Last Updated on February 18, 2023
With over 22-miles of beautiful oceanfront, it is tempting to spend all your time in Fort Pierce relaxing on the beach and catching rays. Resist the temptation and plan some time here to explore the area’s amazing arts history.
Fort Pierce is a popular destination for East Coast and Canadian snowbirds. They love our balmy and temperate winter. It is conveniently located between three major airports: Orlando, about 2.5 hours’ drive north, Fort Lauderdale, approximately 2.5 hours’ drive south, and West Palm Beach, a short 45 to 60-minute drive south.
Best Things to Do When You Aren’t On the Beach
Fort Pierce Resort
Located on the Indian River Lagoon, this resort is the perfect spot for exploring all that Fort Pierce offers.
The Dockside Inn features 35 units, two heated pools, an onsite restaurant, and a marina. The resort is pet-friendly. Be sure to bring along your favorite four-legged pal.
The Dockside Inn offers complimentary coffee in the lobby, two laundry facilities, and a picnic area with BBQ grills.
Fish the Gulf Stream
The Fort Pierce Inlet is only 13 miles from the Gulf Stream, where fishing enthusiasts can find some of the best sportfishing available. Last Mango sport fishing charters is one of the best fishing charters in the area.
Onboard the “Mango,” a custom-built 40-foot Express Sportfishing boat, you’ll have the thrill of a lifetime hunting for dolphin, wahoo, cobia, kingfish, amberjack, and sailfish. Any day on the water hooking a fish is a great day.
Last Mango is berthed at the Fort Pierce City Marina, right in the heart of historic downtown Fort Pierce. Each charter experience with the Last Mango crew is customized for you, whether you are a seasoned fisherman or a beginner.
Cross the Indian River
Strictly for the adrenaline junkies who live for the rush of speeding across the Indian River. These agile little catamaran boats will undoubtedly give you an adrenaline rush and fun but wet ride!
Sharkbait Tours offers a 75-minute tour of the Fort Pierce Inlet and surrounding waters, looking for dolphins, manatees, and other sea and wildlife you can only spot when exploring by water.
Zora Neale Hurston
Celebrate the life of world-renowned Harlem Renaissance author and ethnographer Zora Neale Hurston. She spent her final years in Fort Pierce, sadly, dying in obscurity. The Dust Tracks Heritage Trail (so named for her autobiography) includes eight markers and three large kiosks sharing Hurston’s fascinating story. The trail also includes the modest bungalow which served as her final residence.
Hurston was an influential figure in the African American culture and her books have become highly acclaimed. Along with Langston Hughes, Hurston was a pivotal figure in the Harlem Renaissance, a revival of African American music, dance, art, fashion, literature, theater, and politics spanning the 1920s and 1930s; her ethnographic research collecting African American folk stories and culture across rural Florida in the early 20th century represents a priceless archive.
The Florida Highwaymen
In addition to Zora Neale Hurston, Fort Pierce boasts more African American history with the Florida Highwaymen. This group of 26 Black painters working in the area from the 1950s through today, selling artworks from their car due to Jim Crow segregation keeping them out of galleries, created a visual impression of Florida which lasts to today.
Get Up Close to Nature
Paddle the Indian River Lagoon in a kayak with Get Up and Go Kayaking. This tour is unique because the kayaks are clear and offer a fantastic view of the water below you and the creatures that dwell on the seafloor. The 2.5 hour guided tour weaves you through tunnels of mangroves as you search for manatees, rays, turtles, birds, and more.
You’ll also have an opportunity to get out and walk in the shallows depending on the tides. While exploring the shoals and sandbars, seek out the variety of sea life that call these places home.
For a truly unforgettable experience, book a glow-in-the-dark tour during the winter months as bioluminescent comb jellies light up the inlet waterways!
Search for Spanish Treasure
Fort Pierce is on Florida’s Treasure Coast, so called due to the extensive number of shipwrecks a short distance offshore, many of which are from the Spanish treasure fleet of 1715. Lucky beachcombers in the area still come across a doubloon every once in a while.
The seas during the winter months – December through March – are often wind-whipped and stirred up due to weather and tide conditions. These conditions will often wash treasure up onto the beaches, making it an ideal time to stroll the Atlantic coast beaches searching for treasure.
Downtown Fort Pierce, Peacock Arts District, A.E. Backus Museum
Here you’ll find small, locally owned businesses, boutiques, and art galleries. A few of our favorites include Chic and Shore Things for all types of coastal-inspired decor and Notions and Potions Candles and More.
At the A.E. Backus Museum, work of its namesake, Florida’s first preeminent landscape painter, and that of the Florida Highwaymen are on display as well.
Dine At Pickled
If you are a fan of Southern-inspired cuisine, you’ll want to pop into Pickled. Owned by Jason and Hallie Alfonso, this dynamic hospitality team has created a fantastic gathering spot for locals and visitors alike.
The menu offers small plates and entrees. Favorites include their charcuterie platter, an artfully presented selection of delectable artisan cheeses and meats, accompanied by stout mustard and grilled bread. The duck confit pot pie is incredible and rich, and the homemade butter biscuits will melt in your mouth.
Pro Tip: Pickled offers one of the best wine selections we’ve found in the Fort Pierce area. With a knowledgeable staff of wine lovers and a Sommelier, you’re sure to find a wine that will please a discerning palate. You might want to purchase a bottle and have it corked to take home with you after your meal.
Surfing Lessons in Fort Pierce
The Fort Pierce Inlet is one of the top surf breaks along Florida’s east coast. This area attracts surfing enthusiasts from all over. Spunky’s Surf Shop is one of the top places to learn to surf in Fort Pierce. Surfing is one of those sports that requires the ability to laugh at yourself because few do it well the first several times.
It is more fun when you learn from the best, and the sport is easy to understand. Spunky’s takes surfing seriously, and the learning fun begins before you hit the water. The team will start with an introduction and talk about how to “read the water.” Once you learn the basics, you’ll be ready to hit the waves.
Pro Tip: If you aren’t the surfing type, you will enjoy the aerial acrobatics of the kite surfers. They live for windy days as they ride the currents and practice high-flying flips and turns before gracefully landing back on the water.
National Navy SEAL Museum
The Navy SEAL Museum seeks to preserve the history of the United States Navy SEALS. The museum is located on the grounds of the original Navy combat divers, the Frogmen. Learn the story of the Frogmen, the Underwater Demolition Teams, the rigorous training that these men went through, and the theaters in which these men fought.
The museum traces the timeline of the Navy SEALS from the birth of the UDT Frogmen to the modern-day Navy SEALS while immersing you in the world of Naval special warfare.