by Camilla Herrera | June 3, 2019

Unspoiled Fort Pierce

Discover one of Florida’s last hidden gems with natural and cultural beauty, from the beach to its waterfront downtown.

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Kayak through the mangroves of Fort Pierce. Photography courtesy of Visit St. Lucie Florida

Along the 21 miles of sandy shore on Fort Pierce’s Hutchinson Island, find beaches that feel far removed from most of South Florida. It’s a barrier island known for its serene, uncrowded nature; no hovering skyscrapers crowding the skyline here.

What the Fort Pierce beaches do have are an abundance of protected parks, waters to explore and amenities that invite you to stay all day (free admission and parking at all beaches with the exception of state parks). Surf, paddleboard, kayak, windsurf and snorkel to nearby natural reefs. Picnic on rocky banks, cook burgers on the grill and enjoy one of the many seaside pavilions—or simply park the family on a stretch of unspoiled sand with nothing in sight but dunes, water and sunshine.

FERTILE FISHING GROUND

Fort Pierce sits on the boundary of temperate and subtropical ecosystems, making its waters fertile ground for a broad spectrum of fish. Rent a charter or captain your own boat around the waterways of Fort Pierce Inlet and beyond, where anglers hook everything from grouper to snapper to snook. Make a run for the Gulf Stream, just 15 miles offshore and renowned for fighting fish like swordfish, sailfish, mahi-mahi and kingfish. Inshore, the Indian River Lagoon is one of the most biologically diverse estuaries in North America and a haven for hundreds of fish species. Hop in a kayak or charter a guide and spend the day casting for some of the best fish in the world, or simply drop a line from land at the Fort Pierce jetty.

Take a scenic horseback stroll along Hutchinson Island. Photography courtesy of Visit St. Lucie Florida

EQUESTRIAN DREAMS

Who hasn’t dreamt of riding horses on the beach? Hutchinson Island is one of the few spots in Florida, and the only one in South Florida, where those dreams become a reality. The family-owned Beach Tours on Horseback has guided visitors on rides along the beach and through local equestrian parks for 25 years. Spend an hour walking the sand and watching the tide roll in from an elevated perch or soak in Old Florida on a half-day trail ride through St. Lucie County preserves, surrounded by glorious oak trees, vibrant wetlands and lush hammocks.

A DOWNTOWN REVIVAL

Don’t let the natural splendor of Fort Pierce keep you from venturing into its historic downtown and experiencing the area’s endearing charm and rich culture, which has earned it a spot among the top 20 small towns in America. From the Navy SEAL Museum to the Sunrise Theatre and local eateries and breweries like Sailfish Brewing Company and Pierced Ciderworks, downtown Fort Pierce is the perfect destination for the food-loving history buff with a penchant for the arts. Toast happy hour at the 2nd Street Bistro or the newly opened Bottom’s Up Public House, enjoy the lobster mac and cheese at 12A Buoy or tuck in for a steak at The Braford, known for its locally sourced ranch-to-table prime cuts of beef. After the indulgence, stroll through the city’s monthly Art Walk festival or take a self-guided tour of the Mural Trail, a collection of paintings depicting the history of the region. With something for everyone to love, Fort Pierce remains one of Florida’s last hidden gems.


Visit St. Lucie