B. L. Gilmore
writer / photographer
Note: Even though this is outdated, it's worth a read for both those who are curious and those who would like a trip down memory lane.
This was written in 1992 and appeared in the Welcome Home special publication of the Sebastian Sun newspaper, aimed at both locals and seasonal residents. Sadly, some of the locations and many of the prices quoted are no longer available. This is due not only to what some call "progress," but to an even larger degree, the ravaging effects of the 2004 and 2005 Hurricane season.
My continuing heartfelt support goes out to those who still live in the area.
What to Do in '92
Not long after my husband and I moved to Sebastian, we became curious about what the area had to offer in the way of recreation on a budget. I figured the best way to find out and cut through the "tourist trappings" would be to ask a native, so I cornered a co-worker one afternoon.
People in the media business are supposed to know all the ins and outs, but when
I asked her, with my pen and paper poised, what there is to do in the Sebastian
area (that wouldn't require a new mortgage on the house), she flatly replied,
Feeling her answer a bit facetious, I told her to get serious. She gave me a look that said, "Would I kid you …?"
Not about to give up that easily, I did some more investigating, and the truth
is, it really depends on who you are and what your lifestyle is, but the answer
is very rarely "nothing."
One of the nicest things about this area is its versatility. You can almost
literally make it what you want it to be. If you prefer to be bored, you can
find a way to get bored.
However, if this story was about being bored, it would have to end here.
There are about as many things to do as there are personalities. Anything that
is not within city limits is certainly within a few hours' drive.
For the indoor type, Bingo could be the name of the game, featured at various
locations including building A in Barefoot Bay, as well as the Sebastian Elks
Lodge and American Legion Post in Sebastian. Cards are low in cost and winnings
can make the evening very profitable.
Dinners are hosted by several local groups. The Micco Volunteer Fire Department,
just inside the main entrance to Barefoot Bay (off U.S. 1) holds chicken dinners
and pancake breakfasts with all the trimmings. The Italian-American and Polish
American clubs in Sebastian feature ethnic dinners and seafood fests to satisfy
almost any appetite. Most of these meals are offered at prices less than $10.
For more formal entertainment at mealtime, Indian River County offers a wide
variety of dining experiences. Captain Hiram's River Raw Bar on Indian River
Drive in Sebastian offers a Key West atmosphere (I found it to be a small-scale
version of the place on Islamorada the Beach Boys' claimed as the official
Kokomo, and if you've ever been to the Tiki bar at Holiday Isle, you know what I
mean), with open-air dining on the waterfront.
Vero Beach has Jack Baker's Lobster Shanty, where diners can watch bottlenose
dolphins frolic in the river between courses, and the barrier island features
many fine establishments to choose from.
Dinners can range from $5.95 to $17.95 or more at these locations, excluding
Everything is relative, and so are budgets. Now for the higher end of the scale. Those who wish an atmosphere of elegance, a waterfront view and a salad bar that includes strawberries and cream, crackers and caviar, Vero Beach's Chart House is for you. The champagne is bubbly, the service exquisite and the food quality unbelievable. Even if you aren't rich and famous, you feel like it after an evening at this restaurant. Is that Robin Leach I see over there?
Some night spots feature happy hour, which often includes hors o'douvres, an
inexpensive way to snack and enjoy the scenery.
This region also offers a variety of live theatre entertainment for young and
old alike. The list includes: Vero Beach Theatre Guild; Riverside
Theatre; Riverside Children's Theatre; Vero Beach Opera Guild; Vero Beach High
School (spring musicals); Indian River Community College; The King Center;
Phoenix Production Co. and the Melbourne Civic Theatre.
Feel like a movie? Try the matinees at several locations nearby. Vero Beach
offers the Vero 6 Cinema. Fort Pierce has the Sable Palm 6 and Village Green 6.
Melbourne features the Oaks 10 and Palms 8. In Palm Bay, you'll find the Palm
Bay 10 and Roxy 10.
Two people can usually enjoy an afternoon movie for less than $10 (snacks are
extra), and the Barefoot Bay Sun and Sebastian Sun newspapers both list movie
times for your convenience.
Local museums offer lessons in history and technology. The McLarty Treasure
Museum and Visitor Center, located just south of the Sebastian Inlet on SR A1A,
tells the story of a fleet of Spanish ships sunk off the coast in 1715.
The museum is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.. Admission is $1
for adults, and children under 6 are free. Further information may be obtained
by calling the museum at 589-2147.
Traveling south of Vero Beach, the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute is open
to the public. It includes a visitor center and scheduled tours for those who
wish to learn more about our environment and studies being conducted to preserve
The Underwater Demolition Team (UDT/SEAL) Museum on SR A1A in Fort Pierce is the
only one in the world dedicated to frogmen, and honors the more than 3,000 men
who trained at this location, which served as the United States Amphibious
Training Base during the years 1943-1946.
Men that trained here developed vital naval maneuvers that proved instrumental
in victories at Normandy, North Africa and the Pacific Islands. In 1962 the name
of the UDT was changed to SEAL, for Sea, Air and Land Teams. The museum is open
from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and from noon to 4 p.m. on
Sunday. Admission is $1 for ages 12 and older, 50¢ for children under 6-11 and
children 5 and under are free.
If more high-toned fare appeals to you, the Center for the Arts in Vero Beach
features exhibits of the visual arts and there are numerous art shows throughout
the year in both Vero Beach and Sebastian.
Perhaps bowling is more your indoor style. There are three area locations for
you to enjoy.
Ercildoune Lanes on U.S. 1 just north of Sebastian offers new, computerized
scoring on its 12 lanes, a snack bar and pro shop. Lessons are available, as is
Vero Beach hosts the Sable Palm Bowl, a 24-lane AMF bowling alley with a snack bar, lounge and pro shop. Lessons and league play are available, as are specials on prices. Also open is the new Vero Bowl, located on U.S. 1 at Luria's Plaza.
For the quieter times, a visit to our libraries is a must. The main library in
Vero Beach is now located just west of the courthouse, and features a special
genealogy department on its second floor. The North County branch on CR 512 in
Sebastian now lets visitors search for books by computer.
The South Mainland Library …Micco is located behind the firehouse in Barefoot
Bay, and offers a variety of old and new selections to please the reader's
For you outdoor personalities, the area offers almost endless possibilities.
Besides the 23 miles of beaches, accessible from several locations off SR A1A,
this is the home of prime surfing spots and plays host to tournaments at
Sebastian Inlet. Some of the hottest spots include Seahorse Beach, Conn Beach,
Riomar Reef, Tracking Station Park, Wabasso Beach Park and Monster Hole at the
Surfboard and bodyboard rentals are offered at Surf 'N Style (1255 U.S. 1); Sun
Spot (969 Beachland Blvd.); Dixie Divers (1833 U.S. 1); and Deep Six Dive and
Watersports (416 Miracle Mile Ext.).
Of course, don't forget sailboarding. The Indian River is ideal for this.
Equipment and or/lessons are offered by several area locations.
Rather go fishing? Several options await. There are fishing party boats
available along Sebastian's Indian River Drive, also known as the "River Road."
A little more serious? Charter boats for game fishing are located at the
Sebastian Inlet Marina (Capt. Hiram's), Deep Six Dive and Watersports. as well
as at Summit Landings, just north of the Brevard County line on U.S. 1. The cost
is more than the party boats, but with a few friends to go along, it's still
possible to fit this into a modest budget.
Just want to get out on the water? Sold your boat in a moment of despair?
There's still hope for you.
Boat rentals are available at several spots, including Capt. Hiram's, Deep Six
Dive and Watersports, Honest John's in Melbourne Beach and Club Nautico in Vero
Remember, there are fishing license laws and catch limits. Check with your local bait and tackle shop for details before venturing out.
Hard surface courts are available free of charge at Charles Park and Pocahontas
Park in Vero Beach; on Schumann Drive in Sebastian; Gifford Park in Gifford;
Vero Beach High School; Vero Beach Junior High School; and in Fellsmere.
Area tennis clubs operate on annual memberships. Some clubs will rent to guests
on an hourly basis.
Indian River County hosts more than 20 golf courses, with more on the drawing
Public courses include: Sebastian Municipal (589-6800); Sandridge Golf Club (770-5000); Summit View Golf Club (1-407-951-2009); Whisper Lakes (567-3321); Dodgertown Golf Course (569-4800); Dodger Pines Country Club (569-4400); Indian Pines Golf Club (1-407-464-7018); Vista Plantation Golf Club (569-2223); Vista Royale Golf & Country Club (562-8110); Club Med Sandpiper (335-4400); and The Habitat at Valkaria (1-407-952-4588).
Want to get your feet off the ground? There are three airports nearby to help
you test your wings.
The Sebastian Municipal Airport has two 40,000-foot runways and reports
approximately 80,000 takeoffs and landings per year.
The Vero Beach Municipal Airport offers flight schools including Flight-Safety International, Pro-Flite and several smaller training programs.
The Melbourne Airport features daily flights in and out of the area and Florida,
and hosts most major airlines.
Budget can't handle lessons or charts? How about a lazy afternoon of
touch-and-goes? It's more fun than you think, and the kids will love it.
The Sebastian Inlet State Recreation Park hosts a multitude of activities with
its 570 acres. With reasonable entrance fees, the park has become one of the
most popular salt water spots in the state. Beach, fishing, picnic, camping and
boating facilities are available.
The newly refurbished boat ramp, located west of the campground, is open to the
public. The inlet itself is one of the most dangerous in Florida, so check with
local marine patrol or park officials before venturing out. Showers, restrooms,
picnic tables, concession stand and bait shop are all available on the grounds.
If all this is not enough, area festivals are scheduled several times throughout
the year, featuring arts and crafts, antique cars, carnivals and seafood.
There's always something going on.
Festive shuffleboard tournaments are held at Pocahontas park, for a somewhat
slower pace, although some of the competitors there have been seen getting
Many other activities are available, and there are really too many to mention
them all, so …
Nothing to do on a budget? I doubt it, unless what you really want to do… is nothing.
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