We just got home from a day at Sebastian Inlet State Park in Melbourne Beach, FL. My in-laws live in Rockledge, FL and drove past the inlet recently on the way to Vero Beach. The park caught their eye as a place that might be nice to take the kids (age 4) because the inlet swim area was calm, and the shallow side, but still had a nice beach feel to it.
We went on the last full day of our vacation so the kids were getting pretty “pooled” out. We would have gone earlier but it was Memorial Day Weekend and we figured that anything Fri-Mon was going to be super crowed. So we opted for a week day (school was still in session). It took us about an hour to get there. Mistakenly, my MIL thought it only took 30 mins to get there. I’m glad that I didn’t look it up ahead of time because I may have vetoed it because an hour ride each way before our travel day back may have back fired. I’m so glad we went because it ended up being so much more than we thought!
The Logistics: Because it’s a state park, it’s cost $8 a car to get in. We parked at the first big lot that we came to near the swimming area. We later realized that there was a little road with lots of parking all along the inlet cove and we wouldn’t have had to walk so far with our stuff. When I say far, it really wasn’t far at all, but with a lot of beach stuff, we may have opted to park closer. We loaded up my trusty wagon grabbed a spot at one of the picnic tables, set up our umbrella and chairs, and got to beachin’.
The Swimming: We got there at about 10am and the tide was out, so the inlet was more on the shallow side. The water was SO WARM and had no waves or steep drop offs. This was a perfect place for taking kids. I have always been a beach lover, but the beach changes a lot when you take kids, especially twins that tend to run in opposite directions. The actual beach can get crowded and it seems like a kid could be swept away by a wave in the blink of an eye. I would have loved a place like this to take the kids when they were younger. I would also love to enjoy the beach again like the good ole days, but we can’t always get what we want.
The Wildlife: More than just swimming! Almost as soon as we got there a family showed us a hermit crab they caught. My crew immediately had to go investigate the action. There was a jetty/rock area that was shallow, no further up than your knee, and had lots of crabs and fish. They went exploring with Bubbe and right away they found a larger hermit crab. Not too long after seeing the crab and lots of fish did we notice a dolphin jumping in the channel, which was just off the back side of the inlet. It turns out that there was also little baby dolphin hanging with the mom. We made our way up to the larger rocks and watched the dolphins swim around for a while (close your ears CSO- Chief Safety Officer). While we watched from atop the rocks, I noticed what looked like a larger brown rock floating through the water. I quickly realized that it was a huge manatee! All throughout the day, we also saw lots of fun sea birds and not just sea chickens (seagulls) out to eat their lunch.
Amenities: They had a nice clubhouse towards the beach that had food, drinks, and bathrooms. They had really great made to order food that actually didn’t break the bank considering the location. The “kids” burger was huge and would’ve been enough for an adult. They also had beer, wine, and mixed drinks in there. Also included were outdoor showers and outdoor tables and chairs. The clubhouse linked up to the pier where lots of people were fishing and sight seeing. The actual beach was also accessible from the park and seemed to be a big place for surfers. They even had a free standing Bait and Tackle shop that I imagine is super handy for fishing. Watching the waves crash against the rocks was very serene. I’d say relaxing but my kids were yelling loudly so I’m forced to throttle the “relaxing” ideology.
Overall Rating: A+
We had so much fun swimming, exploring, and eating good food! Sebastian Inlet will definitely become a part of our future rotation. If you’re visiting in the area, you should too! The hour drive back home came in handy for a much needed nap (first and only of the entire vacation). I’m regretting it now because it’s 10 pm and as I write this and they are still awake jumping on the bed. Scratch that, I have no regrets, that damn hour was peaceful.