Sebastian to Pelican Island via the Indian River Lagoon and back. Approximately 8 miles.
Myself and 2 sturdy friends met at Sebastian Riveside Park. This is a community park with a very small area for launching canoes of kayaks at the south end. Look for a break in the rocks that line the waters edge on the east side of the park. Park and unload under a sign "Sebastian Riverside Park" then move your vehicle to the parking lot.
The lagoon is 4 miles wide at this point and it feels more like sea kayaking that river paddling. It was a windy day so we decided to try our mettle against the 15mph winds out of the south east. As I said, we are a sturdy group and paddled courageously for 90 minutes before we gave in to the increasing wind. Our destination was Pelican Island however we did not make it. I estimate that we paddled 4 miles. The return trip with the wind at our backs took 40 minutes.
We stopped twice to explore spoil islands. These are small islands created by fill from the widening of the main boat channel. They have filled in with trees and plants and are a community treasure for camping and day use. Some are designated conservation and access is restricted.
This trip was lovely and the company fabulous. There is a profusion of bird and fish life. A single dolphin was sighted.
Leave the canoe at home. Be prepared for wind and waves.
Sebastian Riverside Park permits overnight parking. There are roomy, clean bathrooms and nice tables for picnicking or resting. There is a gas station on the corner and several nearby restaurants. We had lunch at Capt Hirams, about 1 mile north of the park. This is a restaurant accessible by boat or car. We were very hungry and a little tired and the food and service were outstanding.
From I-95, take the Fellsmere exit 8 miles to US1. The park is at the intersection of US1 and county road 512.
Camping is permitted on selected spoil islands. A map including this information is available as a pamphlet "Spoil Islands of the Indian River Lagoon" from Florida Inland Navigational District, 1314 Marcinski Road, Jupiter, Florida 33477 or www.aicw.org