St. Lucie County
Under the cobalt-blue seas, divers can see firsthand why this area is called the Treasure Coast, as they scour the remains of Spanish treasure ships at one of the state’s first underwater archaeological preserves. Divers still flock to the area hoping to find the remnants of unken Spanish galleons, as well as tasty treasures like spiny lobster and grouper. With 21 miles of sandy shores, St. Lucie County offers endless water activities including surfing, snorkeling, kite boarding, fishing, windsurfing, water-skiing, horseback riding and just plain relaxing under the Florida sun.
During the spring and summer, baseball is in swing at Tradition Field: the spring training home of the National League New York Mets and the summer home of the Florida State League St. Lucie Mets. During the winter and spring, sports enthusiasts can also enjoy “the fastest game on Earth” at the Fort Pierce Jai-Alai.
The Past Is Present – St. Lucie County is surrounded by history from its role in World War II to cultural icons such as author Zora Neale Hurston and artists A.E. Backus and the Florida Highwaymen. An impressive tribute to the Navy’s elite can be found at the Navy SEAL Museum, which sits where close to 130,000 officers trained for WWII. It is the birthplace of the “Frogmen,” who later become known as the Navy SEALs. The museum pays homage to the scouts, raiders, divers, naval combat units and underwater demolition teams that have served in every major military conflict since the 1940s. A more complete history of St. Lucie County can be found at the St. Lucie County Historical Museum, featuring artifacts from the 1838 Seminole War and an Indian encampment featuring a thatched chickee, hand-carved canoe and patchwork clothing. Artists will enjoy a visit to the A.E. “Bean” Backus Museum & Gallery, which features rotating exhibits as well as a permanent collection of works by Florida’s foremost landscape artists: Backus and the Florida Highwaymen. There is also a host of murals and art galleries throughout Downtown Fort Pierce, featuring works by national and local artists.
Florida, the Way Mother Nature Intended – Environmental protection and education are important aspects of St. Lucie County with a host of educational/research facilities including the Oxbow Eco-Center in Port St. Lucie and the Manatee Observation and Education Center in Fort Pierce, as well as Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution and the Smithsonian Marine Ecosystems Exhibit located along the Indian River Lagoon—one of the most diverse estuaries in the country and home to more than 4,000 species of plants and animals. Rent a kayak, or enjoy a leisurely, narrated tour on the picturesque St. Lucie River, where beautiful birds, lush foliage and even river otters and alligators entertain. Veterans Memorial Park at Rivergate in Port St. Lucie provides a peaceful stroll along the river boardwalk to the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall. It’s the perfect place for a picnic. Remember to save time for Heathcote Botanical Gardens. This three-acre living museum boasts beautiful flowers and tropical plants including an enchanting Japanese garden.
When the sun goes down, the lights go on, and a wealth of St. Lucie County entertainment awaits. Live concerts by the Jazz Society, Blues Alliance and the Treasure Coast Symphony and dramatic presentations by the Treasure Coast Opera Society, Pineapple Playhouse and Indian River Community College’s Fine Arts Department offer a lively, entertaining cultural calendar throughout the year. It’s Florida—still uncrowded, still unspoiled.
Swing into a Game of Golf – For a great round of Florida golf, all you need is an average year-round temperature of 74 degrees, balmy saltwater breezes from the Atlantic Ocean and a collection of some of the finest courses that are challenging, picturesque and amazingly affordable. Pilots with their own planes may want to try Fairwinds Golf Course’s “Fly-in” program with the St. Lucie County International Airport, where they can taxi to a waiting golf cart. If your golfing skills need to be sharpened, be sure to stop by the PGA Golf Club and Village in Port St. Lucie. This complex—the first PGA facility open to the public— is the most advanced golf and practice center in the country, featuring the PGA Learning Center, Educational Center, Historical Center and Golf Club. It offers more than 72 holes of golf as well as the 35-acre learning center, which Golf World says “might be the best practice facility in the world” with driving ranges, putting greens, chipping areas and nine different types of bunkers. In addition to PGA, St. Lucie County has an abundance of public and semiprivate courses offering more than 300 holes of demanding links that stretch out over 6,000 yards, designed by greats such as Jack Nicklaus, Pete Dye, George and Jim Fazio, Chuck Ankrom and Arthur Hills. Courses include: Ballentrae, Gator Trace, Club Med Resort, Indian Hills, Savannas, Island Dunes, St. James, Indian Pines and the Saints of Port St. Lucie. Award-winning golf options exist for players of all skill levels; so whether a first-time player or PGA professional, there is something special for you on your next golfing vacation to St. Lucie County.