7 Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors in Indian River County

Outdoor activities in Indian River County are a big part of enjoying the picturesque Treasure Coast and the favorable climate here.

There are sprawling wetlands and marshes, unique wildlife of the Indian River Lagoon, and subtropical landscapes that are waiting to be discovered, along with a wide array of other diverse natural wonders.

Whether you’re paddling through the serene waters of a waterway lined with ancient cypress trees, out exploring trails with as much history as wildlife variety, or vibing with the local art scene, there are myriad things to do in Indian River County that present a signature blend of tranquility and adventure.

There are countless ways to enjoy the outdoors in Indian River County, but we’re going to focus on 7 ways that offer some specificity while also leaving room for variety and personalization.

There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get into it.

Kayak Blue Cypress Lake

blue cypress lake vero beach

Kayaking in Blue Cypress Lake is more than your average kayaking trip, it’s an unforgettable experience with nearby cabins, tours, and conservation area.

As you glide nearly silently through the crystal clear and calm waters, you’ll be enveloped by breathtaking ancient cypress trees that tower more than 100 feet overhead, creating a canopy that captures the light beautifully in the morning sun.

The lake isn’t just a treat for the eyes, it’s a local hot spot for wildlife enthusiasts and serves as a top nesting site for osprey, alligators, and various species of fish that populate the wildly diverse Indian River County ecosystems.

The swamps, marshes, and forests that ensconce the lake add to its allure as one of the most diverse and vibrant ecosystems in the world.

Explore Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge

pelican island national wildlife refuge

Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge is a journey through local history and ecology, and was the very first national wildlife refuge to be established, kicking off the entire national wildlife refuge program created in 1903 by President Roosevelt.

The refuge is a critical sanctuary for many species of birds, fish, and mammals of all sizes, and occupies a 3-acre island in Vero Beach.

Visitors can participate in guided and self-guided tours of the area to observe the rich wildlife, fishing, and environmental education programs, presented in a highly engaging way that makes it a great place to bring kids.

Don’t forget your camera if you’re a birder or nature photographer, and be on the lookout for birds like egrets and other delicate species riding the edge of extinction.

Pedal Down the Jungle Trail

jungle trail vero beach

If you’re looking for an outdoor activity that’s a scenic twist on the traditional bike ride, then pedaling the Jungle Trail is a great option to spend a few hours on.

This 8-mile stretch of sandy, scenic, coastal road once used by citrus growers in the early part of the 20th century now offers a tranquil pedal path for bikers and hikers as well.

As Jungle Trail travelers traverse the span of the trail they’ll do so under an incredible canopy of trees, and alongside breathtaking views of the Indian River Lagoon.

The trail passes several historic sites on the way towards North Hutchinson Island, including the first national wildlife refuge, and the oldest pier in the county, Jones Pier.

This is a great ride for anyone who wants to learn more about local Florida history while seeing some of the nature and ecosystems that make Indian River County so famous.

Surfing at Sebastian Inlet State Park

sebastian inlet state park

Thrill chasers will find just what they need, surfing at Sebastian Inlet State Park, which boasts more than 3 miles of shoreline that all feature ample access to rolling, crashing waves.

This part is a favorite among local surfers, so it’s a great place for visiting surfers to meet the local community while getting in some surfing in a new location, themselves.

The most notable spot is known as Monster Hole and is a shoal formed by a manmade sandbar that creates massive 10-foot waves, creating an exhilarating experience for anyone bringing their board down to Indian River County.

The unique geography of the park creates optimal conditions for surfing nearly all year round, and on top of that, other nearby top surf spots in the county, like Vero Beach Pier, and Wabasso Beach Park, also offer good waves, particularly during high tide.

The combination of natural beauty and surfer-friendly waves makes Sebastian Inlet State Park a unique location for outdoor activities like surfing and potentially extreme kayaking.

Snorkeling and Treasure Hunting

Snorkeling and treasure hunting in Indian River County is a fun and adventurous way to explore the aquatic wonders of the local waterways.

One of the major highlights is the 1894 crash of the SS Breconshire, which sank just two hundred yards from shore and in just 20 feet of water, and has since become a vibrant artificial reef teeming with colorful and exotic marine life.

The best time of year for snorkeling or diving is when the waters are clearest, between May and July each year.

If you just want to view some of the history of past endeavors, take a look at Mel Fischer’s Treasure Museum in Sebastian.

Additionally, Indian River County is part of the Treasure Coast, which means ample opportunities for beachcombing and metal detecting along the shores and beaches, where coins or pottery from countless shipwrecks may be found.

Experience Art and Culture in Vero Beach

downtown vero beach

One of the things few people think about when they think of the Treasure Coast, and Indian River County in particular, is how alive and diverse the art scene is, and Downtown Vero Beach provides an enriching outdoor experience.

The historic art district in Vero Beach is a hub for local creatives and features multiple galleries, like The Laughing Dog Gallery, and Gallery 14, which all showcase a curated selection of artistic pieces.

In many cases, these pieces are from local artists and juried shows and may be purchased for private collections, if desired.

The Vero Beach Museum of Art offers a unique and interactive artistic experience where visitors can participate in events like Cork, Canvas, and Company, where participants create their own art while getting professional guidance from local experts.

The tropical atmosphere of Indian River County inspires boundless creativity, making it an idyllic destination for art lovers to enjoy the outdoors while also soaking up local culture.

Discover Citrus Groves

florida citrus groves

Indian River County is known around the world for the citrus fruits grown in its citrus groves, particularly its red grapefruit, honeybells, and oranges.

Visiting one or more of the local citrus groves, such as Schacht Groves or Peterson Groves can give visitors a unique look into the citrus industry, along with access to a wide range of homemade citrus foods, honeys, jellies, and more.

Many of the farms are mostly generationally-owned and make great locations for family-friendly outdoor activity while also actively enriching their minds, and getting a few tasty snacks as well.

Wrapping Up

From serene kayaking adventures on Blue Cypress Lake to the thrills of catching the perfect wave at Sebastian Inlet, Indian River County provides a wide array of outdoor activities that allow visitors to fully immerse themselves in the natural beauty and rich culture of the county.

The unique blend of rich local history, vibrant coastal culture, and pristine natural environments make the entire Indian River County area an attraction in itself, and with so much to offer, there’s no way you can experience it all in just one trip.

TreasureCoast

TreasureCoast

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