More than Just a Beach: The Barrier Island Community of Melbourne Beach, Florida | My Family Travels
PaddleBoarding1

Creeping along the shoreline, moist sand clings to the bottoms of your feet.  The full moon is bright across the dark blue ocean, and a salty mist hangs in the air.  Suddenly, you notice a large figure emerge from the water, slowly surfing its way toward the beach.  The sea turtle washes in with the waves, the flip-flop of its flippers smacking the sand as it heads for the dunes.  There is a span of merely two feet between you and the enormous loggerhead sea turtle: you see every deliberate motion of its digging, watching as every egg drops delicately into the nest.  There is no light but the full moon, which has illuminated the beach with a silvery glow.  This place, Melbourne Beach, is not just my community, but a community of many unique natural wonders (such as the sea turtles), who also call the barrier island coastline their home.  The natural phenomenon of this small-town Florida coastline is something to be marveled, but the area is also rich with thrills for the adventuresome, history for the inquisitive and ecological exploration for those wishing to discover natural wonder.

QUARTER FINALIST 2013 FTF TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP

Melbourne Beach is located on the barrier island on the East Coast of Florida, less than two hours inland of Disney World.  For travelers yearning for a reprieve from the endless lines at the Mickey Mouse attractions, the Melbourne Beach community is a sanctuary just as magical as any man-made theme park.  The barrier island is separated from the mainland by an estuary called the Indian River Lagoon, whose calm, un-crowded waters are the ideal stomping ground for water-sport enthusiasts.  Visitors can water ski, kneeboard, or wakeboard across the blue, shimmering waters of the Indian River.  On windier days, you can even test your mettle with kite surfing or parasailing.

One of the most thrilling water-borne opportunities available is a jet-skiing excursion to the infamous “Monster Hole”.  An inlet to the south connects the Indian River Lagoon to the salty blue waters of the Atlantic.  Adrenaline junkies will delight in the chance to bounce out to sea and visit “Monster Hole”, a deep cavern found directly outside of the inlet.  Its depths are home to an incredible community of sharks, while the break of waves on its surface provides the ride of a lifetime for jet-skiers and surfers alike!  For more mild-mannered travelers, there are kayak and paddle-board nature tours, as well as night-time turtle watching excursions.  Each opportunity is made available by family owned rental-and-tour companies who give tourists the opportunity to relish the unique ecological splendor of our beautiful beach community.

The Melbourne Beach coast is marked with a rich past, between the conquest of conquistadors, the ravages of Atlantic Ocean pirates, and maritime history.  The McCarty Treasure Museum showcases salvaged treasure from the 1715 Spanish Plate Fleet, which was wrecked off the coast during a hurricane.  Incidentally, Ponce De Leon Beach (named for the famed Spanish conquistador), is the beach most visited by nesting sea turtles.  Needless to say, the sands of Ponce De Leon are full of both natural and material treasure!

Whether you’re searching for a beach getaway or an adrenaline pumping escapade, the community of Melbourne Beach is full of opportunity.  Between tales of pirate treasure, sunny days on the shore, and paddles through mangrove-lined estuaries, each adventure is full of unique splendor.  Every experience glows with a glint of the warm Florida sunshine, or in the case of a turtle watching excursion, the silvery sheen of a full moon! 

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