Sebastian, Florida, is the home of the first segment of property that eventually became the National Wildlife Refuge System. Thank an early 20th-century German immigrant who wanted to protect brown pelicans.
If you like the theme-park atmosphere so common in Florida, don't bother moving to Sebastian. This small city is proud that there are no Mickey Mouse parades or a view of roller coasters riding wildly off into the sunset. It's located on Florida's east coast at the state's midpoint with only a narrow barrier island separating the neighborhoods and Atlantic Ocean, and forming a lagoon. U.S. Route 1 runs along the eastern edge. With a population nearing 22,000, as of the 2010 U.S. Census, the city is a very affordable, small-town Florida but with all the amenities. There are Atlantic beaches, monthly arts and crafts shows, trendy restaurants, and Pelican Island, the first designated wildlife refuge. No wonder it's a quiet community--it purposely went to the birds!
A Peaceful Move
Hectic is a word seldom used in Sebastian, but that doesn't mean you can just pack up and move without planning. This city's branding is all about authentic Florida living. The keyword is authentic, and that means peaceful, unhurried and not obnoxious. Landlords managing rental properties expect prospective tenants to have good rental histories and good credit. If your last landlord said you threw your television over the balcony rail, it's wise to find some place other than Sebastian to call home.
That's not to say it's an exclusive area because it's not. There are nice neighborhoods that include all price ranges for rental properties. However, you should use an apartment locator to help--human or online--to narrow the selection of properties to those where the price of "peaceful" fits your budget. Get those documents together and really impress the landlord with your great organizational skills. You'll want a picture ID to prove you really are you; the patience to complete an application in full (no skipping sections); a feeling of happiness that a credit check will be done; and three references who will tell the truth. (Remember: cheaters never prosper!)
Neighborhood with a View
Jimmy Stewart with his Rear Window view had nothing on the residents of Sebastian. It's in an area called Treasure Coast because there is sunken treasure that some careless Spanish ships lost around 1715. There's not much area to Sebastian. The whole darn city is only 13.5 square miles, meaning it's basically one or two big neighborhoods. That makes it easier to search for apartments. Sebastian Boulevard runs through the city from U.S. Route 1 going southwest. Go north and find the Sebastian Municipal Airport and Sebastian Municipal Golf Course. Go south and there are mostly subdivisions.
North Section with City Center: This neighborhood uses N Indian River Drive as its eastern edge and the Saint Sebastian River for its western edge. U.S. Route 1 runs through it, and Roseland Road forms an "X". There are waterfront studio apartments for rent here and down the coast.
South of Main Street: It's the neighborhood boasting the one municipal golf course. It has condo rentals, apartment complexes, and houses for rent. Many houses remind you of traditional Florida architecture before developers went wild. There are traditional one-story homes with lots of windows and a Florida room, (enclosed outdoor living space for the uninitiated) and property filled with palm trees.
South of Sebastian Boulevard: Most rentals are in this area because it has lots of subdivisions, and Barber Street runs through the whole area, connecting Sebastian Boulevard and U.S. Route 1. This is the best area to look for duplexes for rent or apartments.
Enjoying the Florida Good Life!
Getting around Sebastian is easy. Sheesh, it's so small and has so many interstates, highways and major roads cutting it up that you could probably put your car on auto-pilot and have no problems getting around. This is a growing city because it seems so "old Florida" before the famous mouse turned the state into a giant amusement park. You can walk the Sebastian Riverfront district, browse the shops and enjoy a meal at a dockside restaurant. The main distraction is spotting some of the pelicans that started the whole town.
This is definitely an outdoorsy kind of place. People that live here swim, ski, skydive, canoe, kayak, bicycle, hike, go boating and anything else you can think of. The Sebastian Inlet State Park even has waves to please surfers! Outdoor activities include visiting Pelican Island to pay homage to the bird that started it all. If feeling the urge to experience some hectic life, head for U.S. Route 1 and go north or south. But why ruin a perfectly good thing?