Hotels in Indialantic or Indian Harbour Beach?
July 10, 2008 8:32 AM   Subscribe

Any recommendations for hotels in the Melbourne Beach, Florida area?

My husband and I are attending a wedding in the Indialantic and Indian Harbour Beach areas of Florida on August 2 and are looking for any good experiences that you might have had anywhere in this area. We are looking to spend between $90 and $150 per night.

I would also love it if you have any recommendations for restaurants and activities in the area that are a must. (We’ve done, and loved, the Kennedy Space Center.)
posted by LightMayo to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total)
I haven't stayed in a hotel in the Melbourne area.

My favorite restaurant had a fire recently
. They're closed. Try Long Doggers for good, really casual food like hamburgers, hot dogs, fish and chips, etc.

Do you like baseball? The Manatees are at home when you'll be in town. Check them out, it's always a fun time.
posted by LoriFLA at 9:54 AM on July 10, 2008

That's a pretty specific locale, not sure how much feedback you'll get, but luckily this is basically my back yard. Lived in IHB for a few years now I live in Melbourne/Palm Bay (across the river).

Unfortunately your options are limited - this isn't a huge vacation destination so quality accomodations are a bit sparse - people tend to spend their time a little ways north in Cocoa Beach or little ways south in Vero Beach.

Fortunately, the hotels we do have are nice and you should be able to get something within your price range. The triple-whammy hurricanes we had a couple of years ago did a real number of most of the beachfront hotels so they are all relatively if not completely renovated.

If you're looking to stay beachside, the larger hotels (all right on the beach) would be, moving from south to north:

-DoubleTree Guest Suites Melbourne Beach: I have not spent any time in this hotel however it used to be a Comfort Suites (or Quality suites, one of those). It consists of Two beach-facing towers so I believe every room will have a beachfront view. This hotel is smack dab in the middle of the two major causeways linking the barrier island to the mainland. If you're flying into Melbourne Int'l Airport it's not far in either direction, although the southern one (Melbourne Causeway) is probably a little faster.

- The Crown Plaza: This is the only hotel I've been in since the hurricanes.. It's very nice inside, has a pretty good sized pool, outdoor bar and dining and live entertainment on the deck. The room I saw was a 1 bedroom suite overlooking the beach. Due to the layout of the hotel (2 buildings with the pool in the center) your view could be of the pool/ inner corridor with a small view of the ocean, on the outside with a full view north or south, or one of the select rooms at the 'end' which overlook the beach. As for location, this hotel is a little closer to the northern causeway, so it's not too far in either direction to take one of the bridges depending on where you want to go.

- Hilton Melbourne Beach (Despite actually being in Indialantic): I have never been in this one so I'm not sure how nice it is, but it's a Hilton so I imagine it can't be too bad. This is about 1 block south of the Eau Gallie Causeway (pronounced "Oh gal-e"). The hotel is situated diagonally to the beach so you either have a full view of the ocean facing south or you have a view of the island/iriver facing north.

- Radission Suites Hotel: Actually directly next door to (north of) the Hilton and at the very end of the Eau Gallie Causeway. I have only been in the lobby of this hotel but again, I would expect it to have nice accomodations. At the very least the lobby/restaurant seemed nice. All rooms in this hotel directly face the beach. The hotel looks like a big wall and it can easily be seen from across the river while driving on US1.

If for some reason you don't want to stay on the beach, there is also a Hilton just offsite the Melbourne Airport, an Extended Stay America close to that as well and a Courtyard By Marriott across from the mall. To get from the airport to the beaches doesn't really take long, maybe 10 minutes if that.

Beyond that it's really your run of the mill Days Inn, Holiday Inn, etc scattered throughout the area anywhere from I-95 to beachside, although what I've already listed is pretty much the only beachfront accomodations you can get, aside from some 60's era courtyard motorlodges which probably isn't what you're looking for. A quick Orbitz search shows one in Satellite Beach which is probably another 10 minutes north. While Satellite Beach is nice there's even less going on there - it's primarily a community right outside of Patrick Airforce Base.

On to activities:

Of course, the beaches. If you want a nice beach with facilities, I would recommend Pelican Beach in Satellite Beach, which has the restrooms, pavilions with grills, etc. The Indialantic beach & boardwalk which is at the very end of the Melbourne Causeway. There is a park there with metered parking, picnic tables with grills, clean bathroom/shower facilities, a boardwalk along the dunes, a few restaurants and some shops with your average "5 shirts for $10" and seashell art fare. I must suggest stopping by for a slice of pizza at 'Bizarro's' pizzeria. It's real NYC style pizza, the guys that own it are from NYC and they haven't lost the attitude. It's a must-visit for people who visit us here. There's also the Ocean View Diner a few doors down with regular sit-down seating. It's not fancy, typical diner feel but they have great food. I believe the owners are greek so they also have a number of greek items like gyros, baklavah and all that jazz. The boardwalk tends to be the more popular location for both visitors and locals due to the convenience of getting there as well as the businesses that line the boardwalk. A little farther south in Melbourne Beach (about 10 minutes) is another good beach with facilities/tables/grills and tends to be much quieter, but is not really close to any businesses/restaurants - that's Spessard Holland beach.

Other activities - we kind of lack in that department as well. About 30 minutes or so south of Melbourne Beach is the Sebastian Inlet - this may also be a beach destination combined with sightseeing and fishing if that interests you. It's where the Indian River flows into the ocean. There's plenty of beach here, grills, picnic tables, etc. There is a tide pool and a long jetty sticking out into the ocean which on a busy day is lined with people fishing.. lots of seagulls and pelicans can be found here. This is a state park and I believe there is a $10 per car fee or somewhere around there. Not too bad if you're spending an afternoon there.

On the other end of the county is Port Canaveral - in the vicinity of the Space Center. If you're there on a Saturday you can watch the big cruise ships leaving around 4 or 5pm or so. There's also a large park (Jetty Park) with.. a large jetty going out into the ocean. This is also a campground.. people like to gather here to picnic and do the bon voyage thing with the boats. If you're in that area there's a great restaurant called the TikiBar, also on the water.. It's an inside/outside kind of bar/restaurant with great food and strong drinks. Also at the port is SunCruz and Sterling Casino cruises. They go out at least once a day during the week and at least twice a day on the weekends. I think it's around a 4-5 hour cruise, and it's free. The boats basically motor out to international waters and flip on the machines and set up the tables. In fact some bargain hunters will take the free cruise, enjoy the free buffett, and not gamble at all.

Meanwhile, back in Melbourne proper, you could spend a couple of hours in downtown Melbourne, right off US1 and the Melbourne Causeway. This is the original Melbourne (by the train tracks, of course) which has recently undergone some very nice regentrification, with various anitque shops, gift shops and restaurants. Two spots for good dining here are Island Pasta (a Caribbean-themed pasta restaurant) and Meg O'Malley's, a nice Irish bar with some great food and live entertainment on the weekends. The second Friday of every month is also "Friday Fest" - they block off the roads and have a street party with music, arts, food, beer and wine. While in downtown Melbourne you can also walk along the Indian River Lagoon - if you're lucky you can see some manatees. From there you can walk along the boardwalk past the marina down to the river where there's yet another park and boat launch overlooking the causeway. If you're looking for fancier dining, the Chart House restaurant is at this location as well. One more place to stay if this area interests you - there is a nice bed & breakfast here.. the Crane Creek Inn - it sits right on the lagoon and from what I've heard it's a nice little place. It's just a block from there to the downtown shops.

If you want to watch the sun set over the river, there's a park with a pier going into the river - Melbourne Beach Pier. Kind of a nice photo spot as it's right by the causeway. If you take Riverside Drive (First traffic light if you're coming over the bridge) south from the Melbourne Beach causeway the pier/park is right where the road turn left and heads towards the beach.

So that's pretty much all I can really think of at the moment beyond shopping. There's the Melbourne Mall (take the Melbourne Causeway (192)) past US1 for a few miles. It's you standard mall with the usual flagship stores - Macy's, JC Penny's, etc. This is also the major 'restaurant row' of the area with TGIFriday's, Steak & Shake, Smokey Bones BBQ, a Mexican restaurant (El Chico's) Longhorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and a few others. Melbourne, like much of Florida, is the land of 7-11's and Chili's - lots of corporate chains and very few small or family owned operations - which is why I've kind of told you about the places I have. If you wanted a Bloomin' Onion you can probably get one where you are now. On that note, if you want good Mexican food, I would suggest Fiesta Azteca, which has two locations in the area. It's one of our favorite restaurants. There's one on 192 which doesn't have very good decor and there's one off of Eau Gallie which is nicer, in my opinion. Food's the same in either location though. El Chico is good as well but it has that corporate feel (not sure if it's a chain or not), but feel like it could be TGIFriday's with a sombrero.

One fairly new shopping area, much nicer than the mall area is The Avenues, which is in Viera, the next town north. Hop on I-95 from 192 and get off on Wickham Rd/Viera (2nd exit north). Or if you're staying beachside and want to head over there just take the Eau Gallie Causeway all the way to I-95 and take the next exit north. This is an open-air mall with some big flaship stores and lots of smaller stores and a few good restaurants: Mimi's Cafe, Melting Pot, and a few others I can't recall at the moment. There's also a nice movie theater there as well.

Lastly, there's a good-sized flea market that operates Friday through Sunday at the very end of Eau Gallie. It's on the west side of I-95, just go under the overpass - it's the only thing on that side of the road.

Thus concludes the longest mefi response I have (or probably ever will) post here. Good luck, have fun, if you have any more questions feel free to MeFi mail me.
posted by MarkLark at 11:19 AM on July 10, 2008

Ah, I had forgotten about the fire at Meg's. From what I understand it was isolated to the back of the building and they were estimating a month or so to reopen - and that was in May. If it turns out that Meg's is still closed there are a number of other restaurants and bars there. Also forgot to mention Main Street Pub, just up the street from there. Great for grabbing a few drinks either inside or on the back patio to live music.

Good call on the Manatees - that's also in Viera.

Also seconding Long Dogger's. Man now I'm hungry.
posted by MarkLark at 11:25 AM on July 10, 2008

Thank you both for your excellent answers. We are looking forward to the trip. We are flying into Orlando and driving over.

I had been thinking of the Crowne Plaza, but also found this one as a possibility: Tides Hotel Waterfront.
posted by LightMayo at 12:18 PM on July 10, 2008

Ah, I didn't even think of that place.. I don't travel that route so much anymore as I live in the next town south and work from home. It used to be a Radisson if memory serves. It does look nice.

This is not meant to detract, just so you're aware: The hotel is nestled between two very large car dealerships - that seems to be where 80% of the car dealerships in southern Brevard have come to rest, for some reason. Also, from time to time that particular area for some reason can be rather.. shall I say "aromatic" due to the river. The river isn't dirty but apparently the causeways choke the natural flow of the river. What used to be crystal clear water has now become muddied with lovely greenish-brown hue towards the banks. It's not all the time that it's like that so it very well could be fine while you're there but I did want to give you a head's up. It would be a nice view if you had a front-facing (riverside) room, otherwise you'll be overlooking the 2008 model blowout sales event. Plus, it's pretty close to downtown Melbourne if any of that interests you.
posted by MarkLark at 3:42 PM on July 10, 2008

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