On Florida’s East Coast rests an idyllic vacation spot – picture palm trees and pristine beaches – that serves up an array of activities both in and out of the water.
In St. Lucie County, visitors dive shipwrecks, reel in record-breaking sportfish and paddle lush rivers. They admire exclusive artwork in downtown galleries, catch major league spring training games and play championship golf.
Or, visitors simply kick back and take a nap on a tranquil beach.
Easily accessible from Interstate 95 and the Florida Turnpike, St. Lucie County is a short distance from West Palm Beach and Orlando. This tropical destination is laidback, yet boasts an assortment of cultural and leisure activities.
Begin your journey in one of the oldest communities on Florida’s East Coast: Fort Pierce. The charmingly restored downtown area is home to restaurants, shops and galleries.
Stroll along brick-lined streets, taking time to pop into Beads & Baubles and A.E. Backus Gallery.
Feast on Thai ginger mussels and seafood ravioli at Yellow Tail Grille & Raw Bar before enjoying a show at the historic Sunrise Theatre. The renovated theatre hosts musical acts, touring Broadway shows, dance troupes and orchestras. Upcoming performances include a Christmas concert by Grammy Award-winner Kenny Rogers.
The city has a lively arts and music scene, with jazz and blues festivals held year ’round, and Art Walk, a monthly sidewalk art show. Don’t miss the downtown Farmers’ Market, a Saturday morning tradition where vendors sell everything from freshly squeezed juice to scented lotions.
If you’re a water enthusiast, slip into scuba gear and explore reefs and wrecks. Centuries-old Spanish shipwrecks rest as close as 200 yards offshore, or check out the reef at Fort Pierce Inlet State Park.
Or, book a deep-sea fishing charter and head out the Fort Pierce Inlet to angle for sailfish, swordfish and mahi-mahi. Another option: Explore inshore fishing in the Indian River Lagoon, an area teeming with more than 4,000 plant and animal species. Charter and professional guide services are available.
Play to your sporty side in Port St. Lucie, the Spring Training home of the New York Mets. At Tradition Field, watch the Mets square off against heavy hitters like the Los Angeles Dodgers.
During the seventh-inning stretch, order a tropical drink from the on-site tiki bar before settling into your seat in the newly renovated Thomas J. White Stadium, which offers “outfield” seating, a party terrace and luxury suites. Spring Training typically runs late February through early April.
If golf is your forte, tee off at the prestigious PGA Village, home to 54 holes of award-winning links designed by greats Tom Fazio and Pete Dye. The Village also features a 35-acre Learning Center that provides state-of-the-art instruction and the Historical Center, which documents golf’s history. A recent display included the Ryder Cup trophy captured by the United States over Europe last September.
In all, the county has more than 300 holes of championship golf.
Nature lovers delight in hiking, bird-watching and canoeing at Savannas Preserve State Park, which is home to bobcat, deer and bald eagles, to name a few.
End the day with dinner under the stars at West End Grill, a family-owned restaurant. The cozy venue dishes up delicacies as well as live music on select evenings.
Just minutes from the action of Port St. Lucie sit 21 miles of undeveloped beaches. On Hutchinson Island, relaxation comes naturally.
Spread a blanket on the sun-kissed sand and picnic without distraction. Ride horses along the shoreline. Build sandcastles.
This barrier island offers numerous public beach access points. Check out Walton Rocks Dog Beach if four-legged friends are travel companions.
If you're on the island in June or July, go on an FP&L Turtle Walk, where you'll have the privilege of watching a sea turtle lay her eggs in the sand. Reservations are required, so call 800-334-5483 starting May 1.
This article is brought to you by St. Lucie County Tourist Development Council. For more information about all of St. Lucie County’s entertainment and relaxation options, call 800-344-TGIF (8443) or visit www.visitstluciefla.com.