Fort Pierce, , Florida is one of the Treasure Coast's most beautiful cities, often referred to as the "Sunrise City" for its gorgeous Atlantic Ocean and coastal inlet views. Visitors can peruse boutiques, dine at excellent seafood restaurants, and catch theatrical performances at historic landmark venues throughout the city's award-winning restored historic downtown district.
Some of Southeast Florida's top marine centers and aquariums are located in or near the city, including the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University and the nationally-renowned Smithsonian Marine Ecosystems Exhibit at the St. Lucie County Aquarium. A number of beautiful Florida state parks are within day trip distance, including the lovely Fort Pierce Inlet State Park, a top area swimming and surfing beach.
1.The Navy SEAL Museum
© The Navy SEAL Museum
The Navy SEAL Museum is one of the United States' premiere Naval history museums, preserving the story and legacy of the Navy's Sea, Air, Land (SEAL) and Underwater Demolition (UDT) Teams. The museum, which is located just outside the city of Fort Pierce in St. Lucie County, was opened to the public as a formal museum facility in 1985, following its unofficial establishment within the Fort Pierce Treasure Museum by former UDT Frogman Albert Stankie. Today, the museum is home to a wide variety of rare SEAL-related artifacts, including WWII-era demolition training obstacles, Vietnam-era Patrol Boat Rivers, and training devices related to UDT involvement in Apollo spacecraft recovery. The museum's UDT-SEAL Memorial lists the names of all Frogmen and SEALs who have died in service, while a memorial wall honors SEAL Medal of Honor recipients. Special events held throughout the year include a three-day Veteran's Day tribute celebration.
3300 N Hwy A1A, Fort Pierce, FL 34949, Phone: 772-595-5845
2.The Manatee Observation and Education Center
© The Manatee Observation and Education Center
The Manatee Observation and Education Center is one of Fort Pierce's premiere environmental education and wildlife observation centers, located along the city's beautiful downtown Atlantic Ocean and Indian River Lagoon coastlines. The lovely coastal education center is located at an important congregational site for Florida manatee species, an area which became a significant manatee habitat due to the warming of area waters from the activity of the Henry B. King Power Plant. Visitors can explore the center's hands-on marine life exhibits, including its covered observational walkway and two-story observation tower, which offer up-close glimpses of manatees in their natural habitats. Beautiful botanical gardens strive to replace native Florida plants and serve as a habitat for butterflies. Other exhibits include a touch tank, a saltwater aquarium, and a children's activity center.
480 N Indian River Dr, Fort Pierce, FL 34950, Phone: 772-429-6266
3.Fort Pierce Inlet State Park
Fort Pierce Inlet State Park is a gorgeous 340-acre state park located near Fort Pierce on beautiful North Hutchinson Island, near the Fort Pierce Inlet. The Florida state park is one of the region's best spots for outdoor recreational activities throughout the year, home to lovely beachfront, sand dune, and coastal hammock habitats. The park is known throughout the nation as one of South Florida's top surfing spots, hosting high-level surfing competitions between September and February each year. Parkgoers can also swim at the park's public Atlantic Ocean swimming beach throughout the year or enjoy excellent conditions for canoeing, kayaking, snorkeling, and fishing along the waters of beautiful Tucker Cove and the Indian River Lagoon. A primitive campground hosts youth groups throughout the year. Other attractions include an observation tower at the end of the park's Marsh Rabbit Run Trail, which offers panoramic bird's-eye views of the island's terrain.
905 Shorewinds Dr, Fort Pierce, FL 34949, Phone: 772-468-3985
Sunrise Theatre is a beautifully-restored historic theater in Fort Pierce's historic downtown district, originally constructed in 1922 by architect John N. Sherwood. The Mediterranean Revival-style was known as Florida's premiere cultural institution throughout much of the mid-2oth century, hosting performances by leading national artists. After falling into disrepair in the 1980s, the theater was restored in the early 2000s and added to the National Register of Historic Places. Today, it presents touring Broadway music performances, pop music concerts, and musical and comedy variety acts, including performances by legendary artists such as Willie Nelson, Diana Ross, and Ziggy Marley. In addition to the facility's main 1,200-seat theater, a Black Box theater hosts jazz jam, comedy, and improv sessions each week.
117 S 2nd St, Fort Pierce, FL 34950, Phone: 772-461-4775
5.The St. Lucie County Aquarium
© The St. Lucie County Aquarium
The St. Lucie County Aquarium is Fort Pierce's premiere aquatic and marine life museum facility, anchored around the beautiful Smithsonian Marine Ecosystems Exhibit, which was transferred to the care of the aquarium in November 2000 after its retirement from the prestigious Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. The stunning 3,000-foot marine exhibit is home to an unparalleled model of a living Caribbean coral reef ecosystem, the first of its kind to be presented to the public. While at the aquarium, visitors can also peruse more than 5,000 additional gallons of marine life exhibits, dedicated to recreating the habitats and marine life of six Florida maritime and estuarine ecosystems.
420 Seaway Dr, Fort Pierce, FL 34949, Phone: 772-465-3271
6.The St. Lucie County Regional History Center
The St. Lucie County Regional History Center, commonly referred to as the St. Lucie County Historical Museum, showcases the history and culture of the St. Lucie County region from indigenous times through the present day. The museum was originally opened to the public in 1968 by the St. Lucie County Historical Commission and was transferred to the care of the St. Lucie County Historical Society in 1988. Today, guests can view lovely exhibits on the region's Seminole and Ais indigenous groups, including reconstructed replica encampments and cultural artifacts. Exhibits also detail the region's fishing industry, Spanish exploration and shipwreck era, and early civic and economic ventures, including failed efforts to transform the region into the "Pineapple Growing Capital of the World."
414 Seaway Dr, Fort Pierce, FL 34949, Phone: 772-462-1795
7.Dolphin Watch Boat Tours
Dolphin Watch Boat Tours is the premiere touring company of Florida's Treasure Coast, led by Captain Adam Pozniak. All tours take place aboard the company's 25-foot pontoon boat, which accommodates, up to six passengers at a time. Tours last two hours, extending for approximately 12 to 15 miles along the gorgeous Indian River Lagoon, one of the United States' most unspoiled marine ecosystems. All tours depart from St. Lucie County's Stan Blum Boat Ramp and travel for two hours, extending throughout the Intracoastal Waterway to the Port of Fort Pierce. Along the way, participants can view wild dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, fish, and shore birds in their natural habitats. Custom tours are available, including sunrise, sunset, and evening date tours.
613 N Causeway, Fort Pierce, FL 34949, Phone: 772-464-6673
8.Main Street Fort Pierce
Main Street Fort Pierce preserves downtown Fort Pierce's beautiful historic district, originally established in 1988 to oversee revitalization of the city's gorgeous historic buildings and increase economic activity within the city's downtown. Visitors to the downtown district can enjoy a plethora of unique shopping and dining opportunities, ranging from hip boutiques and art galleries to lively bars and seafood restaurants. Historic landmarks include the 1,200-seat restored Sunrise Theatre, which presents live performances of Broadway touring shows and internationally-renowned music and comedy acts. Special events held throughout the year include Friday Fest events, Jazz Markets, Bike Nights, and the annual Sandy Shoes Festival and Sights and Sounds on Second celebration.
9.Heathcote Botanical Gardens
Heathcote Botanical Gardens are one of Fort Pierce's most beautiful outdoor attractions, spanning five acres along Savannah Road. The gardens were originally established in 1985 by landscape architect Molly Crimmons and her husband Jim after the purchase of five acres of land from the City of Fort Pierce. Today, the lovely subtropical botanical garden facility is the home of the renowned James J. Smith Bonsai Gallery, the United States' largest public tropical bonsai collection, which showcases more than 100 gorgeous trees. Themed garden rooms include a Japanese garden, a reflection garden, an herb garden, a rainforest display, and a palm and cycad walk.
210 Savannah Rd, Fort Pierce, FL 34982, Phone: 772-464-4672
10.The Downtown Fort Pierce Farmers Market
The Downtown Fort Pierce Farmers Market has been ranked as one of the nation's top regular farmer's market events by America's Favorite Farmer's Markets, presented every Saturday morning between 8:00am and noon along Fort Pierce's lovely downtown waterfront. More than 70 vendors sell goods at the market each week, including regional farmers and producers selling the freshest bounty the Florida region has to offer. Pantry goods, spices, and exotic plants are also sold at the market by vendors such as Anita's Guacamole, Little Bake Shop, Gardens by the Bay, and Gruwell Apiary. A food court highlights the best of the region's culinary scene, featuring top area food trucks and non-alcoholic beverage vendors.
101 Melody Ln, Fort Pierce, FL 34950, Phone: 772-940-1145
11.Summer Crush Vineyard and Winery
© Summer Crush Vineyard and Winery
Summer Crush Vineyard and Winery is a delightful family-operated boutique winery, originally opened in Fort Pierce by Gary and Susan Roberts and their sons Allen and Bud in 2012. The winery has grown to cultivate more than 10 acres of estate grapes, including high-quality Carlos, Noble, and Doreen muscadine grape varietals. Cleverly-themed wine blends include the company's Marlin Monroe rosé, Rated ARRR semi-sweet red, and Cap'N Polly's Private Plunder dessert wine. Fruit wines are also showcased, including the company's unique Mangotiki mango wine. Winery visitors can sample the company's wines Tuesdays through Sundays throughout the morning hours, with tours available upon request for an additional fee. Special events throughout the year include food truck popups and live music performances and festivals.
4200 Johnston Rd, Fort Pierce, FL 34951, Phone: 772-460-0500
12.Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University
© Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University, commonly known as HBOI, is a 146-acre nonprofit oceanographic campus in Fort Pierce, originally founded in 1971 for the advancement of biological oceanography, aquaculture, and deep sea ecology practices. The campus, which is located along the banks of the gorgeous Indian River Lagoon, operates with a staff of more than 160 scientists and marine biologists, overseeing important oceanography research and conservation programs throughout Florida. Visitors can explore the exhibits of the Harbor Branch Ocean Discovery Center, which showcases aquarium tanks and a video theater playing documentaries about the region's marine life and research projects.
5600 US 1 North, Fort Pierce, FL 34946, Phone: 772-242-2400
13.A. E. Backus Gallery and Museum
© A. E. Backus Gallery and Museum
A. E. Backus Gallery and Museum is the preeminent international showcase of the works of Florida painter A.E. "Bean" Backus, the first native Florida artist to build a career painting the state's gorgeous natural landscapes. Throughout the 20th century, Backus became known as "Florida's painter laureate," also serving as a prominent civil rights advocate for African-American artists as part of the Florida Highwaymen collective. Today, the museum serves as a retrospective of Backus' seven-decade painting career, hosting the only permanent exhibition in the state honoring the Highwaymen's lives and works. Rotating special exhibits also showcase the works of prominent national and international artists, with a focus on artists with humanitarian activism involvement.
500 N Indian River Dr, Fort Pierce, FL 34950, Phone: 772-465-0630
14.Sailfish Brewing Company
Sailfish Brewing Company was the first microbrewery on Florida's Treasure Coast at its opening to the public in 2013 by Nick Bischoff. Since 2017, the company has operated a 20-barrel brewhouse and public tap room in the heart of Fort Pierce's downtown district, crafting fresh, handcrafted, and highly drinkable beer styles for all palates. Year-round brews include the company's White Marlin Wit, Billfish Pils, Sunrise City IPA, and Sailor's Choice Saison. 20 taps at the company's taproom also highlight seasonal styles such as marzens, rauchbiers, barleywines, and sour ales. Taproom guests can enjoy a full menu of gastropub-style pizzas, flatbreads, and craft appetizers from the company's onsite Crafted Pie restaurant. Bar games are available for play, including giant Jenga, foosball, cornhole, and Nintendo Wii. Special events hosted throughout the year include live music jam sessions and weekly Wednesday small-batch tasting sessions.
130 N 2nd St, Fort Pierce, FL 34950, Phone: 772-577-4382
15.Savannas Preserve State Park
Savannas Preserve State Park is a delightful Florida state park located along Fort Pierce's Atlantic Ocean coastline, stretching along to nearby Jensen Beach. The gorgeous park protects more than 7,000 acres of natural coastline habitat along the region's shores, including Southeast Florida's largest existing freshwater marsh environment. Scrubby and pine flatwood, basin marsh, and wet prairie ecosystems are also protected, along with the open grassland savanna habitats that give the park its name. Visitors can spot native Florida wildlife such as American alligators, gopher tortoises, sandhill cranes, and threatened Florida scrub jays. Other recreational opportunities include fishing, hiking, biking, and equestrian riding. At the Savannas Education Center, visitors can peruse living exhibits and embark on regular guided interpretive tours, including canoeing and kayaking trips.
1400 E Midway Rd, Fort Pierce, FL 34982, Phone: 772-464-7855
16.Jack Island Preserve State Park
Jack Island Preserve State Park is a lovely Florida state park located near Fort Pierce Inlet State Park, accessible from downtown Fort Pierce via A1A. The park, which is located on a beautiful barrier island connected to the mainland via a footbridge, is home to more than four miles of nature walking and hiking trails, which showcase native wildlife such as Florida manatees, mangrove crabs, osprey, roseate spoonbills, and little blue herons. An observation tower at the end of the park's nature trails rises 30 feet above the Indian River Lagoon, providing sweeping panoramas of the region's natural scenery. Ample opportunities for birding and nature photography are offered throughout the park, including accessible observation opportunities along a coastal boardwalk.
Unnamed Rd, Fort Pierce, FL 34949
17.Avalon State Park
© Laure F/stock.adobe.com
Avalon State Park is a beautiful Florida state park on North Hutchinson Island, accessible via Fort Pierce along Route A1A. The park protects over a mile of undeveloped unspoiled beachfront, providing a significant natural habitat for native Florida wildlife such as endangered loggerhead, leatherback, and Atlantic green sea turtles. A plethora of outdoor recreational opportunities are offered throughout the year, including Atlantic Ocean swimming along the park's beautiful coastline. Visitors should note that no lifeguards are staffed on duty at the beach throughout the year and should exercise caution in waters accordingly. Canoe and kayak launch sites are also available, along with areas for snorkeling and for fishing for species such as snook, pompano, whiting, bluefish, and red and black drum.
N Hwy A1A, Fort Pierce, FL 34949, Phone: 772-468-3985
18.Last Mango Fishing Charters
Last Mango Fishing Charters is helmed by Captain Tris Colket, offering exciting fishing charters and adventures aboard the company's custom-constructed 40-foot Express Sport fishing vessel Last Mango. All fishing charters embark from the Fort Pierce City Marina and last for half-days or full-days, with custom excursion options available to suit the needs of beginner through expert anglers. On full-day excursions, anglers can catch dolphin, sailfish, wahoo, grouper, kingfish, amberjack, and cobia. Overnight swordfish excursions are also offered year-round, along with specialty excursions to sites in the Bahamas known for populations of tuna and marlin. Extended stay Bahamas trips stay at beautiful sites within Abaco and Grand Bahama Island.
1 Avenue A, Fort Pierce, FL 34950, Phone: 772-559-0594
© Manatee Island
Manatee Island is a delicious bar and grill in downtown Fort Pierce, owned and operated by couples Richele and Michael Politano and Elida and Paul Gonnella since 2010. The colorful, casual restaurant serves up lunch, happy hour, dinner, and late-night service daily in dining rooms overlooking the beautiful Fort Pierce Inlet on Hutchinson Island. High-quality land and sea entree options include New York strip steak, Bayou Stew-style jambalaya, mahi mahi fish tacos, jumbo lump crab cakes, and three-cheese lobster macaroni and cheese. A full menu of gourmet burger options is available throughout the day, along with clever shareable gastropub-style appetizers. The restaurant's tiki bar serves up tropical cocktails throughout the evening hours, while its performance area showcases live music Wednesday through Sunday evenings.
1640 Seaway Dr, Fort Pierce, FL 34949, Phone: 772-242-8460
20.2nd Street Bistro
2nd Street Bistro is a casual American-style bistro located within Fort Pierce's historic downtown district, adjacent to landmarks such as the 1922 Sunrise Theater. The bistro, which is operated by restaurateur Gary Sofen, is housed within a beautiful restored 1929 historic building and showcases antique memorabilia as decor throughout its dining room. A full menu of casual American fare highlights land and sea favorites, including seafood and taco platters, clever sandwiches, and health-conscious wraps and paninis. Hand-tossed flatbreads are available with traditional or gluten-free cauliflower crusts, topped with delicious toppings such as lump crab meat, artichokes, and vine-ripe tomatoes. The restaurant's bistro tap house also serves up an extensive list of regional and national craft microbrews.
122 N 2nd St, Fort Pierce, FL 34950, Phone: 772-293-9191
21.Al's Family Farms Citrus
© Al's Family Farms Citrus
Al's Family Farms Citrus has been owned and operated by the Schorner family since the 1980s, owned and operated today by third-generation family member Jeff Schorner. The produce market has become an institution within the Fort Pierce-Vero Beach region over the past four decades, selling the most fresh, high-quality, locally-produced citrus fruit varieties within the Indian River growing region. All fruit is handpicked from local groves and sold fresh daily. Visitors can sample the company's delicious fresh-squeezed orange juice or enjoy tours of the company's packinghouse operations, detailing wet-line operations. Fun family activities such as orange chute racing are offered at the O.J. Corral, while delectable Mexican and American-style fare is served up at the Red Barn Grill restaurant.
2001 N Kings Hwy, Fort Pierce, FL 34951, Phone: 772-460-0556
21 Best Things to Do in Fort Pierce, Florida
- The Navy SEAL Museum, Photo: The Navy SEAL Museum
- The Manatee Observation and Education Center, Photo: The Manatee Observation and Education Center
- Fort Pierce Inlet State Park, Photo: Stephen/stock.adobe.com
- Sunrise Theatre, Photo: salajean/stock.adobe.com
- The St. Lucie County Aquarium, Photo: The St. Lucie County Aquarium
- The St. Lucie County Regional History Center, Photo: Miles/stock.adobe.com
- Dolphin Watch Boat Tours, Photo: IgorZh/stock.adobe.com
- Main Street Fort Pierce, Photo: tonktiti/stock.adobe.com
- Heathcote Botanical Gardens, Photo: Peter/stock.adobe.com
- The Downtown Fort Pierce Farmers Market, Photo: amenohi/stock.adobe.com
- Summer Crush Vineyard and Winery, Photo: Summer Crush Vineyard and Winery
- Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University, Photo: Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University
- A. E. Backus Gallery and Museum, Photo: A. E. Backus Gallery and Museum
- Sailfish Brewing Company, Photo: volhanalhachova/stock.adobe.com
- Savannas Preserve State Park, Photo: Richard/stock.adobe.com
- Jack Island Preserve State Park, Photo: baon/stock.adobe.com
- Avalon State Park, Photo: Laure F/stock.adobe.com
- Last Mango Fishing Charters, Photo: digidreamgrafix/stock.adobe.com
- Manatee Island, Photo: Manatee Island
- 2nd Street Bistro, Photo: BillionPhotos.com/stock.adobe.com
- Al's Family Farms Citrus, Photo: Al's Family Farms Citrus
- Cover Photo: Stephen/stock.adobe.com