Indialantic, a little beach town near Melbourne. Indialantic, and its sister town, Melbourne Beach, are mom-and-pop kind of places, residential beach towns that once were common in Florida but became precious during the past 20 years as the state grew by 6 million residents.
People don’t come to Indialantic looking for resorts or country clubs or honky-tonks. They come for the beach in its most basic sense–that wonderful place where the land meets the sea and the sea reaches out to the sky. The approach is simple: Sit down and enjoy it.
A beach town such as Indialantic is ideal for relaxing. Indialantic occupies a slice of the thin barrier island and stretches down from Cape Canaveral 25 miles to the north. Rising only 10 feet above sea level between the Indian River and the ocean, the mile-wide town must stand on its tiptoes to stay above water when the occasional storm stirs up the Atlantic. But most days are quiet. There are no high-rise condos to block the view of the sea and blight the landscape. Most structures are two stories, a few rise to four stories.
The leisurely pursuits of residents and visitors alike are flavored with salt air: surfing, surf-fishing, boating, kayaking, swimming. Only 16 miles down A1A is Sebastian Inlet, where the Indian River meets the Atlantic. The inlet is a favorite spot for surfers and fishermen.
During the summer months, the beaches of south Brevard County attract visitors from the sea: thousands of female sea turtles lumber ashore to bury eggs in sandy nests before returning to the waves. Park rangers lead small tour groups on “turtle walks” during June and July. The walks are so popular that reservations must be made weeks in advance.
It was during the decade of the 1920s that Florida became a tourist destination. Carl Fisher created Miami Beach and hyped the city in the national press. He popularized the notion of a vacation at the beach, easy and carefree. Florida, the land of sunshine, was booming. The ocean and the Gulf of Mexico lured visitors from across the South and Northeast.Indialantic was born of the sun and the sea too. A bridge from Melbourne on the mainland was completed in 1921. ////]]>