Our Florida journey took us to the the east coast and the wonderful crashing waves of the Atlantic ocean. This trip we are visiting the cities of Sebastian and Melbourne Beach for a couple of days of intriguing discovery.
Sebastian Inlet State Park
This is where our adventure in discovery begins, a State Park on the scenic Atlantic coast line highway A1A. Of course like any of Florida’s State park, you can picnic and have a great day of outside fun in the sun but at Sebastian Inlet State Park, your fun in the sun can include playing in the surf, swimming in a calm lagoon, fishing for the big catch or combing the beach for pieces of eight.
Situated with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Intercoastal Waterway on the other, this park is a dream for swimmers, fishermen and surfers alike. Families with small children can enjoy a peaceful picnic by a calm lagoon on the Intercoastal side, where young children can swim and play without the fear of the Atlantic’s angry waves and away from the force of the current coming out of the jetty. This lagoon area is also a great spot for viewing birds and manatees that are often sighted in the jetty and in the area near this lagoon.
We knew that the area was known for having some great spots to cast a fishing line but we had no idea of the important role that fishing played in the history of the area. The Sebastian area was founded on fishing and the fishing camps of the early 20th century. The fishing here must still be pretty darn good because there were sure a lot of people out enjoying a beautiful day of it. Sebastian Inlet State Park really is set up nicely for people who enjoy trying for the big catch, with a pier out over the Atlantic and fishing platforms constructed under the bridge.
Just about anywhere there is water in this state park is probably a great spot to fish. Another great amenity that this state park provides for fishermen, is fish cleaning stations, where one can leave the mess of cleaning the catch of the day at the state park and bring home a cleaned and ready to cook fish. From the looks of things the birds like this amenity too.
Fishing was such an important way of life for the area’s early settlers, and continues to be a very popular pass time here at Sebastian Inlet, so much so that the park has a fishing museum dedicated to preserving the history of the areas fishing heritage. In the museum are early handmade nets, boats and gear along with old photos of fish camp life back in the early days of Sebastian. The museum also features a replica of an original fish house. Entrance to the museum is included with your park entry fee.
We already knew that this area was known to be a magnet for surfers, but what we discovered was that some of the biggest names in surfing perfected their skills in the swells and turbulent currents right here at Sebastian Inlet. Surfers flock to the stretch of beach just north of the inlet’s jetty, as the waves are magnified by the current of the jetty and the sandbar just off shore, further amplifies the waves. This area is no place for the beginner or novice surfer.
51 campsites, equipped with power, water, fire ring and a picnic table are available but because of the activities available here, they book up months in advance. There are no sewer hookups at the campsites, however a dump station is provided. Restrooms, shower facilities and laundry facilities are centrally located within the camp. The campground is on the intercoastal side of the park adjacent to the inlet and a boat ramps is located nearby. Book your reservations early at Sebastian Inlet Campgrounds.
We have heard the advertisements in where this part of the state of Florida coined itself with the name of “The Treasure Coast”, but really we just thought that was an advertising gimmick, used to pull tourist away from the more popular vacation destinations around the state. Little did we know that they have been pulling millions and millions of dollars worth of treasure off the beaches and just off the coast here for over sixty years.
In 1715, 10 Spanish galleons bringing riches and jewels back to the King and Queen of Spain, went down in a hurricane, near shore here and the treasures having been washing ashore ever since. People come in droves here after a major storm, hoping to find gold, silver and the jewels that went down with the ships on that fateful day.
Located at the Sebastian Inlet State Park is the McLarty Treasure Museum, a museum located on the actual spot where the survivors of those galleons came ashore and camped. In the museum are actual artifacts and treasures that have been found in the area. Salvagers still work today as there are still many jewels, coins and artifacts left out there to be found.
Fishing, swimming and treasure hunting can sure leave one with an appetite so pack a lunch and enjoy a picnic at one of the many picnic areas provided or visit the Surfside Grill and have lunch on a deck with a view.
Sebastian Inlet State Park is located at 9700 South State Road A1A Melbourne Beach, entrance to the park is $8.00 per car load and includes admittance to the Fishing Museum. Entrance to the Mclarty Treasure Museum is an additional charge of $2.00 per person.
Mel Fisher’s Treasures Museum
Mel Fisher was known as the worlds greatest treasure hunter and today his family still carries on with his treasure hunting legacy. His most famous phrase was “today’s the day” referring to his hunt for sunken treasure and that everyday could be the day for the big discovery.
You can view some of the treasures and artifacts that Mel and his crew discovered from the 1715 fleet that went down off the coast of Sebastian at Mel Fisher’s Museum located appropriately in Sebastian. In addition, you can also view treasures and artifacts from his most famous salvage, the discovery of the Atocha, a shipwreck off the coast of Key West, that alluded him for 16 years, until the day really was the day, on July 20th, 1985.
Mel Fisher’s Treasure Museum is located at 1322 U.S. Hwy. 1 Sebastian. Admission to the museum is $7.00 for adults and $3.00 for children ages 3 thru 12. There is a $2.00 discount for seniors, students and military personel.
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