Explore Nature

Natural resources have been so carefully protected in Vero Beach, Fellsmere and Sebastian that our extensive park system and special ecological wonders delight both young and old. With “water, water everywhere” and 26 miles of pristine ocean beaches, Indian River County is an eco-tourist’s dream. Kayaking and canoeing through protected preserves offer a uniquely serene experience. Spend a day fishing in the river or ocean. Explore a different park every day of the month. The opportunities are boundless. The Indian River Lagoon is the most environmentally diverse estuary in North America. Exploring by kayak or canoe allows up-close views of the magnificent wildlife. The Sebastian River is another favored destination, with miles of lush jungle waterways.

Trip Ideas

  • Vero Intro

    Vero Beach Sunrises Not High Rises

    This article appeared in the Palm Beach Post on May 15, 2017 Vero Beach When looking for a beach escape, I want to see the sea, not towering condos and...

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  • Beautiful blue waters along the ocean at the Sebastian Inlet on Melbourne Beach, Florida.

    Vero Beach: Where the Wild Things Are

    This article appeared on Flamingomag.com on June 1, 2017 [caption id="attachment_8610" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Beautiful blue waters along the ocean at the Sebastian Inlet [/caption] “Are you ready? Because it’s too late...

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  • Beach Holiday and More: Top 10 Things to Do During the summer in the Vero Beach area

    Beach Holiday and More: Top 10 Things to Do During the summer in the Vero Beach area

    1. Take a Sea Turtle Nesting Tour With the sea turtle nesting season lasting from March 1 until Oct. 31, summer is a great time to watch them nest and...

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Natural resources have been so carefully protected in Vero Beach, Fellsmere and Sebastian that our extensive park system and special ecological wonders delight both young and old. With “water, water everywhere” and 26 miles of pristine ocean beaches, Indian River County is an eco-tourist's dream. Kayaking and canoeing through protected preserves offer a uniquely serene experience. Spend a day fishing in the river or ocean. Explore a different park every day of the month. The opportunities are boundless. The Indian River Lagoon is the most environmentally diverse estuary in North America. Exploring by kayak or canoe allows up-close views of the magnificent wildlife. The Sebastian River is another favored destination, with miles of lush jungle waterways.

Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge

This 248-acre refuge spans 20.5 miles and is designated to protect the habitat for what is the most significant area for loggerhead sea turtle nesting in the Western Hemisphere, and the most significant area for green turtle nesting in North America. Nesting tours are offered in June and July only. Reservations are required.
 8385 S. Hwy A1A , Melbourne Beach , FL32951

Blue Cypress Lake

This magnificent lake is approximately seven miles long and three miles wide with 21miles of shoreline surrounded by 29,000 acres of marshes, swamps and cypress forests. It’s a place of complete surrender to Mother Nature as blue skies give way to blue-hued water which some say occur because of the reflection of the Blue Cypress trees on the lake as the morning sun rises into the sky. The lake is also a top Osprey nesting site reporting over 200 nests along the shoreline. Kayaking and canoeing up close to see Osprey nests in the wild and to marvel at the 130-foot tall cypress trees make this worth a trip. But when you can also spot American Alligators, bald eagles, and fish including largemouth bass crappie, bluegill, catfish, chain pickerel and more; Blue Cypress Lake becomes an outdoor Shangri-La. Middleton’s Fish Camp is the only one of its kind on the lake and they are happy to provide eco-tours and fishing.
 7400 Blue Cypress Lake Rd , Vero Beach , FL32966

Capt. Bob’s Airboat Adventure Tours, Inc.

 Blue Cypress Recreation Area CR 512 , Vero Beach , FL

Captain Forster Hammock Preserve

The Preserve contains maritime hammock, coastal strand and wetland plant communities. It borders Jungle Trail, a State designated greenway and a byway of the Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Highway. The Preserve contains one of the largest remaining coastal maritime hammocks on Orchid Island. The site was home to Captain Frank Forster, one of the first Orchid Island residents who homesteaded on the barrier island growing winter vegetables and fishing along the Indian River Lagoon.
 8610 Jungle Trail , Vero Beach , FL32963

Dale Wimbrow Park

The park lies along the Sebastian River and includes a large playground with new equipment, picnic pavilions, restrooms, boat launch, fitness trail, paved parking, fishing access and BBQ grills.
 11805 Roseland Rd , Sebastian , FL32958

Environmental Learning Center

Vero Beach is an investigative, hands-on learning experience for adults and children alike. This non-profit sits on 61-acres on Wabasso Island offering eco-excursions, pontoon styled birding trips, wagon rides, canoe trips, touch tanks and more. The center offers a plethora of classes, special events, summer camps and school field trips.
 255 Live Oak Dr , Vero Beach , FL

Fort Drum Marsh Conservation Area

Activities include hiking, picnicking, horseback riding, fishing, bicycling, primitive camping at designated sites, wildlife viewing, canoeing, environmental education and seasonal hunting. A boardwalk provides an opportunity to hike through a hardwood swamp to reach Hog Island for trails and primitive camping. The diverse habitats support Florida sandhill cranes, wood storks, caracara, bald eagles, deer, turkey and a large population of feral hogs.
 In the southwest corner of Indian River County between State Road (SR) 60 and the Florida Turnpike, approximately 20 miles west of Vero Beach.

Harbor Branch Ocean Discovery Center

The ODVC houses interactive exhibits, small aquaria, a video theater and other displays exploring the marine environment and depicting the research efforts of the Institute.
 5600 N. US Hwy 1 , Ft. Pierce , FL

Indian River Land Trust

Dedicated to conservation and preservation of land and water in Indian River County. Visit their website for a complete list of conservation tours.

Jungle Trail

The Historic Jungle trail winds for nearly 8 miles along a sandy road through the hammock habitat of Florida's barrier islands north of Vero Beach. The trail—really a road—is on the National Register of Historic Places and was built in the 1920s so that citrus growers could haul their produce up and down the barrier island. Although cars do drive along the road, it's mostly used by cyclists, walkers and joggers. The road is sandy but mostly hard packed and easy going for wide-tire bicycles.
 Off of CR 510 , Wabasso , FL

McKee Botanical Garden

Prior to the development of I-95 in the 70's, McKee was the largest natural attraction in Florida. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, McKee Botanical Garden is an 18-acre tropical garden supporting a dense and diverse botanical collection as well as several restored architectural treasures. Over 100 varieties of water lilies grow in the Garden each year!
 350 US Hwy 1 , Vero Beach , FL32962

McLarty Treasure Museum

On display are coins, weapons, and tools salvaged from the fleet of Spanish treasure ships that sank here in the 1715 storm, leaving some 1,500 survivors struggling to shore between Sebastian and Fort Pierce. The museum sits on the site of the survivors' camp.
 13180 N. Hwy A1A , Vero Beach , FL32963

Mel Fisher Museum

Visit the Mel Fisher Treasure Museum and dive into history. The experience is both educational and exciting - you can even lift an authentic Atocha gold bar! Join the millions who have witnessed this spectacular collection of cultural artifacts and treasure recovered from the ocean depths.
 1322 US Hwy 1 , Sebastian , FL32958

North Sebastian Conservation Area

The North Sebastian Conservation Area (NSCA) contains 407 acres of many different habitats. The conservation area is located west of US Highway 1, north of Main Street (in Sebastian) and south of Roseland Road. The conservation area is bounded on the western perimeter by Sebastian Airport and the Sebastian Golf Course. The area is primarily xeric oak scrub, a globally and locally endangered habitat (FNAI). Other habitats include: Sand and Pine Scrub, Sand Pine Forest, Scrubby Flatwoods, Mesic Pine Flatwoods, Wet Flatwoods (osprey nesting area), Freshwater Marsh, Upland Hardwood Forest, Wetland Forested Mix, Shrub, Brushland, freshwater Ponds and Lakes.
 West of US Hwy 1, North of Main St and South of Roseland Rd in Sebastian , Sebastian , FL

Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area

Lush tropical hammocks, great birding, and a dash of history along the mangrove-edged waters of the Indian River Lagoon make Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area a diverse and interesting place to explore. Ferns and wild coffee grow to enormous sizes, bromeliads dangle like chandeliers in the forest canopy, and unusual fungi sprouts from rotting logs in the forest floor. Add trails and you have yourself an afternoon’s worth of adventure.
 Oslo Road, East of US Hwy 1 , Vero Beach , FL

Pelican Island Audubon Society

The birding resource for Indian River County.
 P.O. Box 1833 , Vero Beach , FL32961

Pelican Island National Wild Refuge

Pelican Island is listed as the first national wildlife refuge in the United States. Established by an executive order of President Theodore Roosevelt on March 14, 1903, it was created to protect egrets and other birds from extinction through plume hunting. The refuge consists of a 3-acre island that includes an additional 2.5 acres of surrounding water and is home to hundreds of species of animals including birds, fish, plants, and mammals. Guided and self-guided tours are available throughout the year.
 4055 Wildlife Way , Vero Beach , FL32963

Riverside Park Riverwalk

 3200 Riverside Park Dr , Vero Beach , FL32963

Round Island Park

  • parking
  • boardwalk
  • shower
  • restroom
  • picnic
  • lifeguard
  • playground
This park has access to both the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon. You're also almost guaranteed to see a manatee! There are trails, boardwalks and an observation tower. This is a favorite spot for locals and visitors to launch their kayaks or canoes. Amenities include ample parking, boat ramp & boat parking, childrens' playground and two picnic pavilions.
 2200 S. Hwy A1A , Vero Beach , FL32963

Sebastian Inlet State Park

Don't Miss the Turtle Walks in June-July! Reservations: Turtle Walk programs are presented during the months of June and July. Reservations for the month of June begin on May 15 from 10:30 AM to 3:30 PM. Reservations for the month of July begin on June 15 from 10:30 AM to 3:30 PM. Contact the Sebastian Fishing Museum 772.388.2750 for reservations. Turtle Walks at the Sebastian Fishing Museum are limited to 20 guests and are conducted Friday through Tuesday at the Sebastian Fishing Museum.
 9700 S. Hwy A1A , Melbourne Beach , FL32951

Sebastian Inlet State Park

  • parking
  • boardwalk
  • shower
  • restroom
  • picnic
  • lifeguard
  • playground
Sebastian Inlet State Park is a must have experience while visiting! The park provides fishing from both its Atlantic and Indian River shores; fishing jetties extend from both sides of the inlet into the ocean. Other activities include: swimming, enjoying the water views, world class surfing, camping, bird watching, boating and diving. Wildlife is abundant in the park, and the casual visitor can see ospreys and many species of shorebird. Sea turtles nest in the park, and visitors during the summer may make reservations for a nighttime tour to observe nesting turtles.
The park also contains two museums: McLarty Treasure Museum and Sebastian Fishing Museum.
 9700 S. Hwy A1A , Melbourne Beach , FL

St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

The preserve has 60 miles of trails equally split between Brevard and Indian River Counties. Most of our trails are very long and are more suited for horseback riding, mountain biking and extended hikes. The State Park protects the West Indian manatee, red-cockaded woodpecker and Florida scrub jay by providing upland buffer to the river and limiting development in the area. The preserve is a mosaic of open pine flatwoods, seasonal wetlands, hardwood swamp, sand pine scrub and scrubby flatwood communities.
 1000 Buffer Preserve Dr , Fellsmere , FL32948

The Lagoon Greenway

This exciting 187-acre property is located at the corner of 8th Street and Indian River Boulevard. It boasts an ecologically diverse three- mile trail system for hiking, jogging or bike riding. Even four legged creatures on leashes are welcome on the property (with careful clean-up by their two legged companions). Main Trail (under 1/2 mile) This wide trail begins at the trailhead-parking area and travels through oak and palm hammocks, and over two wetlands on its way to the Two-Mile Loop Trail. Mini-Adventure Trail (under 1/4 mile) This narrow, uneven trail winds through a dense oak and palm forest, bringing you close to the native habitat of "Old Florida." Two-Mile Loop Trail This wide, grassy trail will take you around a large mangrove wetland forest, with intermittent views of the beautiful Indian River Lagoon. Mangrove Boardwalk A 1/4-mile boardwalk extends from the end of the Main Trail to an observation deck on the Indian River Lagoon.    
 NE Intersection of Indian River Blvd & 8th St , Vero Beach , FL32960

Toni Robinson Waterfront Trail

The one-mile trail comprises a half-mile walk through an open canopy scrub habitat and oak forest to the mangroves. A half-mile loop walk on an impoundment trail includes a boardwalk through the mangroves with a dock that extends into the lagoon with a picnic bench. Dogs are allowed but must be "scooped" and kept on leash. Please stay on marked trails, enjoy the dock, but please no fishing.
 79th St (East of US Hwy 1) , Vero Beach , FL

Treasure Coast Seaplanes

Depart Vero Beach Regional Airport for a low-level flight along Vero Beach’s glorious coastline towards Sebastian Inlet while capturing breathtaking photos. Experience the most bio-diverse lagoon ecosystem in the Northern hemisphere as the tour transitions over the vast Indian River Lagoon enroute to the pristine and untouched Blue Cypress Lake for a splashtacular water landing. Once the aircraft comes to rest upon the water, step out onto the floats and behold the true Florida beauty very few get to witness. Immerse yourself with the extraordinary. Abundant wildlife abounds at the birthplace of the St. John’s River. From alligators to osprey, Blue Cypress Lake has it all.
 3400 Cherokee Dr , Vero Beach , FL32960