Fort Pierce, FL
Welcome to Ft. Pierce, known as the Sunrise City, dating to the 1830s, when it was a stockade during the Seminole Wars. http://cityoffortpierce.com/ Today it is one of the oldest communities in Florida, and in recent years has been restored. It’s pretty, safe and fun. There are museums, beaches, historic buildings, including the Sunrise Theater. http://www.sunrisetheatre.com/ A marina, restaurants, shopping, pubs, parks, hotels, a Saturday Farmer’s Market, Friday Fest, and Manatee Center make this a good place to visit. Visitors can see art at the Backus Gallery, named for Bean Backus of the famed Highwaymen painters. It’s free, but they do ask for a $2 donation. http://backusgallery.com / If history is the interest, the St. Lucie County Historical Museum has fine displays of the ancient Ais Indians, Spanish colonization, pioneer settlement and a Cracker house to go through. Admission is $4 for adults, and children under 6 are free. http://www.stlucieco.gov/history/ There is the Aquarium, (free) and for gardeners, beautiful Heathecote Botanical Gardens. http://heathcotebotanicalgardens.org/ A walk around Orange Avenue will show many old buildings. Both the Tiki Hut and Cobb Landing, at the marina, are good restaurants.
Our visit to the Farmers’ Market was lots of fun! There are baked goods, produce, sauces, seasoning, fresh flowers, plants, fresh seafood, and lunch! A live jazz band was entertaining! Shoppers can look at furniture, artwork, jewelry, toys, garden decors, and books by local authors at Art Park. We bought two by Patrick Lennon and are enjoying the read!
South Beach has picnic shelters, the jetty, fishing, and lots of uncrowded beach. Across the inlet is Ft. Pierce Inlet Park, where surfers gather. Archie’s Seabreeze, across from the beach, is full of Florida personality. Check it out! http://archiesseabreeze.com/
Savannas Park in White City has camping, boating, and hiking. White City Park was a good place for us to picnic, and appreciate Old Florida. There is a boat ramp and fishing. We like to browse for antiques at White City Mercantile.
The city of Ft. Pierce has so many recreational opportunities!
Famous Ft. Pierce residents include writer Zora Neal Hurston, heroine CeeCee Lyles, and Governor Dan McCarty.
This is an excellent daycation for those who are close enough and week end for those a little further away!
Fort Pierce and the Farmers Market
Ft. Pierce is an ideal daycation spot for those of us on the Treasure Coast. On a recent visit, offthetrails explored the history and science culture of the city. We dropped in at the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum, Ft. Pierce Visitor Center at the House of the Seven Gables, Manatee Observation and Education Center, Smithsonian Marine Ecosystems Exhibit, and St. Lucie County Historical Museum. We had lunch at 12A Buoy.
The Navy SEAL museum was most interesting and inspirational. This is the only museum dedicated solely to the SEALS! The SEALS were born at Ft. Pierce during WWII and were trained at what’s now Pepper Park. SEALS mean sea, air, and land teams. UDT stands for Underwater Demolition Team. The Navy “frogmen” were the original special warfare experts. The SEALS have been part of our defense since the 1940s. They have proven their heroism in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm, and any conflict since 1983. The museum has numerous exhibits from many conflicts: videos, weapons, oral histories, dioramas, and equipment. We overheard one gentleman telling his companion about his brother, a SEAL in WWII, who was one of only two survivors in a Japanese attack. His family didn’t know about it until shortly before his death! Outside are amphibious craft, helicopter, and other SEAL artifacts. We enjoyed our self guided tour. Allow about an hour. Admission is $6 per person. A small gift shop offers gifts and memorabilia. http://www.navysealmuseum.com/
The Visitor Center is the old Slay Home, with its graceful gables. The dining room and parlor have been restored. The house is lovely. Information is available in brochures, and a volunteer can answer questions.
The Manatee Center has many exhibits showing fish and sea life, but focuses on the manatee. There is a video, classroom life size model, and skeleton. In the winter, you many see manatee playing in the water of Moore’s Creek. http://www.manateecenter.com/ Admission is $1 a person. Allow about 15 minutes.
12A Buoy is a fun spot with very good food! We shared our lobster club and conch sandwiches. I chose fresh fruit as my side. Greg ordered cole slaw. The food was generous and tasty. Service was good. It’s near the water with a patio outside. It’s nothing fancy, but worth a stop!
The Smithsonian exhibit has several tanks. One is from the Smithsonian and has 20 varieties of coral. It’s beautiful! Other tanks contain a lionfish, and mangrove, seagrass, lagoon, and various reef ecosystems. The lab is a working one! There’s a classroom with hands on activities, reference materials, and news articles. We enjoyed the Touch Tank with its various sea life. http://www.sms.si.edu/ Allow 30 minutes. Admission is $4 a person.
Finally, we paid a visit to the Historical Museum. The museum has several displays outside, including an anchor and cannons from the Urca de Lima, one of the 1715 Spanish Fleet. The museum devotes one room to each different period in Ft. Pierce history. We learned about the Ais Indians, the Spanish explorers, the Seminoles, the Seminole Wars, and how Ft. Pierce came to be. We walked 1900 downtown Ft. Pierce and entered Cobb’s General Store. WWII in Ft. Pierce is depicted, layering on what we knew form the SEAL Museum. The special exhibit was “More than the Mouse”, tourism in Florida before Disney World. There’s more! All of it was interesting! In the shed are fire engines and other vehicles from the early 1900s. An authentic Cracker house from 1908, the Gardner House, is open for tours. Audio tours are available. This is a special place! Allow an hour. Admission is $4 each. http://www.discoverourtown.com/FL/FortPierce/Attractions/108277.html
We enjoy visiting Ft. Pierce and look forward to our next visit. We hope you’ll enjoy it, too.