Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, Vero Beach

4.3
#3 of 6 in Parks in Vero Beach
Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge is a United States National Wildlife Refuge located just off the western coast of Orchid Island in the Indian River Lagoon east of Sebastian, Florida. The refuge consists of a 3acre island that includes an additional 2.5acre of surrounding water and is located off the east coast of Florida of the Indian River Lagoon. Established by an executive order of President Theodore Roosevelt on March 14, 1903, Pelican Island was the first national wildlife refuge in the United States. It was created to protect egrets and other birds from extinction through plume hunting.Early historyPelican Island’s bird populations were threatened because of increased American settlement around the area in the mid-19th century. Many of the exotic birds were killed for their feathers, used in the fashion industry. Plumes from the birds were used to adorn ladies' hats of the day and at the time were worth more than their weight in gold.Paul Kroegel, a German immigrant, moved to Florida in 1881 and lived on the west bank of Indian River Lagoon. He was fascinated with the pelicans on the island. Being able to see the island from his home, Paul would watch the pelicans and other water birds. He eventually took an interest in the island and its protection. However, there was not any state or federal law to help him so he took control of the situation himself. Kroegel sailed to the island to stand guard and protect the birds and the island.
To visit Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge and get the most from your holiday in Vero Beach, create itinerary details personal to you using our Vero Beach trip planner .
Source
Create an itinerary including Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge
map
Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
180 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • This is the one where Teddy Roosevelt said"Is there anything to prevent me from making this a national refuge? When the answer came back no, Pelican Island became the first of many. How many? Walk the...  more »
  • We turned in here while staying at Disney's Vero Beach Resort. We were intrigued with the history behind this refuge and reading the brochure/website before our visit. We can say that we didn't have t...  more »
  • Maybe there is a specific time of the year for pelicans? We were driving past and turned in on a whim, so we came unprepared. On a Saturday morning mid-June this place was completely deserted by both ...  more »
Google
  • Wild and rustic landscape plenty of hiking trails... mosquito repellent in the summer is a must! Very Scenic Boardwalk
  • Very well maintained and easy to access. Unfortunately, I couldn't get close enough to anything to photograph well (even with 600mm).
  • Very quiet place. I've never seen many people around.
  • Nice place to tour. Call ahead for reservations.
  • Beautiful sunsets over the pond near the butterfly garden

Plan your trip to Vero Beach

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Where to stay in Vero Beach

Browse hotels, guesthouses, and unique homes and book your stay on the world's leading accommodation sites.
Live like a local, find unique places to stay
Millions of travel reviews on TripAdvisor

Plans in Vero Beach by other users

3 days in Vero Beach BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, kids, popular PREFERENCES: December, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Vero Beach BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Vero Beach BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 23 days in United States & Toronto BY A USER FROM CANADA February, culture, outdoors, beaches, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: February, culture, outdoors, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 21 days in Florida BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, teens, kids, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: June, teens, kids, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in Vero Beach BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, kids, popular PREFERENCES: July, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 17 days in New Orleans, Vero Beach & Orlando BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, kids, popular PREFERENCES: December, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 17 days in New Orleans, Vero Beach & Orlando BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, kids, popular PREFERENCES: December, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 60 days in United States BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA December, kids, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: December, kids, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in Vero Beach BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in Vero Beach BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 2 days in Vero Beach BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans