Don’t stay in the house, get outside! Our area has over 20,000 acres of preserve ideal for hiking, birding and horseback riding. Indian River consists of three main areas; Sebastian to the north, Fellsmere to the west and Vero Beach to the South.
The Captain Forster Hammock Preserve opened with public access improvements on February 17, 2003. The Preserve contains trails through mature maritime hammock and coastal hammock habitats. New restrooms and parking are located one mile south of County Road 510 on Jungle Trail. While seasonal tours are offered, self-guided walks are a great way to get outside and see a remnant of “old Florida” int he off season. Trails are easy walking and are open from 8am until sunset.
The 110 acre Captain Forster Hammock Preserve was purchased in the mid 1990s by Indian River County with funds from the State Conservation and Recreation Lands Program. The property now conserves natural and cultural resources on site. 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. He homesteaded on the barrier island growing winter vegetables and fishing along the Indian River Lagoon. For additional information on the Captain Forster Hammock Preserve, you can visit their website here.
Sebastian is also home to Pelican Island, America’s 1st National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1903. Located in the Indian River Lagoon on the east coast of Florida, Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge is both the name of the refuge and the name of the original 5.5 acre rookery island, which supports important bird rookeries, key fish spawning sites, and a globally important juvenile sea turtle nursery. Primarily comprised of lagoonal waters, the refuge includes aquatic, transitional, and upland habitats supporting a diversity of species, including 14 federally listed threatened and endangered species. This complex eco-system also supports hundreds of species of birds, fish, plants, and mammals. Therefore, over thirty species of birds use Pelican Island as a rookery, roost, feeding ground, or loafing area. You can get directions and read additional information about Pelican Island here.
Looking for a more active approach to your outside activities? Fort Drum Marsh Conservation area is the place to be. This area is known for being an active park where guests participate in activities such as hiking, picnicking and horseback riding. Fishing, bicycling, and primitive camping are also available at designated sites. This area is also a great place for wildlife viewing, canoeing, environmental education and seasonal hunting. A boardwalk provides an opportunity to hike through a hardwood swamp to reach Hog Island. The island has trails and primitive camping with a picnic pavilion and tables located adjacent to Horseshoe Lake. Because of the ease of access to this conversation area, it is a hot spot for local hikers and adventure seekers.
The diverse habitats support Florida sandhill cranes, wood storks, caracara, bald eagles, deer, turkey and a large population of feral hogs. This 20,862-acre area contains a mosaic of wetland and upland communities. Marsh area also represents the southernmost reach of the St. Johns River’s headwaters. The area is part of the Upper St. Johns River Basin Project, undertaken jointly by the district and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Diverse plant communities are shaped by both people and nature. Therefore, natural communities include dry prairie, pine flatwoods, hardwood swamp and freshwater marsh. To learn more, visit the Fort Drum website here.
If you prefer wider access points so you can job or cycle outside under the trees, try Jungle Trail in Vero Beach. 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. Mostly used by cyclists, walkers and joggers, you are able to drive the path as well. The road is sandy but mostly hard packed and easy going for wide-tire bicycles.
Round Island Park is next on our list and is perfect for anyone who loves the water. Attention all kayakers, this park has access to both the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon. Manatees are frequent visitors so bring your camera! There are trails, boardwalks and an observation tower. Easy water access makes this 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. This park is located in Vero Beach off of A1A.
Calling all joggers, the Lagoon Greenway will have you mixing and matching all of your outdoor jogging routes with multiple trails available to the public. 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. Due to it’s accessibility, 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. Multiple wetlands are on the way to the Two-Mile Loop Trail. Mini-Adventure Trail (under 1/4 mile) is a 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 is a wide, grassy trail that will take you around a large mangrove wetland forest. Because of intermittent views of the beautiful Indian River Lagoon, this trail always packs a surprise for any traveling on it. Mangrove Boardwalk A 1/4-mile boardwalk extends from the end of the Main Trail to an observation deck on the Indian River Lagoon. Located at the NE intersection of Indian River Blvd & 8th Street in Vero Beach.
With so many options for experiencing paradise, why would you want to be anywhere else? If you’d like to know more about Indian River, and maybe own a little piece of paradise, contact us today.
ACTION REALTY | 772-815-5909