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Sebastian – A Hidden Waterfront Gem Near Orlando

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You will be forgiven if you have never heard of Sebastian before, as we definitely hadn’t until we planned this road trip. Sebastian is in Indian River County, very close to Vero Beach. Sebastian is located on the Indian River, and while you may think that the water views wouldn’t be as great as the ocean, you would be mistaken.

Where We Stayed in Sebastian

We stayed at Capt Hirams Resort in Sebastian. The entire hotel was recently redone with the rooms redone in lovely seaside tones of blue and grey.

Captain Hiram's

Our room was perfect for a family, as it had two queen beds and a sofa bed. The room also had a microwave and a small fridge, so you could definitely bring some snacks and drinks with you to save on costs. The hotel also has a snack bar right off the lobby that sells food options such as cereal, breakfast sandwiches, ice cream and more. The prices are reasonable and not at all like typical hotel costs. They also have a cappuccino/hot chocolate machine where you can get free beverages

The hotel has a resort pool on site and across the road they have the adventure center and marina, where you can book numerous water and boating activities. They also have bikes that you take out to go on a leisurely ride around Sebastian, or to Dunkin Donuts which is not far away (we are not judging!) The hotel also offers fun family activities during the week like bingo and karaoke.

Capt Hirams also has 2 waterfront restaurants with great views and 4 bars that have live music multiple days throughout the week.

Things to do in Sebastian

Here are some fun activities to do in Sebastian with the kids.

what to do with kids in Sebastian florida

Rent a Pontoon Boat

You can rent a pontoon boat at Capt Hirams and take the family out on the water for a half day or full day. Make sure to stock up on drinks and snacks before heading out. Note if you are born in 1988 or later, you will need to take a boating safety course prior to taking out the boat.

Go Fishing

If you love to fish, then you have come to the right place! There are a few different companies offering fishing charters from the Capt Hirams Marina. Pick the one that works best for you.

Go on an Ecology Tour

Take an ecology tour on Capt Hirams River King. The tour will take you along the waters of the Sebastian River and Indian River Lagoon. You’ll look for different animals along the way including alligators, dolphins, manatees and turtles.

Get Out on the Water

If you love being on the water, you can rent a kayak or paddleboard at Capt Hirams and enjoy traversing the Indian River Lagoon under your own steam.

Stop and smell the roses at McKee Botanical Garden

While McKee Botanical Garden is technically in Vero Beach, it is a great activity to do while staying in Sebastian’s. Take the kids to explore the gorgeous gardens and all the different flowers and plants. Make sure to take them all the way to the back so that they can go the Children’s Garden.

During hot days, the kids can run around the splash park. The Children’s Garden also has a fun pirate ship that kids can climb and instruments that they can play. Grab a scavenger hunt on your way into the garden and allow kids to go searching for all the items on the list. My kids can never resist a scavenger hunt.

McKee Botanical Garden does have a lot of shade, so even though we visited in June, we were never extremely hot while exploring.

Visit the Environmental Learning Center

The Environmental Learning Center(ELC) is also located in Vero Beach, but is worth a visit from Sebastian.  ELC is a bio-diverse nature center featuring a 64-acre lagoon. They have lots of fun and educational activities for kids including a touch tank, pontoon eco tours, kayaks, walking trails and more.

We went kayaking through the mangroves which was a very interesting activity and something that we had never done before. My daughter discovered that she loves kayaking and I discovered that I am not very good at kayaking, but I would still do it again.

Where to Eat in Sebastian

Sebastian has lots of restaurants with great views and great eats. Here are some that you might want to try.

where to eat in sebastian

Blackfins Riverfront Grill

Blackfins Riverfront Grill serves up great eats for breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week. For lunch and dinner, they serve island-inspired cuisine including crab cakes, fish tacos, conch fritters, dirty oysters and more. For breakfast, enjoy southern favorites including biscuits and gravy and shrimp and grits.

Sebastian’s Roadside Restaurant

Sebastian’s Roadside Restaurant serves up great eats including homemade chicken pot pie, seafood gumbo, burgers and steaks. They also have luncheonette classics including meatloaf, hot open-faced turkey sandwich, hot open face roast beef sandwich and more. If you are in Sebastian for the weekend, stop in for their Sunday breakfast buffet.

Mulligan’s Beach House

Mulligan’s Beach House is a fun and casual restaurant that has a tiki-hut theme. It serves up a variety of seafood dishes, as well as burgers, steaks, and sandwiches. There’s also a large outdoor seating area, perfect for people-watching. Stop in for their happy hour from 3 to 6 pm every day and grab some low-cost appetizers including spinach dip, nachos, fish bites, wings and more.

Pelican Diner

Pelican Diner is a great place to go for breakfast, lunch, or an early dinner (Wednesday – Friday). The menu features all your favorite diner dishes, like omelets, pancakes, waffles and corned beef hash for breakfast and chili, burgers, fried shrimp and wings for lunch and dinner. If you are a lobster lover, stop in on Fridays for their lobster rolls and lobster melts. Check their Facebook page for their different daily specials.

Mo Bay Grill

Mo Bay Grill is a Jamaican-inspired restaurant serving up Jamaican favorites, as well as island-inspired cuisine. Order some jerk chicken, curried goat, oxtail stew and other island favorites. They also have salads and sandwiches like a blackened grouper sandwich, a Reuben, Philly cheesesteak and more.

Squid Lips Overwater Grill

If you want to eat right on the water, then check out Squid Lips. Their restaurant has great views of the Indian River Lagoon. Squid Lips features a lot of seafood dishes including fish tacos, stuffed clams, bacon-wrapped scallops, grilled shrimp, stuffed flounder and more. They also have a raw bar, seafood pasta and fried seafood. If you are not a lover of seafood, or someone in your family doesn’t love seafood, they also have burgers, pulled pork sandwiches and chicken tenders.

Go or No Go to Sebastian, Florida

Sebastian is a quick getaway from Orlando with affordable waterfront views. We highly recommend it for a family getaway.

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks for all the great recommendations for visiting Sebastian. I particularly appreciate the restaurant options for seafood. The on land activities seem like fun for us to take the Grandchildren. We will be exploring Sebastian for sure.

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