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, 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. Not much is available at this exit, but it is a major county road.
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 "cross-roads", 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.
- 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, 1 Jeff Fuqua Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32827, ☎ . This airport is outside of the region, but is used to get into the region, serving almost all global US cities.
- Melbourne International Airport, 1 Air Terminal Pkwy, Melbourne, FL 32901, ☎ . Serves Atlanta, Charlotte, and Washington DC at Dulles.
- Palm Beach International Airport, 1000 Palm Beach International Airport, West Palm Beach, FL 33406, ☎ . 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 Avenue West Palm Beach, FL 33401. Ticket office, waiting room, and two different routes going two ways!
- Okeechobee, 801 North Parrott Avenue Okeechobee, FL 34972. Platform station with shelter. Only a stopping location, no ticket office yet.
There is a Greyhound station in Fort Pierce, located at Kings Highway and Okeechobee Road. Hours for the station are 7:30am to 6:30pm.
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 at the SOUTH END through Port St. Lucie at the city hospital, the civic center, and the Prima Vista Crossings shopping center, ending in Fort Pierce at the Intermodal Transit Facility at the NORTH END.
- Route 2 takes you into North Fort Pierce from the Intermodal Facility along the historic Avenue D.
- Route 3 takes you through southern Fort Pierce along Okeechobee Road to the Intermodal Facility.
- Route 7, the newest route of the Connector, takes you from the Fort Pierce Intermodal Facility through Lakewood Park via 25th Street and Kings Highway to Vero Beach.
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.
By light rail?
Yes, it may be hard to believe, but there was a study taken in 2010 to see if St. Lucie County would get a light rail system. County commissioners met and talked it over, and within the next 15 or so years, a light rail system may make getting around Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie and all of St. Lucie County.
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.
- 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
- Boston House
- Heathcote Botanical Gardens
- Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute
- Historic Main Street
- '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.
- , 3300 N Highway A1A, ☎ . Tue-Sat: 10am-4pm; Sun: 12pm-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.
- Old Fort Park
- Old Fort Pierce City Hall
- St. Lucie County Marine Centre
- Sunrise Theatre, 117 South Second Street. This Mediterranean Revival building has hosted many big celebrities, such as Bill Cosby and Ringo Starr.
- Go boating in the Fort Pierce Inlet.
- Wander around the historic downtown, gazing at the outstanding "Spanish-colonial revival"-style buildings.
- Stroll along the beach and catch a tan.
- Catch a performance at Sunrise Theatre in Downtown.
- St. Lucie County Aquarium featuring the Smithsonian Marine Ecosystems Exhibit, 420 Seaway Drive, ☎ . Tues-Sat: 10am-4pm, Sun: 12 pm-4 pm. 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 2:00pm. $3-4.
- Skatetown USA, 4301 Orange Avenue, ☎ . Skating rink located on Florida State Road 68. Best skating rink in the county. As well as skating, you can play at the on site arcade or hold your birthday there.
- A. E. Backus Gallery and Museum, 500 N Indian River Drive, ☎ . Wed-Sat: 10 to 4; Sun: 12 to 4. This museum houses the greatest paintings of A. E. "Beanie" Backus and the Florida Highwaymen.
- Pineapple Playhouse, 700 W. Weatherbee Road, ☎ . Thu-Sat: 8 pm evenings, 2 pm 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.
- Shoe Mart, 2551 SE Federal Hwy. Local shoe store selling Nikes, Converse, Adidas, and other big names in shoes.
- 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 and lots of spaces for rent.
- 12A Buoy, 22 Fishermans Wharf, ☎ . 11am-10pm. 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. Sun-Thu: 11am-10pm; Fri-Sat: 11am-11pm. Located in downtown, Cobb's Landing is yet another local favorite place to get a bite to eat. Have a drink at the Mojito Bar, with the highest recommended drink being the Pineapple Mojito.
- Sonic Drive-In, 2551 S Jenkins Road, ☎ . 6am-12am. Sonic is a national drive-in restaurant chain, serving tater tots, chicken strips, burgers, and other restaurant favorites; the servers give you your order via rollerblade. Give yourself an experience you'll never forget.
- Hurricane Grill and Wings (Hurricane's; Chris's (to locals)), 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 two sauces of your choice, out of 35 flavors. Located practically on the coast
- The Original Tiki Bar, 2 Avenue A, ☎ . 11am-10pm every day. A local favorite, the Tiki Bar is an iconic FP symbol near the Indian River. Dine under an authentic thatched roof while watching the waves strike the beach and surfers catch their next wave.
- 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.
A majority of hotels in Fort Pierce are located in one part of the city. This part of the city is referred to as the "crossroads" because the Turnpike and I-95 are closest by distance here, and it gives you a chance to change your traveled highway if your plans call for such.
- Fairfield Inn & Suites, 6502 Metal Drive, ☎ . Check-in: 3pm, check-out: 12pm. Rooms and suites with microwave, work desk, free internet, flat screen TV. Guests have access to free parking, free breakfast, pool and fitness center. $79.
- Motel 6, 2500 Peters Road, ☎ . Check-in: 3pm, check-out: 12pm. Located near Interstate 95, giving easy access to Tradition Field in nearby Port St. Lucie, the Navy Seal Museum and downtown. Motel 6 is still pet friendly and gives you a modest price for every night you stay. Coin laundry, 2.99/hr WiFi, and an outdoor pool. Like they say, they'll leave the light on for you. $50/night.
- 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. $99/night.
- Hampton Inn & Suites Ft. Pierce, 1985 Reynolds Drive, ☎ . Check-in: 2pm, check-out: 12pm. Free breakfast every morning, outdoor temperature-controlled pool, fitness center, and free WiFi for all guests $88/night.
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; Mon-Fri: 8:30am-5pm; Sat: 10am-1pm at Orange Ave location. The local post office sorts and delivers mail, what is expected of a post office.
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 many places to go boating and fishing.
- Melbourne - Home to some great surfing spots along the Atlantic; one of the closest cities to Kennedy Space Center.
|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|