Sunday, January 20

Fort Pierce, Florida: A Historic, Boater-Friendly Stop on the ICW

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If you’re cruising through Florida, you may want to think about stopping at Fort Pierce. It’s a major boating center right on the Intracoastal Waterway, and the Fort Pierce Inlet gives easy access to the Atlantic, if you want to go outside, or to the Bahamas. Hutchinson Island, the long, thin barrier island, separates the Waterway from the ocean there.

Fort Pierce is called the “sunrise city,” because of the clear view to the east. One of the oldest cities in the area (with roots dating to 1567), it’s on Florida’s Treasure Coast, so-named because of all the tons of treasure supposedly left in the ocean by sunken pirate ships in days gone by.

Today, Fort Pierce is in the middle of Indian River Lagoon, which runs from Ponce Inlet in the north to Jupiter Inlet in the south. It’s home to an amazing 3,500 species of birds, animals and plant life. It also has spoil islands that serve as magnets for kayaking, picnicking or rafting up, and it’s the home to many deep-sea fishing charter operations.

Fort Pierce has lots of waterfront seafood restaurants and bars, the Manatee Observation and Education Center, and the Navy SEAL Museum. Fort Pierce Inlet State Park Beach has more than half a mile of beautiful white sand, if you’re interested in swimming or diving.

Provisioning is easy. There’s a huge farmer’s market every Saturday; it’s supposed to be one of the largest in the state, and there’s a Green Market for fresh produce every Wednesday. And on the first Friday of the month there’s a Street Party with live music.

One of the easiest places to stay is the Fort Pierce City Marina (pictured above), at mile 966.5 of the ICW. It welcomes transients, and it has two fuel docks, two restaurants (and a Tiki-Bar), laundry, Wi-Fi and cable TV. Read more:

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