Florida Paddling Trails Association
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Pelican Island/Sebastian River

Covering the middle section of the Indian River Lagoon, considered to be North America's most diverse estuary, this segment incorporates premier state and county parks. Paddlers are guaranteed to spot a large variety of aquatic and bird life.

Florida Cities: Melbourne, Palm Bay, Vero Beach, Sebastian, Sebring, Avon Park

Contact: Contact our Region J Director or Trailkeeper for more information by clicking here Click Here


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16 Locations in Pelican Island/Sebastian River
Arbuckle Creek-707708/13/2010
Blue Cypress Lake-2348110/20/2015
Carter Creek Trail-2047012/11/2008
Fort Pierce Inlet State Parkrating189311/13/2011
Indian Riverrating3146156/4/2011
Indian River Lagoonrating334649/7/2011
Lake Kissimmeerating198515/30/2010
Lost Tree Islands Consv Arearating1787112/8/2009
Pelican Island Nwrrating2065112/8/2009
San Sebastian Paddling Trailrating267415/26/2010
Sebastian Inletrating194716/4/2010
Sebastian River, North Fork-2129012/11/2008
Sebastian River, South Forkrating281815/26/2010
Turkey Creek - Palm Bayrating266012/13/2011
Wabasso And Pine Islands-1916012/11/2008
Weohyakakpa Creekrating197617/6/2010

This is Segment 21, Region J. Covering the middle section of the Indian River Lagoon, considered to be North America's most diverse estuary, this segment incorporates premier state and county parks, federal land, side rivers and streams, numerous spoil islands and a traditional fish camp. Paddlers are almost guaranteed to spot sea turtles, manatees, dolphins and a wide variety of bird life.

On the circumnavigational trail, you can start this segment from the sandy Dynamite Point beaches at Ft. Pierce Inlet State Park. Here U.S. Navy Frogmen trained for the D-Day invasion in World War II. Immediately north of the park is the 1A bridge and Pepper Beach State Recreation Area. While there are numerous spoil islands on this stretch, the best camping is near Gifford Point, 14 miles away.

Day two starts by heading north along the ICW toward Pine Island, Wabasso and Pelican Island, America's first National Wildlife Refuge. Camp near the town of Sebastian on spoil island #IR5.

From here it is a little over 20 miles to the final take-out at Front Street Park in Melbourne, or you can break this stretch into two days by staying at spoil island #BC38, after 13 miles of paddling.

For interesting side trips, you can paddle along the high sand bluffs of Turkey Creek, observing numerous manatees, or you can explore the wildlife-rich prongs of the Sebastian River.

The Kissimmee River to the west provides a wilderness type paddling experience through the restored middle portion of the Kissimmee River. Parts of the marshy floodplain are more than two miles wide, giving one the feeling that they are paddling through the Everglades "river of grass." Tree islands and occasional tree-covered banks provide good rest and possibly camping spots.

46-47 miles of Circumnavigational Trail

3 river trails

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Environmental Considerations

  • Boat traffic can be heavy along the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), especially on weekends and holidays.
  • Paddling along the high energy East Coast shoreline is not recommended due to safety considerations. Conditions can change abruptly and few inlets allow paddlers to move to sheltered waters.
  • Paddling the Sebastian Inlet is HIGHLY DISCOURAGED as the current has been measured up to 9.1 feet per second at maximum ebb! Stay far away from the Inlet.

Primary Campsites & Distances Between on Circumnavigational Trail

  • Ft. Pierce Inlet State Park to Gifford Point, 15.5 miles
  • Gifford Point to Island #IR5, 11.5 miles
  • Island #IR5 to island #BC38, 13 miles
  • Island #BC38 to Front Street Park in Melbourne, 7.5 miles

River Trails

  • Turkey Creek trail (8 miles round trip)
  • St. Sebastian River and numerous side creeks (7 miles round trip and more possible)
  • Restored Kissimmee River (40 miles when complete in 2013)

Emergency Contacts

  • Police, Fire and Medical Emergencies: 911
  • Indian River County Sheriff: 772-569-6700
  • Brevard County Sheriff: 321-264-5100, 321-633-7162
  • Okeechobee County Sheriff: 863-763-3117
  • Highlands County Sheriff: 863-402-7200
  • Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission Hotline: 1-888-404-3922

External Site Links

Citrus County Visitors & Convention Bureau

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