Fort Pierce is the oldest incorporated city in St. Lucie County, with a bustling and historic downtown area, close location to beaches on the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean by its extension to Hutchinson Island, and many famous celebrities visiting every summer at the Sunrise Theatre. Ft. Pierce has a population of 43,601 by the 2013 US Census Estimate; Fort Pierce is also a part of the Port St. Lucie metropolitan area, or the Treasure Coast, an area populated at almost 600,000.
Fort Pierce is a small railroad city along Florida's east coast, being the location of a mid-sized rail yard with track rights owned by the Florida East Coast Railroad, with track all the way to Miami and Jacksonville, and South Central Florida Express, with track from the downtown yard to Clewiston and Sebring.
FP is becoming more and more modernized, but slowly and steadily. Downtown is considered the hot-spot of the city due to its blossoming commercialism, amazing Spanish-colonial buildings, celebrities performing at the Sunrise Theatre, and an amazing Christmas display yearly at Avenues A and Orange. There's a lot of fun going on with the marina and many interesting shops on the thoroughfares of Orange Avenue and Avenue D. Fort Pierce is also a college town, home to the primary campus of Indian River State College and its public safety training complex.
Fort Pierce, like many cities has many major highways running through the city. Major highways include I-95, US-1, and Florida's Turnpike.
By Interstate 95, you can access Fort Pierce by:
- Exit 126 at Midway Road. Going west will take you to Okeechobee Road, which is what the locals call State Road 70. Going east will take you to the beach.
- Exit 129 at Okeechobee Road. There are many hotels and fast food restaurants near by. Going west will take you to Okeechobee and further to Bradenton. Going east will put you closer into the heart of downtown.
- Exit 131 at Orange Avenue. Going west will take you out to the "country" area of the city with many ranches. Going east will take you into downtown.
- Exit 138 at Indrio Road. Services are east of the exit.
By Florida's Turnpike, you can access Fort Pierce by:
- Exit 152 at SR 70, or Okeechobee Road.
One special thing about the Okeechobee Road area between I-95 and the Turnpike is that it is considered to be a crossroads, where two highways are within a driving range of less than a mile. Businesses, from hotels to restaurants, are abundant in this State Road 70 corridor. Businesses along State Road 70 don't just exist at the cross roads, but also run along to US-1.
US-1 and A1A run through the heart of downtown, and A1A almost parallels US-1. A1A runs along the barrier islands of the east coast, from Miami to the Jacksonville area. The local name for A1A on Hutchinson Island South crossing onto US-1 is "Seaway Drive".
Fort Pierce is home to the St. Lucie County International, the local airport. Here, you can buy a plane to fly from place to place, due to no commercial flights.
- 1 Treasure Coast International Airport (FPR IATA St. Lucie County International Airport), 3000 Curtis King Blvd, ☏ . The only airport serving the county. No commercial service yet, so bring your own plane.
If you want to get in by a commercial flight, your best options are:
- Orlando International Airport (MCO IATA) is outside of the region, but is used to get into the region, serving almost all global US cities.
- Melbourne International Airport (MLB IATA) serves Atlanta, Charlotte, and Washington DC at Dulles.
- Palm Beach International Airport (PBI IATA) serving major airports from Boston to Dallas.
There has been much talk and controversy about the Florida East Coast Railroad and Amtrak giving the Port St. Lucie area, possibly Fort Pierce, a train station that serves passengers. If these plans go through, they will be serving the Florida East Coast Railway on rails that have not been touched by the rumbling wheels of passenger trains since the mid-1900s. Also, there has been controversy of a high-speed rail project from Miami to Orlando with a station in West Palm Beach; a station may be placed in the PSL area as well to accommodate. The full plan is rebuilding a passenger line to re-connect the Treasure Coast and the Space Coast with the rest of the country, serving from Martin County to northern Brevard County. The closest stations to date are in Okeechobee and West Palm Beach.
- West Palm Beach, 209 South Tamarind Ave, West Palm Beach. Ticket office, waiting room, and two different routes going two ways!
- Okeechobee, 801 North Parrott Ave, Okeechobee. Platform station with shelter. Only a stopping location, no ticket office yet.
- 2 Greyhound Lines, (bus station) 7150 Okeechobee Rd (Kings Highway and Okeechobee Road, north of the I-95/Florida Turnpike junction), ☏ , toll-free: . M-Sa 7:30AM to 6:30PM and Su 7:30AM to 3:15PM. They also have additional stops at a Shell Station on 1795 SW St Lucie West Rd in Port St Lucie and at a Sunoco Gas Station on 8418 20th St in Vero Beach. The gas stations stops do not sell tickets.
- 3 Jet Set Express, (bus stop) Port St. Lucie-Fort Pierce Service Plaza (MM 144 of the Florida Turnpike), ☏ . Venue at stop open 24/7. Bus between Miami-Dade and Orlando
- 4 Red Coach, (bus stop) Port St. Lucie-Fort Pierce Service Plaza (MM 144 of the Florida Turnpike, north of Crosstown Pkwy Jct), ☏ , toll-free: . Venue at stop open 24/7.
In Fort Pierce, the roads are the easiest way to get around. Major roads lead to the highways, and Downtown Fort Pierce can tend to get crowded at any time of day, but you can take in the view of the Spanish-colonial style buildings as you drive through Downtown.
The cities of Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Jensen Beach, and now Vero Beach are all served by bus through the Treasure Coast Connector. Service extends from 43rd Street SW in Vero Beach to Avenue D in Fort Pierce via the northern routes, and from St. Lucie West in Port St. Lucie to the Treasure Coast Square Mall in Jensen Beach.
- Route 1 takes you from the Treasure Coast Square Mall in Jensen Beach through Port St. Lucie to the city hospital, the civic center, and the Prima Vista Crossings shopping center, ending in Fort Pierce at the Intermodal Transit Facility.
- Route 2 runs a loop from the Intermodal Facility to the airport and the Taylor Creek Commons.
- Route 3 takes you through southern Fort Pierce along Okeechobee Road to the Intermodal Facility.
- Route 7 is a loop route from the Intermodal Facility through Lakewood Park via 25th Street and Kings Highway to Vero Beach and the Taylor Creek Commons.
- Route 8 runs along 25th Street and Airoso Blvd., from the Intermodal Facility to the Port St. Lucie Community Center.
There is only one transfer point in Fort Pierce: the Intermodal Facility on Avenue D for Routes 1, 2, 3, and 7; for Indian River County transfers, there is a stop at IRSC on Route 3 and South Point Plaza on Route 7.
Fort Pierce is a city built on the water, and it is no coincidence that using a boat is one of the easiest ways to get around the city. Fort Pierce may not have many navigable canals like neighboring Port St. Lucie, but most of Fort Pierce is a waterfront city. The city boundaries extend to the Atlantic Ocean. Downtown is a mostly waterfront area, with many restaurants and businesses on the water.
- Fort Pierce City Marina, 1 Marina Way, ☏ . The primary marina in Fort Pierce.
- 1 Arcade Building. At one time, the largest commercial building in the city, and was a big part of the redevelopment and renovation of the city and its downtown.
- 2 Avalon State Park, State Road A1A North, North Hutchinson Island (Four miles north of Fort Pierce Inlet State Park, via Highway A1A and the North Causeway.), ☏ . 8AM to sundown. $2.
- 3 Boston House, 239 S. Indian River Dr. An unusual mixture of Neo-classical and Georgian architecture.
- 4 Fort Pierce Inlet State Park, 905 Shorewinds Dr (Four miles east of Fort Pierce, via North Causeway), ☏ . 8AM to sundown. A popular fishing destination and home to the infamous Jetty Lounge, home of the original Treasure Coast RumRunner. $6.
- 5 Heathcote Botanical Gardens, 210 Savannah Rd, ☏ .
- 6 Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute.
- Manatee Observation and Education Center, 480 N Indian River Drive, ☏ . Closed Monday; Tue-Sat: 12-5; Sun: 12-4. Learn about manatees and the fragile ecosystems of the Treasure Coast at the Manatee Center. $1.
- 7 , 3300 N Highway A1A, ☏ . Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM; Su noon-4PM; closed on Mondays, Easter, 4th of July, Christmas Eve and Day, New Years Eve and Day. The Navy Seal Museum has exhibits, the history of the SEALS, and scuba adventures for the brave ones. Adults (13 and older): $10; Children (6-12): $5; Free for kids under 6.
- 8 Old Fort Park, 800 S Indian River Dr.
- 9 Old Fort Pierce City Hall, 315 Avenue A.
You can go boating in the Fort Pierce Inlet or stroll along the beach and catch a tan. The historic downtown contains outstanding "Spanish-colonial revival"-style buildings, and in downtown you can catch a performance at Sunrise Theatre.
- 1 St. Lucie County Aquarium featuring the Smithsonian Marine Ecosystems Exhibit, 420 Seaway Drive, ☏ . Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM, Su noon-4PM. Visitors can explore six different Florida marine habitats and learn about the complexity and importance of marine ecosystems. The largest aquarium is a model of a Caribbean coral reef. Other displays include living models of seagrass, mangrove, estuarine and nearshore habitats, as well as a deepwater Oculina coral reef. There are several smaller aquarium displays and a touch tank for you to meet local sea creatures. Feeding Frenzy tours daily at 10:30AM and Snack Time tours daily at 2:30PM. Behind-the-Scenes tour Saturday at 2PM. $3-4.
- 2 Sunrise Theatre, 117 South Second Street (US-1 to Citrus Avenue, over the bridge and the third exit of the roundabout), ☏ . This Mediterranean Revival style theater has hosted many big names, such as Ringo Starr and Pat Benatar. Tickets can be bought at the box office if one plans to take in a show, be it comedy, jazz, or rock.
- 3 A. E. Backus Gallery and Museum, 500 N Indian River Drive, ☏ . W-Sa 10AM-4PM; Su noon-4PM. This museum houses the greatest paintings of A. E. "Beanie" Backus and the Florida Highwaymen.
- Pineapple Playhouse, 700 W. Weatherbee Road, ☏ . Th-Sa 8PM evenings, 2PM Sun. matinee. Founded in 1973, the St. Lucie Community Theatre performed all across the county until settling down at the Pineapple Playhouse at the border of Fort Pierce and Port St. Lucie. Many plays are put on from September to May each year, so grab a ticket while you have a chance! $18 for adults, $10 for students, $15 per group ticket.
Fort Pierce's shopping economy is built on mostly fishing, as well as commercial "big-wig" names in retail, even some small businesses carrying big names. Not what you'd expect, but it gives you the right tools to enjoy one of the greatest activities on the Treasure Coast.
- Galleria of Downtown, 100 S 2nd Street, ☏ . Small shopping mall in the historic downtown.
- Bealls stores are commonplace in Florida, and the only Bealls in the city limits is at the Sabal Palm Plaza. Bealls carries large names in fashion and clothing and they mainly sell in South Florida.
The Arcade Building in Downtown at one time was the largest commercial building in St. Lucie County. There aren't many stores in the Arcade; however, it is making a comeback with some small restaurants and boutiques, and lots of spaces are still for rent.
- 1 12A Buoy, 22 Fishermans Wharf, ☏ . 11AM-10PM, closed on Tuesdays. A local seafood restaurant, the 12A Buoy is a favorite amongst the residents as well as its visitors. Try the Lobster Mac'n'Cheese, their marvelous Key Lime Pie, and the Tuna and Scallops dinner. Enjoy pure Floridian seafood while sitting near the riverfront.
- Cobb's Landing, 200 N Indian River Drive (downtown). Su-Th 11AM-10PM; F Sa 11AM-11PM. A local favorite place to get a bite to eat. Have a drink at the Mojito Bar, with the recommended drink being the Pineapple Mojito.
- 2 Hurricane Grill and Wings, 2017 Seaway Drive (Easy access from US-1), ☏ . 11AM-10PM. Hurricane Grill and Wings is a national chain born on the Treasure Coast in Fort Pierce. Wings served in many sauces of your choice. There are many menu items to serve a variety of tastes.
- 2nd Street Bistro Tap House and Eatery, 122 N 2nd Street, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 11AM-11PM. Historical 1929 building, with antique memorabilia throughout, outdoor deck and bar with 50 local draft and craft beers on tap. Fresh local food made daily. Open daily for lunch and dinner, with kitchen open late on Friday and Saturday nights. Saturday and Sunday it's open at 10AM serving Bloody Mary Bar and Bottomless Mimosas along with brunch.
- 3 Joy's Ice Cream Plus, 4959 US-1 (In Towne South Plaza on US-1), ☏ . M-Th 11AM-9PM; F Sa 11AM-10PM; Su noon-9PM. Family owned ice cream shop, a local favorite.
- 4 Phatz, 412 US-1, ☏ . Closed Sundays, M-Th 10:30AM-9PM; F Sa 10:30AM-11PM. Wings, tenders, and soul food.
- Boozgeois Saloon, 720 U.S.1, ☏ . This cocktail bar and liquor store has a tremendous selection of any liquor you would enjoy. A small business considered a favorite among the locals.
- Archie's Seabreeze (Archie's), 401 South Ocean Drive, ☏ . Su-Th 11AM-9PM; F Sa 11AM-10PM. Bar and grill on Hutchinson Island.
A majority of hotels in Fort Pierce are at the "crossroads" of the city, such named because the Turnpike and I-95 are closest by distance here. It gives you a chance to change your traveled highway if your plans call for such.
- 1 Fairfield Inn & Suites, 6502 Metal Drive, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Rooms and suites with microwave, work desk, free internet, flat screen TV. Guests have access to free parking, free breakfast, pool and fitness center. $85/night.
- 2 Motel 6, 2500 Peters Road (near Interstate 95), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Pet friendly, with modest prices. Coin laundry, free WiFi, ADA accessible rooms, and an outdoor pool. $59.99/night.
- 3 Holiday Inn Express & Suites Fort Pierce West, 7151 Okeechobee Road (East of Turnpike, West of I-95), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. This hotel gives travelers free in-room WiFi, free breakfast every morning, an outdoor heated pool, and a fitness center. $110/night.
- 4 Hampton Inn & Suites Ft. Pierce, 1985 Reynolds Dr, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Free breakfast every morning, outdoor temperature-controlled pool, fitness center, and free WiFi. All rooms are non-smoking. $87/night.
- 5 Comfort Suites, 6505 Metal Drive (Exit west from I-95/east from Turnpike. Turn on Crossroads Pkwy going south and), ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Part of Choice Hotels. A smoke-free hotel with a hot breakfast every morning and an outdoor pool. Starting at $80/night.
- 6 At Home Inn, 7025 Okeechobee Road (On a side road behind the McDonald's), ☏ . Free Wifi, heated pool, and BBQ area.
- 7 Hutchinson Island Plaza Hotel and Suites, 1230 Seaway Dr (Hutchinson Island). Hotel on Hutchinson Island offering great views of the inlet.
The area code for Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, and the Treasure Coast is 772. There are many post offices in the area, but POs in the city limits are located on Orange Avenue and Midway Road, depending on where you stay.
- United States Post Office, 1717 Orange Avenue; 5000 W Midway Road. Closed Sundays; M-F 8:30AM-5PM; Sa 10AM-1PM at Orange Ave location.
Fort Pierce may be an interesting city, but there is one area (numbered streets and lettered avenues) that is considered a "ghetto" or a "hood", where crime is abundant, and there has been at least one shooting a year. Exercise caution when in that area, and keep your windows up when driving, particularly at night.
- Port St. Lucie - Bordering city much larger than Fort Pierce, spring training home of the New York Mets.
- Vero Beach - Original spring training home of the Dodgers before moving to Arizona.
- Jensen Beach - Charming small town with easy access to the Indian River.
- Melbourne - Home to some great surfing spots along the Atlantic; one of the closest cities to Kennedy Space Center.
- Orlando - the theme park capital of the world, only 2 hours north on the Turnpike.
- Stuart - Great boating spot on the St. Lucie River, hailed as "the sailfish capital of the world".
- West Palm Beach - A bustling town further south; home to many local festivals and weekly events in the downtown area.
|Routes through Fort Pierce|
|Daytona Beach ← Vero Beach ←||N S||→ Port St. Lucie → West Palm Beach|
|Orlando ← Kissimmee ← Jct W E ←||N S||→ Port St. Lucie → West Palm Beach|
|Daytona Beach ← Vero Beach ←||N S||→ Port St. Lucie → West Palm Beach|
|Daytona Beach ← Vero Beach ←||N S||→ Jensen Beach → West Palm Beach|
|Bradenton ← Okeechobee ←||W E||→ END|