St. Lucie, the Jewel of Florida’s Treasure Coast is an enticing getaway for couples who want to explore, refresh, and reconnect.
My husband, Ron, and I were finally taking a much-needed vacation. Our plan: drive from Orlando down the Atlantic coast to Ft. Lauderdale.
We never made it.
A stop for lunch in Fort Pierce set us on a new course. It started simply—after lunch we went for a drive, which led to a walk, which led to me saying, “This town is so quaint and nice, let’s stay the night.”
By morning we were smitten with this little beach town. We ditched our plans and created a three-day itinerary to explore St. Lucie’s main areas: Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, and Hutchinson Island.
DAY 1 – Becoming history buffs
Where to go: National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum and St. Lucie County Regional History Center, Fort Pierce
The understated white building that houses the Navy UDT-SEAL Museum does not prepare you for what’s inside—jaw-dropping displays that trace the history of the Navy SEALs all the way from the first Frogmen of WWII to modern day.
Ron and I wandered in awe for hours, elbowing each other and whispering as we learned about missions, custom weapons and equipment. We touched the actual Maersk Alabama lifeboat where Captain Phillips was held hostage. Ron spent at least 30 minutes exploring the Black Hawk helicopter. Outside we tested ourselves on a real training course (which ended with me vowing to get to the gym).
While there’s fun to be had, the museum ensures you don’t miss the point—the SEALs have worked hard and sacrificed a lot for our country. We made sure to pay our respects at the Navy SEAL Memorial Wall before leaving.
Next on our adventure back in time was the St. Lucie County Regional History Center. With a handheld audio “tour guide” at our service, we learned about native peoples and Spanish treasure, pineapples and cowboys, war and natural wonders. With hundreds of photographs and artifacts, it was easy to picture being in their time, in their shoes, and truly appreciate the work it took to make the area what it is today.
Where to eat: Manatee Island Bar & Grill, Fort Pierce
Manatee Island Bar & Grill is the kind of place locals bring out-of-town visitors. Bright blue inside and out, it has a fun beachy vibe, incredible food, and sits right on the water’s edge overlooking Fort Pierce inlet. From our outside table we watched pelicans while we sipped cocktails (their house margarita has a splash of orange juice – I’m in love).
Every last thing on the menu sounded mouth-watering (mahi with sherry lobster cream sauce, ribs with mango barbeque sauce, homemade key lime pie… are you kidding me?) We’ll definitely find and excuse to come back.
Where to stay: The Rhumcay Beach Resort & Grill, South Hutchinson Island in Fort Pierce
For us, staying at a hotel on the beach is all about casual comfort. That’s where the Rhumcay delivers in spades. We checked in to our homey oceanfront room, stopped at the super-convenient store downstairs for some sunscreen, then spent a couple hours on the beach, lazing together in the sand until sunset.
After showering, we had a light dinner on the patio at Rhumcay Beach Grille, the inn’s on-site restaurant known for its fresh, local seafood. Also on-site—the Beach Bar! Specialty cocktails, sand, seafood, and a comfy bed? Paradise Found.
DAY 2 – Enjoying the finer things
Where to go: PGA Village Golf Club and the Treasure Coast Wine & Ale Trail, Port St. Lucie
We hadn’t planned on golfing, but when we heard about the PGA Village Golf Club we couldn’t resist. If you’ve got game, you can play a round of course, but Ron and I are both beginners so it was the Learning Center that drew us in.
The PGA Learning Center has everything from schools and clinics to private one-on-one instruction, but since our visit was spur-of-the-moment we rented a set of clubs and hit the practice areas. We worked on our our swings, some pitching and chipping, and started a betting-and-smack-talking battle on the putting green that had us both laughing.
A morning of golfing makes you thirsty… and what better way quench that thirst than with a stop on the Treasure Coast Wine & Ale Trail? Comprised of ten craft breweries, a winery & a cidery-the Trail runs from Sebastian, Florida to Port St. Lucie.
Just 10 minutes from the golf club is the Hop Life Brewing Co., making it a logical first stop. I love anything citrus, so I tried (and adored) the Tangerine Shandy and Ron thoroughly enjoyed his Jalapeño y Lima (lime) Lager.
Thirst quenched, but with a taste for more, we kicked back and spent a lazy couple of hours in the Tasting Room at the Side Door Brewing Company. Thoroughly rested and refreshed, our thoughts turned to food.
Where to eat: Tutto Fresco, Port St. Lucie
It was time to treat ourselves to some high-end fine dining, and a patron at the brewery recommended the Tutto Fresco. While the exterior has a casual feel, the interior achieves elegance with natural stone, shimmering glass, and crisp white tablecloths. Nestled into our corner table, Ron and I feasted on homemade garlic bread, the New York Strip Sinatra and Rigatoni vodka pasta.
We didn’t leave much room for dessert but ordered it anyway. I’m glad we did, because our waitress brought the most beautifully presented New York Style cheescake I’ve ever seen. It was topped with fresh strawberries and surrounded by what I can only describe as an exploding rainbow of delicious glazes. We shared it, forks clinking, like we were on a first date.
Where to stay: Sheraton PGA Vacation Resort, Port St. Lucie
In keeping with the indulgent theme of our day, we booked a one-bedroom villa at the Sheraton PGA Vacation Resort. After being out and about all day, it was a little slice of heaven to settle into the ultra-luxurious room. I soaked in a hot bath while Ron relaxed on the couch, then we snuggled up together on the cloud-like bed to watch a movie on the big-screen TV. Ahhh… the perfect end to a wonderful day.
DAY 3 – Kindling Romance
Where to go: Tours on Horseback and Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens for Jazz Jams
It was the last day of our vacation, so I suggested a day dedicated to romance. Naturally, that led us to horseback riding on the beaches of Hutchinson Island with Tours on Horseback.
White sand, turquoise water… the crashing of waves and rhythm the horses… it was so easy to relax and ride side-by-side, content to just be together without distractions. Our guide took a photo of us on horseback, holding hands and looking out at the ocean—I knew it would be a wonderful memento from the trip.
After lunch we headed to the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens. Time slowed as we wandered aimlessly through palms and roses, spotting butterflies and birds, cuddling up on a bench in the shade of The Secret Garden.
We were lucky enough to be there when the Fort Pierce Jazz & Blues Society was having a Jazz Jam (every other Wednesday), so we headed inside to enjoy the music. It was fun and causal—some people even got up to dance! It was a great way to get our energy up before heading off to dinner.
Where to eat: On the Edge Bar & Grill, Fort Pierce
Don’t let the unassuming street view and understated sign fool you—On the Edge Bar & Grill is a lot of fun. We opted for a table on the sand overlooking the Fort Pierce inlet, sipping beers and eating burgers while watching the boats glide by.
Excellent location, good food, relaxed vibe… I wondered; could it get any better than this? Indeed, it could. We were treated to a gorgeous Florida sunset, the oranges, pinks, and purples reflecting metallic lavender off the surface of the water. If that’s not romantic, I don’t know what is.
Where to stay: Mellon Patch Inn Bed & Breakfast, Fort Pierce
Mellon Patch Inn—the name alone is charming enough, but as you drive up to the pastel peach, green and pink building you can’t help but grin. Like any good bed and breakfast, it’s cozy and welcoming, and it has a fun, retro Key West feel.
After settling in, we headed out to the patio where we spent the evening barefoot and relaxed, reliving our trip—and rekindling a flame—by the flickering light of tiki torches.
Sun and sand, beaches and breweries, exploring the past and making time for romance—no matter what you enjoy, the small towns of St. Lucie County are a perfect place to Find Your Treasure.