Awhile back, I mentioned Canaveral National Seashore as a great day trip for all sorts of enthusiasts. The Canaveral national Seashore is actually a very large national park with a northern and southern entrance that spans multiple counties, and crosses a large swath of the Indian River. This also includes a big chunk of Mosquito Lagoon. When the little guy and I checked it out, I was surprised to find that there was a small section of the national park called Seminole Rest that is accessible from the mainland in Oak Hill. I have lived in the area now for quite a few years and once again and had no earthly idea this National Seashore Park even existed!
Before going, I actually checked with the National Parks Service for the hours of operation. The park itself is open from sunrise to sunset 7 days a week, but the main draw of this National Seashore Park is the Instone House. This historic location has been turned into an exhibit and a small gift shop. The bottom floor is open and has been beautifully restored. If you’re a fan of beautiful wood work and Florida architecture, you won’t want to miss this. Their hours are a bit strange, but since it’s not a huge tourist attraction, they have limited hours of operation. While the park is open longer, the Instone house itself is open from noon to 4PM Wednesday through Sunday. If you plan to visit this part of the National Seashore Park, you will want to go during these hours.
Also on the property are historic shell mounds left by the Timiquan and Ais indian tribes. I won’t spoil the educational experience for you, it’s very significant when it comes to local shell mounds. The private family that has owned the site for years prior to being turned into a National Park, really was pro active with preservation efforts. Surrounding the property is a .3 mile handicapped accessible trail. The entire trail is either concrete or planked to allow those with disabilities to easily access the entire area. Because this is a historic and archaeological site, visitors are not allowed to walk off the established trail.
Because this site is more about historical significance, very few amenities are provided. There are a few benches to rest as you walk along the trail but that’s it. There are no playgrounds, picnic areas, or grills anywhere on property. That’s just not quite what this park is about. I think that children would easily become bored with this location but is a great educational and historic resource. Seminole Rest is a quick trip, but not a destination I would drive hours to come visit. Don’t get me wrong, Seminole Rest is beautiful but just not really a major attraction.
There is however one really awesome way to visit this National Seashore park, and that’s by boat! There is a small dock that is right between the Instone house and the other outlying building. If you are kayaking or boating in the area it would be pretty cool to dock there and see what’s on shore. I can easily see kids getting excited about pulling up to Seminole Rest via the waterway just to explore what you have found.
Overall, unless I was looking for a great place to get out and exercise by walking or my little guy turns out to be really big into history, archaeology, or indian culture, I don’t plan on returning to this part of the National Seashore any time soon. For visitors that aren’t familiar with the area, since Seminole Rest is accessible through the mainland, it takes a good 30 to 45 minutes to reach from either the North or South main entrances of Canaveral National Seashore. The bonus is that there is no charge, but don’t be disappointed if this remote location proves
Seminole Rest National Seashore Park Details:
Canaveral National Seashore Park Website: http://www.nps.gov/cana/index.htm
Address for GPS: 210 River Road, Oak Hill, Florida
Hours of Operation (Instone House):
Wednesday through Sunday, from 12:00pm to 4:00pm.
General Park Hours:
6am to sunset 7 days a week
The phone number is (386) 345-1997.