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Messing About on the River

A local's guide to lunching on the lagoon

Linda's fresh watermelon, gorgonzola and pecan salad. Purchase the August issue for the full recipe!

Linda's fresh watermelon, gorgonzola and pecan salad. Purchase the August issue for the full recipe!

A boat, a picnic and a cruise down the river. I think Scottish folk singer Josh MacRae must have been writing about our local waterways when he penned this little ditty back in the 1960s. For what better way is there to spend a summer day than messing about on the river?

Our little slice of paradise known as the Indian River Lagoon is an area of unrivaled beauty. Running for 156 miles from Ponce de Leon Inlet in Volusia County to the Jupiter Inlet in Palm Beach County, this estuary is home to over 3,000 species of plants and animals, with five state parks and four federal wildlife refuges preserving its unique diversity. Traversing this stretch of water by boat promises an up-close encounter with an ecosystem teeming with marine life and birds, totally inaccessible by car. Not to mention the stunning homes lining the mangrove-covered banks.

A myriad of spoil islands, created when the lagoon was dredged back in the 1950s and 1960s, have become recreational playgrounds for boaters, fishermen, nature lovers and swimmers. Picnic tables, fire pits and camping sites are available free to the public on a first come, first served basis. 

And if you don’t have access to a boat, there are plenty of opportunities for affordable full-day and half-day watercraft rentals. From kayaks and pontoons to cabin cruisers and fishing boats, many come with shaded cockpits for sightseeing and dining, while others supply food, drinks and crew.