Fodor's Expert Review Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge

Vero Beach and Sebastian

Founded in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt as the country's first national wildlife refuge, the park encompasses the historic Pelican Island rookery itself—a small island in the Indian River lagoon and important nesting place for 16 species of birds such as endangered wood storks and, of course, brown pelicans—and the land surrounding it overlooking Sebastian. The rookery is a closed wilderness area, so there's no roaming alongside animal kingdom friends; however, there is an 18-foot observation tower across from it with direct views and more than 6 miles of nature trails in the refuge. Another way to explore is via guided kayak tours from the Florida Outdoor Center. Make sure to bring a camera—it's a photographer's dream.

Quick Facts

Rte. A1A
Vero Beach, Florida  32960, USA

772-581–5557

www.fws.gov/pelicanisland

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: Free, Daily 7:30–sunset

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