From model cars to butterflies, many hobbyists have a collection of personal treasures. In the late Mel Fisher's case, his happened to consist of tons upon tons of gold, silver, and jewels. A pioneering diver, Fisher made his name in 1985 with the discovery of the 1622 wreck of the Spanish galleon Nuestra Se?ora de Atocha, felled as it was transporting 40 tons of gold and silver back to Europe. Rather than using the haul to fill his swimming pools, he set about making his discoveries known to the world while continuing to explore the ocean floor for other wrecked 17th- and 18th-century ships. Today, Mel Fisher's Treasure Museum awes visitors with a look at its namesake's remarkable life and collection.
Size: at least 10 mother lodes
Eye Catcher: a gleaming golden whistle from the Margarita site
The Collection: artifacts from a Spanish fleet that sank in 1715 on the treasure coast
Hands-On: Visitors can lift an actual Atocha gold bar?and purchase authentic unique coins in jewelry settings, treasure recreations, or nautical gifts.
With a Coast Guard–licensed crew and state-of-the-art equipment, Sebastian Inlet Parasailing offers adventure seekers a scenic and safe adrenaline rush. Adventurers depart from the marina at Captain Hiram's resort, soaring above the calm waters while seeking out dolphins, and other native animals. Afterward, they can unwind indoors or on the riverfront patio at Treasure Coast seafood restaurant, or sip drinks at one of the three tropical-style bars that comprise the SandBar. The resort maintains a festive ambiance with regular live entertainment, and also offers ecological boat tours and boat, jet-ski, and kayak rentals. After a long day of fun, parasailors can stay at the Inn's private-balcony deluxe suites. Hotel guests can relax and take advantage of the heated pool.
Along the aquatic arteries of the Indian River or out on the open ocean, Elite's guides lead anglers in kayaks to the best spots for casting a line. But that's not all the guides do—they can also arrange for island camping for an everyday getaway or a romantic night under the stars. Anyone aiming to get just a taste of nature can check out an eco tour designed to get you close to the local wildlife without ever having to touch anything.
Time seems to move at a more leisurely pace in the southern part of Brevard County, where the locals are friendly and the ocean's never more than a few miles away. Even so, the area's premier golf facility, Aquarina Country Club in Melbourne Beach, takes pride in the swiftness of its rounds. It won't take an entire day to work your way around the course's 18 holes?unless, of course, you come back for a second or third helping. In any case, golfers of all skill levels will find plenty to love on fairways that curl around live oaks, mangrove marshes, and nearly a dozen glistening lakes. The course actually sits within the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, meaning there's a high chance of spotting exotic flora or stumbling across a herd of wild golf carts.
Course at a Glance
* 18-hole, par 62 course
* Total of 4,313 yards from the tips
* Four tees per hole
* Course rating of 62.0
* Course slope of 107