(Last Updated On: January 6, 2023)

Deer in a field at St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

Looking for a place to escape into nature? Then consider a visit to St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park.

Nestled on the Central Atlantic Coast, less than half an hour’s drive from Palm Bay, this spectacular park is renowned for the verdant longleaf pine forests that were once a common feature in Florida.

Home to over 50 protected species of native flora and fauna, the park’s landscape also features scrubby flatwoods, cypress domes, golden sand hills and a stunning strand swamp.

Popular with birders, nature lovers and photographers, this Florida state park has several miles of trails which are best explored on foot, horseback or bicycle.

The park also features the comely river which it is named after. Flowing through the heart of it, this waterway is a popular spot for paddling and fishing. With a number of private ramps providing you with access to it along the way.

Camping accommodation options are very primitive here, but that is part of the park’s charm. As it provides visitors with the perfect way to truly immerse themselves within its exceptional natural beauty.

Activities

St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park is open every day of the year from 8 am until sunset.

Here are some of the main things you can see and do during your time there.

Boating at St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

Kayaking and canoeing are well practiced activities at the park. However as there are no boat launches within it, you will have to access the water via private boat ramps that are situated along Roseland Road.

Both the river’s north and south prongs make their way into the park, revealing wonderful views of stunning bluffs, sleepy, overhanging trees and resident wildlife.

Fishing at St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

For those into fishing the park provides plenty of opportunity in which to cast a line.

You can do this by the canal’s shoreline, in the preserve’s ponds or within the St. Sebastian River. As the river water is brackish, it accommodates both saltwater and freshwater species of fish.

Depending on where you fish you may need a license. However if you are able to, you can expect to catch the likes of bass, mullet, snook and tarpon.

Trails at St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

The best way to explore the park’s spectacular landscape is through its trails.

Overall it accommodates more than 60 miles which are set up for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Most of the trails are pretty long, so you should only tackle them if you are fully prepared.

This involves wearing plenty of sunscreen, a hat and bug spray. You should also wear comfortable hiking shoes and take lots of water and nutrition with you.

If you intend to explore these trails on your bike, it is recommended that they are fat tired or mountain bikes. Off-trail biking is not permitted to protect the endangered and rare flora and fauna that reside within the park.

Whilst on the trails you may well come across several geoseekers looking for treasures. There are a number of caches hidden within the park for them to find.

Birding at St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

The preserve is renowned for being one of America’s best locations for birding. Laying within the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, it is home to many different bird species.

This includes the likes of migratory species like robins, hummingbirds, swallow-tailed kites, hawks and numerous types of songbirds.

Rarer breeds like Florida-scrub jays, Bachman’s sparrows and red-cockaded woodpeckers can also be seen. While Southern bald eagles, American kestrels, sandhill cranes and wood storks are commonly viewed too.

For a full list of what birds can be spotted at the park be sure to request a birding checklist from the ranger station.

Nature & Wildlife

The park is home to a diverse range of nature and wildlife species.

One of the most welcome is the West Indian manatees who congregate at the park between the months of November to March.

Some of the other species you might see include coyote, deer, wild turkey, bobcats, gopher tortoises, quail, wild turkey and Eastern indigo snakes.

Keep an eye out too for alligators and be sure to keep your distance if you do see them. While rare, they have occasionally launched unprovoked attacks on humans and pets.

Pets at St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

The park considers itself to be pet friendly. However certain conditions on the presence of dogs have been put in place.

This includes ensuring your dog is well behaved at all times and cleaned up afterwards. You are also required to keep your four legged friend restrained on a handheld leash of no more than six feet in length.

Some other conditions do apply, so to clarify what they are you might want to contact the park’s main office.

Camping at St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

Within the park, there are primitive tent camping options available at six different campsites. All of which can only be accessed by camping them.

Four of these sites are situated on the park’s south side within the Indian River County area. The other two are situated on its northern side in Brevard County.

To stay at them, you will need to bring all your provisions with you including water, food and firewood. You will also have to take all your trash out as well.

Five of the primitive campsites can accommodate groups of up to 20 people and three of these are set up for horse camping. Within these areas hammock camping is permitted.

To stay at the equestrian campsites, proof of a negative Coggins test will need to be carried with you at all times.

Park Location

St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park
1000 Buffer Preserve Drive
Fellsmere, FL 32948
Phone: 321.953.5005

Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park: