Blake Walsh

25 Best Things to Do in Fort Pierce, FL

  • Published 2022/12/21

Popularly known as Sunrise City, Fort Pierce is located on the eastern coast of Florida.

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.

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.

Interested to know more about this stunning city?

Here are the 25 best things to do in Fort Pierce, FL:

Pay a Visit to Navy Seal Museum

Exterior of the Navy Seal Museum

Joni Hanebutt /

Located on the oceanfront, the National 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 the Naval and and Air and Land army teams.

The grounds of Navy Seal Museum

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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 outside Fort Pierce in St. Lucie County and was constructed in 1985.

It’s definitely a must-visit tourist attraction and one of the significant local historical spots.

Go Surfing at Fort Pierce Inlet State Park

Aerial view of Fort Pierce Inlet State Park

Stephen Wood /

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 north of the Fort Pierce Inlet, on North Hutchinson Island, close to Fort Pierce.

Beautiful beaches open 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.

Trail at Fort Pierce Inlet State Park

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

See the Bonsai Collection at Heathcote Botanical Gardens

The grounds of Heathcote Botanical Gardens

Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Widely famous for its expansive tropical bonsai collection, Heathcote Botanical Gardens is a five-acre natural park on Savannah Road.

It is an educational and non-profit institution and is often called the “Green Heart of the Treasure Coast.”

Initially, 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 the locals bought it.

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.

A bonsai tree at Heathcote Botanical Gardens

Fsendek /

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 various palms, cycads, bamboo, crotons, philodendrons, and banyans.

Another attraction is the Garden of Lights, a Christmas and New Year fundraiser event.

It features the entire garden with fairy lights, making it look magical.

Bonsai tree with thick branch at Heathcote Botanical Gardens

Fsendek /

Go Biking at Jetty Park

Welcome sign of Jetty Park

Dawn Damico /

Jetty Park is one of the best places to walk, bike, and have great leisure time.

They have a vast and spacious parking lot with some great restaurants, the most popular being Taco Drive.

Other restaurants include Hurricane Wings, Jackie’s Beach, and Jetty Bar.

Jetty Bar has been an evergreen local attraction, and several Hollywood celebrities have also frequented this bar.

The grounds of Jetty Park

Dawn Damico /

The jetty walk promises a great view of the ocean and inlet.

The local fishermen mostly do their fishing here, which is another interesting sight.

If you’re lucky, you can also spot some manatees and a rocket launched from Cape Canaveral.

Visit Manatee Observation Center

Sunset over Manatee Observation Center

Sean Rokaw /

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 six 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.

Grab Some Local Beers at 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 with 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 a 25,000-square-foot distillery where visitors can watch the 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.

See Different Exhibits at St. Lucie County Regional History Center

Exterior of St Lucie County Regional History Center

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

St. Lucie County 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 1715.

It is home to many aquatic sea treasures, earning it the reputation of the Treasure Coast of Florida.

It also exhibits fishing equipment and artifacts from the Seminole War of 1838.

Wander around the Smithsonian Marine Ecosystems Exhibit

Aquarium at Smithsonian Marine Ecosystems Exhibit

Joni Hanebutt /

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 stretches 156 miles from Jupiter in the South to Ponce De Leon Inlet in the North.

The window to this underwater world is famously known as the ‘Smithsonian Marine Ecosystems Exhibit.’

Shop at the Downtown Fort Pierce Farmers’ Market

Shoppers at Downtown Fort Pierce Farmers' Market

Joni Hanebutt /

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.

Ripe tomatoes for sale at Downtown Fort Pierce Farmers' Market

Joni Hanebutt /

There are also live bands and special events, which keep the place alive and buzzing.

It makes for a perfect family visit with great food, fantastic music, and much fun.

Oranges for sale at Downtown Fort Pierce Farmers' Market

Joni Hanebutt /

Visit A.E. Backus and Museum Gallery

Exterior of A.E. Backus and Museum Gallery

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The A.E. Backus Museum and Gallery is a famous gallery of paintings by A.E. Backus, a 20th-century painter.

This museum is at Fort Pierce, 500 North Indian River Drive.

It has the most significant number of paintings by A.E. Backus under a roof.

Signage of A.E. Backus and Museum Gallery

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This gallery opens five days a week from October to the middle of June.

Additionally, the museum has four exhibition wings to demonstrate the artwork of contemporary artists.

Go Swimming at Pepper Park Beach

Bird on Pepper Park Beach

mstover /

Pepper Park Beach, a 52-acre beach, is located behind the National Navy Museum.

It is a popular spot for divers and snorkelers.

Pepper Park Beach has lifeguards, grills, a playground, pavilions, and restrooms.

Scenic view of Pepper Park Beach

Juliannie santiago /

The beach is a gem of its own, as it has soft and light-colored sand.

It is also very calm and generally doesn’t have much crowd.

Enjoy this gorgeous beach and feel its magic!

Lifeguard station at Pepper Park Beach

mstover /

Have a Picnic at South Causeway Beach

South Causeway Beach is a park known for its peacefulness, with many picnic areas and playgrounds.

The park also boasts a beach and a boat ramp.

The beach is about one-fourth of a mile along the Indian River Lagoon emptying into the Atlantic Ocean.

There is also a good parking facility, which makes for a great and wholesome day out.

Explore Little Jim Bridge Park

Little Jim Bridge Park in Fort Pierce is an excellent family destination and offers relaxation and peace.

This park is well-maintained throughout all 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.

The atmosphere filled with fun, serenity, and tranquility makes for a great visit to Fort Pierce.

See the FAU Harbor Branch Ocean Discovery Visitors Center

Exterior of Ocean Discovery Visitors Center

GreaterPonce665, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Ocean Discovery Visitors Center is perfect for science and ocean enthusiasts.

It displays the efforts of the marine engineers and scientists here.

This center has aquariums of 1,000 gallons, with 80 diverse species of animals and plants.

The marine life displays here are fascinating.

They highlight marine environments, like coral reefs to seagrass 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.

Shop at 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 30 varieties of Florida Citrus, which will entice passionate garden lovers.

Be sure to try their freshly-squeezed citrus fruit juices on your visit.

Hike the Trails at Richard E. Becker Preserve

The Richard E. Becker Preserve is a 13-acre property on Ten Mile Creek, resembling a 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 an excellent getaway for outdoor enthusiasts and hikers.

The preserve and its hike let you discover beautiful flora and fauna found in the river and forest.

Dine at Moonswiners Bar-B-Q

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 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.

Attend a Performance at Sunrise Theatre

Exterior of Sunrise Theatre

Tamanoeconomico, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sunrise Theatre is situated in the middle of Fort Pierce’s historic district, overlooking the scenic Indian River.

Fort Pierce is the sole owner of the Sunrise Theatre for the Performing Arts.

It features a 1,200-seat Sunrise Theatre Mainstage that has been magnificently rebuilt over the years and a 210-seat Black Box Theatre.

Front view of Sunrise Theatre's exterior

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The theater developed a distinction for being the cultural hub of Fort Pierce and the best and largest institution of culture in Florida.

It showcases regional and national traveling musical performances, broadway productions, musical and comedic acts, ballet and opera groups with full orchestras, and pop culture superstars from the past.

Explore the Waters with Dolphin Watch Boat Tours

Hop on the Dolphin Watch, a tour boat providing the greatest versatility around the Treasure Coast.

Sail with up to 6 travelers on the 25-foot pontoon in complete luxury while taking a close-up view of the Indian River Lagoon, one of their nation’s most pristine marine ecosystems.

Sit comfortably, relax, and take it all as Captain Adam Pozniak, a professional and certified captain provides his excellent knowledge of the Fort Pierce history and presents you with the myriad of species that may be found in the Indian River Lagoon.

You could see numerous bird species, manatees, marine turtles, fish, and perhaps, even wild dolphins over the about 12 to 15-mile excursion.

There are a variety of custom excursions available, including ones for nighttime dates, wedding receptions, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and more.

Have a Toast with Friends at Sailfish Brewing Company

The Sailfish Brewing Company enjoys producing exceptional beer in their community.

They provide fresh beer from 18 taps in their taproom to locals and guests.

The Brewery and Taproom are situated in the charming Fort Pierce Downtown, wherein Sailfish Brewery was founded.

While you’re here, pick up an appetizer, a flatbread, or a pie from their homemade pizza kitchen.

Stop for a pint, take-out cans, or Sailfish equipment for a fun day on the waters!

Plan your event in the taproom at Sailfish Brewing Company, offering a wide setting for your business gathering, birthday, holiday faction, baby shower, or other events.

Grab a Gift Box at Al’s Family Farms

Visit and go sightseeing at Al’s Family Farms if you ever find yourself in the Fort Pierce neighborhood!

At Al’s, giving fruit gifts has been a 46-year family tradition.

They take great delight in annually giving a box of freshly harvested citrus to customers and their present recipients.

You can count on them to load each gift box to the brim with the finest, juiciest citrus fruit found anywhere on any budget.

Take a quick tour to observe how the staff packs the lovely fruit and how the fruits are squeezed into the perfect beverage.

Additionally, you may peruse the gift store or share a meal onsite.

Book a Trip with Last Mango Fishing Charters

The Last Mango is a 40′ bespoke sport-fishing express that does full-day or longer half-day charters based at the ‘City Marina’ in the historic district of Fort Pierce, Florida.

Last Mango has 25 years of offshore and sporting fishing expertise, ensuring you can count on a good time and a successful day on the ocean.

Dolphin, wahoo, cobia, kingfish, barracuda, amberjack, and sailfish are all possible catches on any given day.

They are USCG-registered qualified captains that take great satisfaction in being friendly, competent, and exceptionally knowledgeable about fishing.

Expect an enjoyable, fruitful, and unforgettable experience when you book a trip with Last Mango.

Final Thoughts

Being far less expensive than several nearby competitors makes Fort Pierce unique and ideal for travelers with a tight budget.

This place has a great deal to offer, from museums to parks and various outdoor pursuits.

In the city’s prize-winning restored ancient business district, visitors may browse numerous shops, dine at top seafood restaurants, and attend theatrical performances in historical landmarks.

Travel to Fort Pierce, Florida’s fantastic attractions, for a fascinating vacation in this American paradise!

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