Start with a generous measure of old-Florida history and charm. Add miles of pristine beaches and winding waterways. Toss in watersports, championship golf, biking, horseback riding and big-league baseball. Stir in the vibe of a lively arts, entertainment, shopping and dining scene. Then put all that together in one destination just a three-hour drive from Ocala and what do you get?
It’s St. Lucie, the pristine jewel of Florida’s Treasure Coast that boasts the historic city of Fort Pierce, the vibrant city of Port St. Lucie and the gorgeous, uncrowded beaches of Hutchinson Island. With three truly distinctive, totally affordable Florida experiences, St. Lucie is an easily accessible slice of coastal paradise, designed by nature without a single storybook princess or roller coaster in sight.
Experience: A charming seaside town with history, art, festivals, fishing and fun
Prepare to step back in time to a rare “old-Florida” experience at historic Fort Pierce. Stroll the idyllic downtown—right up to the edge of the Indian River Lagoon—where you’ll find shops, casual dining, year-round festivals, deep-sea fishing charters and a not-to-be-missed farmers market/food and entertainment celebration on the waterfront every Saturday morning.
Feeling artsy? Take a deep dive into the art of A. E. Backus, regarded as the dean of Florida landscape painters, at the A. E. Backus Museum & Gallery, and a fascinating look at the Florida Highwaymen, the group of 26 African American folk artists from Fort Pierce whose art dates from the 1950s and attracts collectors worldwide. Also, check out the vibrant contemporary art scene at galleries peppered throughout the area.
For history buffs, the community of White City just to the south of Fort Pierce is modeled on the utopian Great White City built by architect Daniel Burnham for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. White City Park offers a relaxing scenic break or a thrilling airboat ride complete with Florida wildlife.
Experience: Vibrant nightlife, big-league baseball and championship golf wrapped in natural beauty
A short jaunt south, discover Port St. Lucie, a fast-growing city with a South Florida feel accentuated by the natural beauty of the St. Lucie River running through it.
Rent a kayak, bring your own or take a guided cruise and float through town, keeping your camera handy to capture Instagram-worthy shots of otters, turtles, native birds or even an alligator sunning on the shore. Back on land, explore the winding paths of the beautiful Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens, abundant with native flora and fauna. If romance is blossoming, the gardens also make a great wedding venue.
With wide-ranging casual and fine-dining options and a vibrant nightlife, Port St. Lucie is also home to Sandpiper Bay, the only all-inclusive Club Med resort in the United States. Other lodging options abound to fit all budgets, including Marriott’s new Courtyard Port St. Lucie, Hilton Garden Inn at PGA Village/Port St. Lucie, iconic Florida-style oceanside accommodations and lots of condo and vacation rentals throughout the area.
Port St. Lucie offers a taste of the sporting life as well. The city’s impressive, 7,100-seat Clover Park stadium celebrates America’s national pastime as the home of the New York Mets spring training and the regular season games of the St. Lucie Mets, the minor league affiliate.
If golf is your sport of choice, St. Lucie’s great weather allows year-round play at more than 20 local courses, with prices ranging from upscale to very affordable. The prestigious PGA Village—yes, it’s open to the public—sports three championship, 18-hole golf courses, a six-hole family short course ideal for youngsters plus a club, a pub and instruction.
Experience: Unspoiled beaches, surfing, biking, horseback riding, beachside hangouts and a Navy SEAL museum
Love that island/beach vibe? St. Lucie’s Hutchinson Island offers 21 miles of it, including Fort Pierce Inlet State Park, a 340-acre coastal hammock with protected natural beaches and dunes. With abundant public access to unspoiled beaches, you’ll find plenty of sand to call your own, often without another beachgoer in sight.
Jetty Park, with its panoramic views, is a popular fishing spot and is the best place to watch the sunrise. Horse lovers will discover the only South Florida beach specifically designated for horseback riding. Cyclists can enjoy unimpeded rides on the lanes that parallel miles of Highway A1A and an off-road system of trails that runs through the island’s nature preserves teeming with local wildlife.
Casual beachside hangouts serve up fresh seafood and cold beverages Florida style, including the legendary Archie’s Seabreeze, which has been around for nearly three-quarters of a century. North Hutchinson Island also is home to the renowned, National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum near the former location of an Army base where World War II soldiers trained for the Normandy invasion.
Whether you’re looking for an authentic Florida road trip, an easy weekend getaway or a longer stay just far enough from home to feel like you’re on vacation, St. Lucie is the destination of choice. Get all the details for planning your visit at visitstlucie.com
See St. Lucie now on live webcams
Five strategically located webcams transport you to the beauty of St. Lucie—the sunrise on the Atlantic, the sunset along the river, boats sailing in and out of Fort Pierce Inlet, locals fishing, surfers catching a wave and people of all ages enjoying the sand and sea. Pack your bags and join them! visitstlucie.com/live-web-cams/