The Space Coast has a split personality. On one hand everything seems too new. They’re building new things everywhere. New developments with new houses, new roads, new businesses, and new attractions. On the other, there’s this long rich historical current that runs hundreds of years through the south of the Space Coast.
When my out-of-state friends talk about the Space Coast it’s as though the area didn’t really exist before the moon-shot era. One day there are dense tropical jungles. The next day NASA pops up. On the third day, Walt Disney World. The fourth day, tourists.
The Space Coast is different from east to west and north to south. Near the north end of the Space Coast is where high-tech NASA, SpaceX, United Launch Alliance and Blue Origin reside. At the south end is quiet Sebastian Inlet, where the newest things in tech are new GPS fish finding gizmos.
The Sebastian Inlet has a long, interesting natural and political history [click on the link; it's worth a read] that reaches back to 1872 with seven attempts over 50 years to cut an inlet to the sea and give boat access from the city of Sebastian across the Indian River Lagoon to the Atlantic Ocean. Travel was tough back then with no Uber.
Quick note: Sebastian vs Sebastian Inlet
On a recent trip on the Space Coast I thought, “Why don’t we check out Mel Fisher's Treasure Museum or have lunch at Captain Hiram’s in Sebastian and then we’ll breeze over to Sebastian Inlet for the afternoon?” Heck, on TripAdvisor they both show up on the “Things to Do near Sebastian Inlet State Park.”
I’m thinking, “How far could they be apart?” You can see Sebastian Inlet across the Indian River Lagoon as you sip your IPA from a table at Captain Hiram's. Don’t be fooled. To get to Sebastian Inlet from there, it’s about a 30-minute drive. And the city of Sebastian is in a whole different county [they call it the Treasure Coast].
Happily, there are plenty of places for lunch up and down A1A along the Space Coast, so be sure to add the word ‘Inlet’ to your ‘Sebastian’ Google map search.
A Day Trip to Sebastian Inlet
The Sebastian Inlet straddles Brevard and Indian River County. The park’s entrance, as well as the infamous wave is on the north side of the county line on Florida’s Space Coast.
Here are a few ideas for a day trip to the Sebastian Inlet area:
A Florida State Park with beach walking, swimming, fishing, and surfing. There's also a campground available for overnight accommodations.
As a part of Sebastian Inlet State Park, the museum features exhibits, artifacts, and displays about the 1715 Spanish treasure fleet.
This museum exhibits the history of the Indian River Lagoon fishing industry and showcases pictures, video presentations, fishing gear, and replicas of a commercial fish house and dock.
It’s 3-miles north of the Sebastian Inlet and 14 miles south of US-192 in Melbourne. This refuge hosts a quarter of all loggerhead and a third of all green sea turtles in the U.S.
This 34-acre sanctuary/education center provides an observation deck, boardwalk and overlook with great views of the Atlantic Ocean, and a 1-mile hiking trail. Inside the Sanctuary are aquariums, interactive exhibits, and eco-themed movies in the theater. Admission is always free.
Fishing at Sebastian Inlet
If you’re an avid fisherperson (please excuse my attempt at modern lingo] and have the gear, fishing at the Sebastian Inlet north jetty or nearshore waters for red fish, snapper and grouper will be familiar. Here’s a link to a Sport Fishing magazine story.
Beer and food near the Sebastian Inlet
After an exhausting day of touring the Sebastian Inlet, fishing, sightseeing, shell collecting and/or surfing, you’ll want lunch and a drink. About 20 minutes away is the little business district of Melbourne Beach, where you’ll find Djon's Steak and Lobster House [very nice bar], Ocean 302 Bar & Grill [craft beers and burgers], and Sand on the Beach [beachside view].
Headed north to Cocoa Beach.