9 Best Things to Do in Port Salerno, Florida

|   Last Updated on June 19, 2021

— PORT SALERNO, FLORIDA — Located on the Treasure Coast and Highway A1A, it started as a small fishing village on the Manatee Pocket. During the 1930s and 1940s, 25,000 sharks were caught and processed to produce Vitamin A from the shark’s liver.

Hurricanes in 1928 and 1949 took their toll, destroying fish houses that were blown down and washed out to sea.

Today you find charter fishing boats, commercial fishing, marinas, boatyards, and seafood restaurants. Lining the waterfront, you’ll find dining at reasonable prices. The Manatee Pocket area can be reached by car or boat.


1. Manatee Pocket Boardwalk

Manatee Pocket Boardwalk - Port Salerno
©Carol Davis

A boardwalk in Florida? Manatee Pocket Boardwalk is a wooden walkway along the water. No glitter like up east, just old Florida. Park at the Port Salerno Civic Center, head down a short path, and stroll the boardwalk.

Sit on a bench enjoying the peace of coastal waters, fish jumping, and birds diving for their dinner. Head out to the main street, walking north to the historic waterfront restaurant area.

2. Happy Hour in Port Salerno

Manatee Island Bar & Grill
©Carol Davis

Manatee Island Bar and Grill is tiki-type outdoor dining. The menu showcases reasonably priced appetizers for Monday—Friday Happy Hour from 3–6 PM. A local favorite is coconut shrimp. The atmosphere is not fancy, just old Florida with oddball signs surrounding the walls.

Various music groups keep the place hopping. While dining, watch boats hitting gently against the dock, relax, dance, and feed the fish. The bowl of chowder is so huge you can almost swim in it. Join the locals for fun at this waterfront restaurant.

3. Pocket Hopper

Pocket Hopper - Port Salerno FL
©Carol Davis

The Pocket Hopper is a quiet electric boat. It slips around Manatee Pocket, passing beautiful homes and colorful marinas. Luxury yachts flood the area along with small sailboats, catamarans, and the sheriff’s boats.

Catch the ride next to the Twisted Tuna Restaurant every hour on the hour—6 PM to 11 PM Thursday and Friday for ten dollars.

Beer, wine, cocktails, and soft drinks can be purchased. Rosemary, the bartender, serves a great Shirley Temple with 4 cherries decorating the top. Sit back, listen to the music, and enjoy being on the water.

Local’s Tip: Thursday is Lady’s Day. Ladies ride free.

4. Sandsprit Park

Sandsprit Park, located at the entrance to the Manatee Pocket, is a perfect place to sit gazing out at the Intracoastal. The park is all about nature; birds fly by in the sky. Walkers, runners, and bikers travel down the boardwalk that circles the park’s perimeter—the perfect place at sunrise or sunset to be part of this outdoor world.

5. Peck’s Lake Park

Fishing at Peck Lake Park
©Carol Davis

There’s an easy walk on the raised boardwalk above the tangles of mangroves ending at a picnic pavilion overlooking the Intracoastal. In the distance is the ideal anchorage for overnight boaters in this protected anchorage.

People can dive and snorkel off their boats in this area which harbors a unique reef with over 100 species of reef fish. The water is not completely clear. Rivers flow into the vicinity making their way to the Atlantic Ocean.

Fishing at the pavilion can get you Spanish mackerel, large-mouth bass or common Snook.

Interpretive signs and benches are found on the walk. The area is dog friendly but keep your dog on a leash. Website

Local’s Tip: Look at the 7-day fishing forecast for Peck Lake.


6. Catch Your Dinner

Safari 1, located at Pirate’s Cove Resort and Marina, will take you deep sea fishing in the Atlantic Ocean. Fish for snapper, grouper, triggerfish, sea bass, kingfish, cobia, and other fish. Departs Monday through Saturday, 8:30 AM to 1:30 PM or Sunday 8:30 AM to 3 PM.

Your ticket includes a rod, reel, bait, and fishing license. Beer, water, and soft drinks are available for purchase. Bring your food and water, wear a hat, tennis shoes, and bring sunblock.

Be aware this is a fishing boat. It can be crowded; it may not operate due to high seas, insufficient participants, or mechanical problems.

Some days as with any fishing, you may catch lots of fish, and other days the fish just might not be biting. This is a great deep sea fishing experience, but if you want to just go out and enjoy the boat, upstairs, there’s a reduced rate.

Local’s Tips:

  • Have breakfast before going out at Pirate’s Cove.
  • There’s a $5 off coupon in Hobe Sound Living Magazine and $5 off for seniors and the military.

7. Twisted Tuna – Port Salerno

Twisted Tuna Restaurant - Oysters on the Half Shell
©Carol Davis

The Twisted Tuna is a waterfront restaurant featuring fresh seafood at reasonable prices. Happy hours frequently have live music, people dancing, and a fun experience. It’s the same menu plus free ice cream for dessert. . Check for specials on oysters and more. Valets make parking easy

Locals Tip: When the restaurant is packed, walk the boardwalk for tables overlooking the water.

8. Fish House Art Center

Elizabeth Esther Kelly - Fish House Art Center
©Carol Davis

At the Fish House Art Center, enjoy two floors of resident working artist studios. A unique variety of art, woodcrafts, jewelry, soaps, candies, and more.

A visit to Elizabeth Esther Kelly’s tiny shop catches her at her loom, creating one-of-a-kind original works. She’s been at the center 11-years. The longest tenure of all the artists. Pet her dog and talk for a pleasant experience regarding the center.

9. Port Salerno Ghosts

Patrick Mesmer - Port Salerno Ghost Tours
©Carol Davis

Ghost Tours is operated by Patrick S. Mesmer, author of numerous historical books about the area, including ghost tales. His books are available for purchase in the art center.

The tour begins with protection from the spirits by helper Beth passing burning sage smoke around each guest that desires such. A handheld monitor will blare red if ghosts appear. It’s a fun experience, plus Patrick’s tales include historical Florida characters of the past.

History comes alive when you can almost smell the overpowering fish aroma, mosquitoes biting, shootings, and personalities of residents from the past. An offer was even made for a wheelchair if needed. The walk is a couple of blocks on Saturday evenings. Call for reservations. Beware, it is dark out there as the ghost stories come alive.

Conclusion

Visiting Port Salerno, a small town with coastal water, incredible art, seafood, paddleboarding, kayaking, fishing, and hiking. It is all there.

Getting there: Fly into West Palm Beach airport, rent a car, then take I-95 North.

*Opening photo ©Flickr

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Last Updated on June 19, 2021

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