited and the next post is the food tour I would suggest if you were staying at said condo (or anywhere in the Melbourne area, really). 

I call it a practice because we did not actually stay at the featured condo. I would have loved to, but we already have a place here in town and I was too afraid to ask for a comped room for my very first feature. So, all of the pictures and opinions are my own, I was not paid nor rewarded, but my experiences are based soley off of a short walk-through and chat with the owner.


If I weren’t already staying at Mom’s, I would be staying at Tammy’s condo here in Melbourne, Florida.

e38

Location

This whole area of Florida is just lovely and full of opportunities, so my map radius was quite large. I included the whole town of Indialantic, which is an island snuggled between the river and the ocean, and the southern portion of Melbourne, where there is a lively Old Town area. This condo in Melbourne perfectly placed. Old Town is just a few blocks away, within easy walking distance. There is a fancy pier just a short walk the opposite direction, allowing access to the water. And the causeway into Indialantic is nearby, so that a beach trip is merely a five minute drive away.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The only side of the complex that is less-than-perfect faces a busy street that is decently loud. I was nervous about this as we approached the apartment, but was very pleased to find that the road sounds did not follow me into the condo or down to the relaxing park and pier.

Room Type

The prices are low enough in this part of Florida that I felt pretty comfortable limiting my search to Entire Home. This particular rental is a large, one bedroom condo with a large bathroom, living room, dining area, and patio that faces the pier.

Amenities

The condo had all of the amenities I require including WiFi, washing machine, dish washer, and television. It had a couple of fun perks, too, including an updated kitchen with nice appliances, a walk in closet, a nicely decorated living area, and an amazing view.

Another amenity I always wish for, but can’t be sure I’ll get until I arrive, is a nice apartment host. The best vacation rentals I have stayed at were ones where I was greeted personally by the host, taken on a quick tour of the property, and given suggestions on nearby restaurants, shops, and activities (in Barcelona, our host sent us to a restaurant off the beaten path that was hands-down one of our favorite stops). I had the pleasure of meeting our host in person during this visit. Tammy was very approachable, friendly, and knowledgeable about the area. She gave us a rundown on the nearby attractions, local lifestyle, and let us know about some of her other amazing properties (including a large home near the Kentucky Derby *dream trip!*).

Price

The property we toured was a brand new one that hasn’t even been listed yet (that’s right, I’m VIP now). However, she did say that she was planning on setting the price at $100 or less per night. Her other condos in the same building were going for about $80 and although the fixtures were slightly more dated, the views from the higher floors were stunning. 3-Star hotels in the same map radius are going for $120 to $200 per night.

Overall, I was very pleased with the condo we toured, and would not hesitate to stay here if we were booking a trip to the Melbourne area. If you are planning such a trip, I suggest you click the link to Tammy’s profile and give one of her properties a try!