The St Sebastian River is one of the major freshwater tributaries to the Indian River Lagoon. It is a winding and scenic waterway which changes dramatically as flows toward the coast from a lush oak and palm canopied creek to open expanses of water with mangrove islands and oyster shoals. It is a winter refuge for the manatee and year round home to a few alligators. Dolphin will also swim upriver in search of fish. Some examples of fish species found in the river are tarpon, snook, trout, redfish, and mullet. A variety of birds can also be seen such as osprey, herons, egret,s ibis, sandhill cranes, turkeys, kestrels, hawks, vultures, and bald eagles. The songbirds are here too, robins in the winter, wrens, cardinals, catbirds and more.
The northern shores of the river border the St Sebastian River Preserve State Park. The State of Florida began to purchase large tracts of land for the preserve in 1995. The preserve covers one-third of the watershed to the St. Sebastian River, improving water quality and reducing human impacts such as agricultural and residential uses. It has grown continually since the first land acquisition and now encompasses more than 22,000 acres. Protected are the open grassy forests of longleaf pine that were once commonplace throughout Florida. The pine flatwoods form a backdrop for other biological communities, including cypress domes, scrubby oak flatwoods, sandhills, and a beautiful strand swamp. These habitats are home to many native plants and animals, including over 50 protected species.
Donald McDonald Campground is a lovely and well maintained county park that can be utilized for camping tours of the Sebastian area.