Popularly known as the Sunrise City, Fort Pierce is a city located on the eastern coast of Florida, USA.
For over a century, Fort Pierce has been the county seat, or administrative center of St. Lucie County, Florida.
The so-called Sunrise city is a part of the historical Treasure Coast, composed of St. Lucie and Martin counties and the Indian River.
The name Sunrise City is due to Fort Pierce being the sister city of San Francisco, California, on the west coast, also known as the Sunset City.
Fort Pierce is sometimes called Florida’s best-kept secret, because of its beautiful and quirky tourist spots.
The city is home to several historical and cultural attractions, museums, nature parks, beaches, and recreation spots, which makes it the ideal hub for family vacations.
There is an endless list of things to do in Fort Pierce.
Navy Seal Museum
Located on the oceanfront, the Navy UDT SEAL Museum houses a vast display of naval weapons, machines, artifacts, and war vehicles.
This museum is dedicated to the preservation of the US Navy SEAL history.
It seeks to inform about the legendary role of Naval, as well as Air and Land army teams.
The museum has been constructed on the training grounds of the Frogmen, who were the original Naval combat divers in World War 2.
It is located right outside Fort Pierce in St. Lucie County, and was constructed in 1985.
Definitely a must-visit tourist attraction and one of the major local historical spots.
Fort Pierce Inlet State Park
Fort Pierce Inlet State Park is home to a long beach, popular among tourists and locals for swimming and surfing.
It is a 340 acre stretch of Florida State Park. It is located to the north of the Fort Pierce Inlet, on North Hutchinson Island, close to Fort Pierce.
Beautiful beaches opening into the Atlantic Ocean, and a coastal hammock between the ocean waters and those of Tucker Cove, a notch into the Indian River lagoon, are the chief tourist attractions.
The water is shallow and safe for children and family. Swimming, fishing and bird-watching are common recreational activities.
Heathcote Botanical Gardens
Widely famous for its expansive tropical bonsai collection, Heathcote Botanical Gardens is a five acre natural park on Savannah Road, Fort Pierce.
It is an educational and non-profit institution and is often called the “Green Heart of the Treasure Coast”.
In the beginning, it was established as a commercial nursery in the 1960s by Molly and Jim Crimmons.
It came to be known as Heathcote in 1986 when it was bought by the locals.
Heathcote Botanical Gardens is famous for its Japanese tea house and bonsai, amidst many other gardens such as Rainforest Garden, Herb Garden, and Reflection Garden.
The Children’s Garden is a retreat for the young ones to frolic while the adults explore the other parts of the garden.
It is home to varieties of palms, cycads, bamboos, crotons, philodendrons and banyans.
Another attraction is the Garden of Lights, which is a fundraiser event during Christmas and New Year.
It features the entire garden lit up with fairy lights, making it look magical.
Jetty Park is one of the best places to walk, bike and just have a great leisure time.
They have a huge and spacious parking lot with some great restaurants, the most popular being Taco Drive.
Other restaurants include Hurricane Wings, Jackie’s Beach Bar and Jetty Bar.
Jetty Bar has been an evergreen local attraction, and several Hollywood celebrities have also frequented this bar.
The jetty walk promises a great view of the ocean and inlet.
The local fishermen mostly do their fishing here, so it is another interesting sight.
You can also spot some manatees if you’re lucky, and a rocket being launched from Cape Canaveral.
Manatee Observation Center
Manatee Observation Center is another popular tourist attraction in Fort Pierce.
Manatees are an endangered marine species, and this center seeks to conserve their population and ecosystem.
Located along North Indian River Drive, it features a waterfront viewing area and exhibits and is open 6 days a week.
It also houses an education center with a classroom, a gift shop and an observatory in Moore’s Creek.
Winters are an ideal time to visit this place as more manatees can be spotted along the Creek.
The kids would surely love the place where touching sea creatures is permitted.
Islamorada Brewery North
Islamorada Brewery is the only one of its kind in the Florida Keys.
Its south location is one of the best places to try local beer and cocktails.
The famous food truck, also called Spanky’s kitchen serves all sorts of snacks to go with the drinks.
It has a beer garden and a yellow colored taproom where the original Islamorada Beer was founded.
The North Islamorada Brewer is located in Fort Pierce.
It boasts of a 25000 square feet distillery, where visitors can watch the entire process of kegging and bottling.
Closed only on Mondays, this brewery has a tasting room where you can try out their freshly brewed produce.
They promise to embody the Island State of Mind.
St Lucie County Regional History Center
The Regional History Center, established in 1968, is worth a visit if you want to know more about the history of Fort Pierce.
Culture and history enthusiasts would love this quirky museum and its well-maintained artifacts.
It is located along the Indian River Lagoon on Seaway Drive.
There are silver and gold exhibits from the 11 ships of the Spanish fleet that had sunk in a hurricane in the year 1715.
It is home to a lot of sunken sea treasure, which earns it the reputation of the Treasure Coast of Florida.
It also exhibits fishing equipment and artifacts from the Seminole War of 1838.
Smithsonian Marine Ecosystems Exhibit
The Smithsonian Educational Aquarium offers ocean ecosystem exhibits, touch tanks and many other interactive options.
On the Florida East Coast, lies the most diverse estuary in the USA.
It is called the Indian River Lagoon or the IRL. The lagoon has a stretch of 156 miles from Jupiter in the South to Ponce De Leon Inlet in the North.
It harbors over 3000 organism species. This unsurpassed biological diversity is a sight worth watching.
The window to this underwater world is famously known as the ‘Smithsonian Marine Ecosystems Exhibit’.
Downtown Farmers' Market
Downtown Farmers’ Market of Fort Pierce has 70 vendors and offers a diverse selection of exotic plants, delicious foods, savory spices and much more!
This market is an attraction every Saturday from 8 AM to 12 PM (in all weather).
There are also live bands and special events which keep the place alive and buzzing.
It makes for a perfect family visit with some great food, awesome music and a lot of fun.
A.E. Backus and Museum Gallery
The A.E. Backus Museum and Gallery is a famous gallery of paintings by the 20th century painter. A.E. Backus’s museum is located at Fort Pierce, 500 North Indian River Drive.
The museum contains paintings by some other artists too along with A.E. Backus.
The museum has the largest number of paintings by A.E. Backus under a roof.
He was a very eminent landscape painter. The A.E. Backus Museum and Gallery was established in 1960 by local art enthusiasts along with A.E. Backus.
This gallery opens five days a week from October to the middle of June.
The Museum also handles sales of Backus paintings.
It has four exhibition wings to demonstrate artwork of contemporary artists.
Pepper Park Beach
Pepper Park Beach is located behind the National Navy Museum. It is a 52 acre beach.
It is a popular spot for divers and snorkelers. There are shallow reefs 100 yards off the beach.
Pepper Park Beach has Beach Access, Lifeguards, Grills, Playground, Pavilions and Restrooms.
The beach is a gem of its own. It has soft and light colored sand while its water is tremendously clear for the Atlantic Ocean.
It is also very calm and generally doesn’t have much of a crowd. Enjoy this gorgeous beach and feel its magic.
South Causeway is a park known for its peacefulness and calm.
It has lots of picnic areas and playgrounds. There are swimming and other water activities which take place.
There are aquariums and restrooms as well. The park also boasts a beach and a boat ramp.
The beach is about one-fourth of a mile and is along the Indian River Lagoon emptying into the Atlantic Ocean.
There is a good parking facility also, which makes for a great and wholesome day out.
Little Jim Bridge Park
Little Jim Bridge Park in Fort Pierce is a great destination for families and offers relaxation and peace.
This park is well maintained throughout all the seasons.
Travelers to Fort Pierce usually stop here and enjoy their time.
Nature Lovers can find various serene spots for their enjoyment.
For some adventure you may even go kayaking. It's a great place to relax over music and beer.
The atmosphere filled with fun, serenity and tranquility makes for a great visit on the way to Fort Pierce.
Casino Fort Pierce
Opened in 1926, Casino Fort Pierce is a venue for all those who want to enjoy live poker, simulcasting and table games.
Local beers and other drinks are readily available at their vending machines. A must-visit for casino-lovers.
FAU Harbor Branch Ocean Discovery Visitors Center
For the science and ocean enthusiasts, there is an Ocean Discovery Visitors Center here.
It is the display of the efforts of the marine engineers and scientists here.
This center has aquariums of 1000 gallons. These aquariums have 80 diverse species of animals and plants.
The marine life displays here are fascinating. They highlight marine environments like coral reefs to sea grass beds and have state-of-the-art aquaculture systems which are sustainable.
Their goal is to raise awareness about marine wildlife and research.
They connect all visitors with the experts and inspire people to work together and increase conservation efforts.
Admission to this center is free and the tours can also be taken free of cost.
They freely accept donations to support their program.
However, if there are 10 or more people with you, reservation is needed to get in.
Special accommodation is also available with reservation.
Nelson Family Farms
A much celebrated local open-air market, Nelson Family Farms is a family owned market selling fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and other horticultural produce.
Nelson Family Farms have been around for over 70 years, and their house-roast coffee and decorative nursery are worth a visit!
Open throughout the week and located on Oleander Avenue, these farms are excellent for a weekend visit if you want to enjoy the day outdoors.
Their ornamental nursery boasts of 30 varieties of the Florida Citrus, which will entice the passionate garden-lovers.
Be sure to try their freshly-squeezed citrus fruit juices on your visit.
Richard E. Becker Preserve
The Richard E. Becker Preserve is a 13-acre property located on Ten Mile Creek, resembling dense forest.
It is a part of the St. Lucie River North Fork headwaters.
A half mile hiking trail along the channel on the historical mounds is a great getaway for outdoor enthusiasts and hikers.
The preserve and its hike lets you discover beautiful flora and fauna found in the river and forest.
Worried about what you will eat in Fort Pierce? Well, brush your worries aside! Moonswiner's Bar-B-Q will rescue you from the terrible hunger pangs.
It’s not just about the hunger, but the long-lasting experience that you have.
Moonswiner’s Bar opened in 1981 under a different name and has been operated by the Adkins family on 3900 Okeechobee Rd.
The Barbecue here is the last thing you want to miss.
The ribs, the coleslaw and the pork all are savory to the taste buds.
They have a special award-winning dish called the Onion Chips.
The rest of the menu is also diverse. What you eat here, doesn’t stay here! It stays with you for a long time.