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America's ByWays

Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway

While the length of the Indian River Lagoon Scenic Highway extends for over a hundred miles, the history of it spans across thousands of years and embodies people’s respect for the inherent beauty of this area. The highway offers travelers an opportunity to witness pristine, fragile ecosystems, glimpses of Florida’s past and visions of the future of space exploration.

The Indian River Lagoon Scenic Highway, approximately 166 miles in length, extends from County Road 510 (the Wabasso Causeway) on State Road A1A, west along State Road 528 to U.S. 1, north on U.S. 1 to Titusville, northeast on County Road 402 to the Canaveral National Seashore; backtracking to State Road 528 and south on U.S. 1 to the Wabasso Causeway.

The Indian River Lagoon Scenic Highway meanders through delicate expanses of national wildlife refuges and state parks-home to over 4000 species of plants and animals, including one third of the U.S. population of the endangered “sea cows,” the manatees. Visitors may enjoy the rich and lavish land either by the roadside or getting “off the beaten path” through sailing, swimming, surfing, boating, fishing, bird watching, While this unique ecosystem affords travelers a glimpse of a delicately balanced ecosystem, the region’s history personifies man’s desire for exploration. Ponce De Leon and the Spanish Conquistadors landed near the shores of what is now known as Palm Bay and befriended the Ais Indians. As development advanced the strength of this country, Henry Flagler’s railroad afforded early homesteaders the opportunity to continue the vision of uncovering the land’s intrinsic resources. Today that exploration turns toward the heavens with Cape Canaveral and the NASA Space Program.

Beginning with early explorers and visionaries, the Indian River Lagoon Scenic Highway continues to be an area for people to enjoy, explore and preserve for years to come.

America's ByWays

Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway

Canaveral National Seashore
Our journey begins at one of the few remaining pristine beaches in Florida located on a barrier island along Florida’s Atlantic Coast. No matter what time of the year, recreational opportunities abound including lagoon and surf fishing, boating, canoeing, surfing, sunbathing, swimming, hiking and backcountry camping. Catch glimpses of some endangered species including loggerhead, green and leatherback sea turtles, West Indian Manatee, Southern bald eagle, wood stork, peregrine falcon, eastern indigo snake, and Florida scrub jay. This area is also an excellent area to view space shuttle launches.

John F. Kennedy Space Center
As we continue our exploration of the Indian River Lagoon Scenic Highway, we come to the hub of space exploration. Visitors have the opportunity to tour the NASA facility, talk face-to-face with astronauts, explore exhibits that give the history of people’s thirst for exploration from the early Vikings discovery of Iceland and Greenland to Mars Viking Lander–the first U.S. probe to land on another planet. Visitors can witness authentic Mercury and Gemini capsules and an actual 363-foot, 6.2 million pound Saturn V moon rocket, view IMAX movies of space missions, walk through full-scale mock-ups of space station modules, visit the viewing gallery and see actual space station components being prepared for flight, and visit the Astronaut Memorial honoring the seventeen astronauts who gave their lives for space exploration.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
This is not only a wildlife refuge, but a refuge away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Visitors can spend as little or as much time here as their leisure activities allow them. Spend an hour or two touring the wildlife and habitat exhibits, driving along the 7-mile wildlife drive and stopping at the manatee viewing area to watch the gentle “sea cows.” Or spend the day of leisure with the many amenities of boating, fishing, canoeing and short and medium-length hiking opportunities.

Enchanted Forest Sanctuary
As our journey takes us south on U.S. 1 and east on SR 405, we arrive at the Enchanted Forest. As the flagship sanctuary of the Brevard County’s Environmentally Endangered Lands Program, this primitive sanctuary has the beginnings of an educational and recreational facility that offers hosts, guides, picnic tables, bathroom facilities and a parking lot. Future plans include an education pavilion, boardwalks, and other improvements.

Brevard Zoo
As we travel along the famous Highway 1 that leads to Key West and the Southernmost Point in the Continental United States, we pass by Port Canaveral, Cape Canaveral, the City of Cocoa, Cocoa Beach and Patrick Air Force Base. We take a moment to stop along our journey to explore the Brevard Zoo, the only zoo to offer on-site river and lagoon kayaking. It is home to a variety of animals such as the jet black jaguars, tapis, anteaters and two-toed sloth’s.

Lagoon House
We continue are journey on U.S. 1 and off to our left is the coast with its vistas of brilliant water of the Indian River Lagoon. Along this stretch of Highway 1 is the future site of the Lagoon House, a two-story, environmental and educational visitor’s center. It will provide an up-close look at the Indian River Lagoon ecosystem. Interpretive exhibits will enable visitors to learn about the abundant natural resources of the area as well as its rich history. Guides will be on hand to provide resource-specific information via video, audio, maps, brochures and through personal directions.

Grant Historical House
Along historic U.S. 1, we approach the quaint town of Grant and the Grant Historical House. Visit the “cracker house” that was built in 1913 and view the historical exhibits and the viewing pier. Enjoy the charming town for a while–enjoy lunch at a locally owned café, walk along the shore or browse through antique shops.

Wabasso Island and the Environmental Learning Center
Coming across the Wabasso Causeway from U.S. 1 to U.S. A1A, we come to the splendor of the 51-acre Wabasso Island which is home to the Laura Riding Jackson home–a focal point for the study of literature, philosophy and history–and the Environmental Learning Center. At the Environmental Learning Center, visitors can get hands-on experience of the flora and fauna of the island via hiking trails, guided nature walks, the elevated boardwalk and the other numerous hands-on activities for all ages. The Environmental Learning Center also offers a lending library and a gift shop for those who want to take a home a piece of this strikingly beautiful island.

Sebastian Inlet State Park
At the Sebastian Inlet State Park, travelers can spend the day swimming, surfing, fishing, picnicking, boating, snorkeling, scuba diving, bird watching, camping and enjoying nature. With the Sebastian Fishing Museum and the McLarty Treasure Museum, the Sebastian Inlet State Park truly has something for everybody.

Sebastian Fishing Museum
If your bumper sticker says, “I’d rather be fishing,” then this is the museum for you! The Sebastian Fishing Museum is devoted to educating the public on the rich cultural history of Sebastian’s fishing industry. Inside the museum you will find a replica of one such house and dock, the traditional heart of the industry. There is a homemade fishing boat, nets, fishing gear and photos of fishing in the Indian River Lagoon. A 24 minute video presentation explores the history and vast diversity of the wildlife within the Indian River Lagoon.

McLarty Treasure Museum
The wonder and excitement of a sunken ship can be relived at the McLarty Treasure Museum. Artifacts and remnants from the 1715 wreckage are on display–silver pieces, gold doubloons, bars of gold, rare Chinese porcelain and countless items used in the everyday life at sea. The few remaining survivors set up campsites on the present day site of this Museum.

Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge
We are now approaching the second of three wildlife refuges along the Indian River Lagoon Scenic Highway. Located on an island in the Indian River Lagoon, it is not just any stretch of beach, but a National Historic Landmark and the first National Wildlife Refuge established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903. It offers boat tours, fishing, wildlife observation and photography. You may also visit the Paul Kroegel Statue honoring the first warden of this refuge.

Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge
Continuing our journey northward on U.S. A1A, we spot the twenty mile stretch of picturesque beaches extending from Melbourne Beach to Wabasso Beach located within the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge. While a hot spot for people looking for the ideal spot for swimming and sunbathing, it is also the most important nesting area for loggerhead sea turtles in the western hemisphere and the second most important nesting beach in the world. Twenty-five percent of all loggerhead sea turtle and thirty five percent of all green sea turtle nests in the United States occur in this twenty mile zone.

The Beaches along the Indian River Lagoon Scenic Highway
As our trip draws to a close, we travel north on U.S. A1A and past the picturesque beaches of Floridana Beach, Melbourne Beach, Indialantic, Indian Harbor Beach, Satellite Beach and Cocoa Beach–all teeming with recreational and eco-tourism opportunities. This abundance of opportunities leaves the traveler filled with the desire to return again and again to spend time on this highway filled with life.

America's ByWays

Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway

Brevard Zoo

Enchanted Forest Sanctuary

Environmental Learning Center

Indian River County Chamber of Commerce

Sebastian Area Chamber of Commerce

Canaveral National Seashore

Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge

America's ByWays

Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway

Historical Sites
Grant Historical House – A “Cracker House” Built In 1913 With Historical Exhibits And A Viewing Pier. For More Information, Call (321) 723-8543.

Laura Riding Jackson Home – Located On The Grounds Of The Environmental Learning Center On Wabasso Island, This Historic Building Was Home To The Poet Laura Riding Jackson. For More Information, Call (561) 589-6711.

Paul Kroegel Statue – Honoring Paul Kroegel, The Early Pioneer And The First Warden Of The Nation’s First Wildlife Refuge, Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge. For More Information, Call (561) 562-3909 X.258.

Mclarty Treasure Museum – Exhibits From The 1715 Spanish Silver Fleet That Wrecked Just Off The Shore Of Present-Day Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge And From The Encampment Established By The Survivors. For More Information, Call (561) 589-2147.

Sebastian Area Historical Society Museum – Tells The History Of The Sebastian Area Through Artifacts And Memorabilia. For More Information, Call (561) 589-9741.

Sebastian Fishing Museum – A Tribute To The People Who Brought Economic Stability To The Area By Means Of Commercial Fishing. Depicts Through Replicas Of A Fish House And Dock, Photographs And Other Displays. Located On The South Side Of The Sebastian Inlet State Park. For More Information, Call (407) 984-4852.

Sports & Recreation
Buck Lake Conservation Area – Offers Hiking, Horseback Riding, Bicycling, Fishing, Wildlife Observation And Primitive Camping. For More Information, Call (321) 633-2046.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge – Amenities Include A Visitor’s Center With A 20-Minute Video About The Refuge, A Short And Medium-Length Hiking Trail, Wildlife And Habitat Exhibits, Information Desk, A 7-Mile Wildlife Drive, A Manatee Viewing Area, Several Boat Launch Areas, Boating, Fishing, Canoeing, And Wildlife Observation Opportunities. For More Information, Check Out http://www.fws.gov/merrittisland/ Or Call (321) 861-0667.
Events & Festivals

Annual Fais Das-Dos Cajun Festival & Craft Show – Celebrate The Cajun Lifestyle At This Event Held At F. Burton Smith Park, In Cocoa. For More Information, Call (321) 632-7445.

Children’s Art Festival – Sponsored By Center For The Arts. Art Exhibits By K Through 12th Graders, Artist Demonstrations, Entertainment, Art Activities For Children. For More Information, Call (561) 231-0707.

Children’s Theater Festival – Sponsored By The Riverside Children’s Theater. For More Information, Contact Riverside Theater, 3250 Riverside Park Drive, Vero Beach, Fl 32963 Or Call (561) 231-5860 Or (800) 445-6745.

Harley Davidson Of Melbourne Rock ‘N Ride Festival – This Event Features A Terrific Line-Up Of Rock ‘N Roll National Recording Acts Over Two Days As Well As A Custom Bike Show, A Poker Run, And Lifestyle Booths Featuring A Wide Variety Of Motorcycle Merchandise. For More Information, Call (877) 637-2849.

Hot August Nites Car Show & Street Festival – The Central Brevard Sharing Center With Dixie Cruisers And Murdocks Restaurant Host The Annual “Hot August Nites” Classic Car Show And Street Festival In Cocoa Village. Over 200 Antique And Classic Vehicles, Live Bands, Dance Contests, Kids Attractions, A Dunk Tank And Food And Drinks. For More Information, Call (321) 631-4492.

Hymn Festival – “Singing And Praying Globally” Includes Music From Africa, India, Asia And Latin America. Using Traditional And Unique Instruments That Will Take The Audience For A Virtual Trip Around The World. Includes Members Of The Community Church Choir, The Vero Beach Choral Society And Many Other Church Choirs. For More Information, Call (561) 778-1070.

Indian River Jam Country Music Festival – This Annual Event Presents The Very Best Country Names Available In A Two-Day Festival Featuring Great Food And Terrific Western Wear Lifestyle Booths. For More Information, Call (877) 637-2849.

Mesa Park – Located On Cr 512 One Mile West Of Interstate 95 In Fellsmere. This 50-Acre Park Features An Amphitheater, Festival Area, Mesa Village And The Motorsport Arena. Just Completed In 1998, Mesa Park Boasts A Venue Of Events Such As A Bluegrass/Fiddler’s Convention, A Valentine’s Day Tea Dance, Cinco De Mayo Festival, Fourth Of July Extravaganza, A Blues Festival And A Special Christmas Showcase. The Motorsports Arena Hosts Swamp Buggy Races Throughout The Year And Other Rousing Action, Including Tractor Pulls, Monster Trucks, And Sand Drag Competitions. For More Information, Call (877) 637-2849.

Pelican Island Wildlife Festival – Sponsored By The Pelican Island Audubon Society. Held At Riverview Park In Sebastian. Features Historical And Heritage Exhibits, Live Music, Environmental Exhibits, Food, Exhibits By National Wildlife Refuges From Around Florida, Photography And Art Contest. For More Information, Contact Pelican Island Audubon Society, Po Box 1833, Vero Beach, Fl 32961-1833.

Under The Oaks – Held Each Year Under The Oaks Of Beautiful Riverside Park, This Is The Vero Beach Art Club’s Annual Art Event Drawing Over 40,000 Visitors. Admission Is Free To The Public. For More Information, Call (561) 231-0707 X.102.

Brevard Zoo – Home To A Variety Of Animals Such As Jet Black Jaguars, Tapis, Anteaters And Two-Toed Sloths Viewed From A Shady Tropical Boardwalk. Offers Educational Complex, Up-Close Educational Tours And The Zoo School And It Is The Only Zoo To Offer On-Site River And Lagoon Kayaking. For More Information, Check Out The Web Site Or Call (321) 254-Wild.

John F. Kennedy Space Center – Visitors Have The Opportunity To Tour The Nasa Facility, Talk Face-To-Face With Astronauts, Explore Exhibits That Give The History Of People’s Thirst For Exploration From The Early Vikings Discovery Of Iceland And Greenland To Mars Viking Lander–The First U.S. Probe To Land On Another Planet. Witness Authentic Mercury And Gemini Capsules And An Actual 363-Foot, 6.2 Million Pound Saturn V Moon Rocket, View Imax Movies Of Space Missions, Walk Through Full-Scale Mock-Ups Of Space Station Modules, Visit The Viewing Gallery And See Actual Space Station Components Being Prepared For Flight, And Visit The Astronaut Memorial Honoring The Seventeen Astronauts Who Gave Their Lives For Space Exploration. For More Information, Check Out The Web Site Or Call (321) 452-2121.

Jungle Trail Greenways – Narrow, Unpaved County Road, Built In The 1920s, Meanders Between State Road A1a And Indian River Lagoon By Lands Being Restored To A Coastal Maritime Habitat. This Greenway Leads To Future Public Parking And Walking Trails At The Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge – A Twenty Mile Stretch Of Picturesque Beaches Extending From Melbourne Beach To Wabasso Beach, It Is The Second Of Three Wildlife Refuges Along The Indian River Lagoon Scenic Highway. While A Hot Spot For People Looking For The Ideal Spot For Swimming And Sunbathing, It Is Also The Most Important Nesting Area For Loggerhead Sea Turtles In The Western Hemisphere And The Second Most Important Nesting Beach In The World. Twenty-Five Percent Of All Loggerhead Sea Turtle And 35% Of All Green Sea Turtle Nests In The United States Occur In This Twenty Mile Zone. For More Information, E-Mail Or Call (561) 562-3909 Ext. 258.

Canaveral National Seashore – Designated As A National Seashore On January 3, 1975, It Is One Of The Few Remaining Pristine Beaches In Florida, Open For Beach Activities, With Views Of Wildlife And Space Shuttle Launch Complexes. For More Information Check Out The Web Site Or Call (321) 267-1100.

Coconut Point Sanctuary – Hiking, Wildlife Observation, Boardwalk, Natural Surface Parking Area. For More Information You Can E-Mail Or Call (321) 633-2046.

Enchanted Forest Sanctuary – The Enchanted Forest Is The Flagship Sanctuary Of Brevard County’s Environmentally Endangered Lands Program. Visitors Should Be Aware That This Is A Primitive Sanctuary That Offers Hosts, Guides, Picnic Tables, A Port-A-Potty And A Parking Lot. An Education Pavilion, Boardwalks, And Other Improvements Are Planned For The Future. For More Information, Write To Enchanted Forest, Po Box 10128, Titusville, Fl 32783-0128, Check Out The Web Site Or Call (321) 452-1671 Or (321) 267-7367.

Environmental Learning Center – A Non-Profit Nature Center Located On The 51-Acre Wabasso Island Offering Hiking Trails, Guided Nature Walks, Elevated Boardwalk, Hands-On Activities For All Ages, Lending Library And Gift Shop. For More Information Check Out The Web Site, E-Mail Or Call (561) 589-5050.

Indian River Lagoon – The Most Diversified Estuary In The National. Parallels The Ocean For 160 Miles And Nurtures More Than 4,000 Species Of Plants And Animals, Including The Precious Florida Manatee, Within Its Rich Salt And Fresh Waters. For More Information, Call (321) 722-5363.

Malabar Scrub Sanctuary – Hiking, Wildlife Observation, Bicycling & Horseback Riding, Boardwalk, Stabilized Parking Area And Bathroom Facilities At The Adjacent Malabar Community Park. For More Information E-Mail Or Call (321) 633-2046.

Maritime Hammock Sanctuary – Hiking, Wildlife Observation, Boardwalk, Natural Surface Parking Area. For More Information E-Mail Or Call (321) 633-2046.

Micco Scrub Sanctuary – Hiking, Wildlife Observation, Boardwalk, Natural Surface Parking Area. For More Information, E-Mail Or Call (321) 633-2046.

Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge – A Rookery In The Indian River, Designated By President Theodore Roosevelt In 1903 As The National’s First Wildlife Refuge. Offers Boat Tours, Fishing, Wildlife Observation And Photography Opportunities. For More Information Visit http://www.fws.gov/pelicanisland/ Or Call (561) 562-3909.

Pine Island Conservation Area – Offers Hiking, Wildlife Observation, Canoe/Kayak Trail, Non-Gas Powered Boats, Catch-Release Fishing, Waterfowl Hunting, Restored Historic Home Sites, Bathroom Facilities, Stabilized Parking Area. For More Information E-Mail Or Call (321) 633-2046.

The Lagoon House – The Lagoon House Will Be A Two-Story, Environmental And Educational Visitor’s Center Providing An Up-Close Look A The Indian River Lagoon Ecosystem. Interpretive Exhibits Enable Visitors To Learn About The Abundant Natural Resources Of The Area As Well As Its Rich History. Guides Are On Hand To Provide Resource-Specific Information Via Video, Audio, Maps, Brochures And Through Personal Directions.

Turkey Creek Sanctuary – Surrounded By Ancient Sand Dunes, Saw Palmettos And Live Oaks, A 4,000-Foot Boardwalk Meanders Through Murky, Bass-Filled Black Water Creek. A Major Stopover For Spring And Fall Migratory Birds, Including The Pileated Woodpecker And Rare Purple Martin. For More Information, Call (321) 952-3433.