FORT PIERCE INLET STATE PARK
The shores and coastal waters at this park provide an abundance of recreational opportunities. The breathtakingly beautiful half-mile beach welcomes visitors for swimming, snorkeling, surfing, and scuba diving. Beachcombing, picnicking, or just relaxing on the sand are also popular activities. Dynamite Point was once the training site for WWII Navy Frogmen, but is now a haven for birdwatchers. Along the south end of the park, Fort Pierce Inlet is a popular place for anglers to catch their dinners. Jack Island Preserve, located one mile north of the park, has trails for hiking, bicycling, and nature study. At the west end of the Marsh Rabbit Run Trail, visitors can climb an observation tower to get a bird's-eye view of Indian River and the island. A primitive youth/group campground is available on a reservation basis; please call the park. Located four miles east of Fort Pierce, via North Causeway.
NATURE OF THE AREA
Due to our location, bird watching is a popular pastime. Situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon, the park affords a variety of habitat and food sources for all types of coastal and migratory birds.
HISTORY OF THE AREA
Ft. Pierce Inlet State Park?s half-mile stretch of white sand is not just another sunny Florida beach. During World War II, it was the birthplace and training ground for U.S. Navy Frogmen, forerunners of today?s Navy Seals. Here, many of the 140,000 personnel stationed in the area practiced for the D-Day invasion of Europe. ?Dynamite Point? earned its name from the activities of the Navy Underwater Demolition Team. The park, located in St. Lucie County, consists of two separate sections. The smaller part, the state park, borders the north shore of Ft. Pierce Inlet and fronts on the Atlantic Ocean. The other part is the larger Jack Island Preserve, which is 1.5 miles north of the park. Together, they offer not just history, but a chance to discover eight biological communities typical of the barrier islands that line Florida?s east coast.
Ft. Pierce?s military connection dates back further than World War II. It was named for the U.S. Army fort built in 1838 during the Second Seminole War by Lt. Col. Benjamin Pierce. The fort was reached from the ocean through the old Indian River Inlet, a natural waterway located just northeast of Jack Island. When this inlet closed in the early 1900s, a man-made inlet was cut at its present location in Ft. Pierce.
Available only to organized youth groups, our primitive Youth Camp is located along the famous Indian River Lagoon. It?s a very enjoyable place to relax and observe the native wildlife that visits the lagoon everyday looking for food. Please contact the park for availability and reservations.
Swimming is permitted in the Atlantic Ocean which is easily accessible from one of our four boardwalks. Lifeguards are on duty only in the summer, from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Ft. Pierce Inlet State Park has been ranked as the #1 place to surf in South Florida by the Palm Beach Post in March 2008! Our great surf is due to the reef line lying just outside of the jetty; with incoming and high tides, the waves are at their best and surfers pour in. Because of our impressive waves, the park is home to a wide range of surfing competitions held yearly between September and February.
Canoeing or kayaking the Indian River Lagoon is a great way to spend the day. The park offers several areas from which you may launch your canoe or kayak, most just 30-40 yards to the water?s edge. Bring a picnic lunch and explore the lagoon?s pristine estuary and diverse wildlife.
If you like to fish, this is one of the hottest places you can fish from land! At certain times of the year, you may see fish migrating along the coast or passing through the inlet. You can catch various species of fish including Bluefish, Snook, Red Drum, Flounder and Trout. All fishing within the park must conform to regulations concerning size, number, method of capture and season. Non-residents of Florida must purchase a Florida license to fish from shore.
Park visitors can enjoy the great beauty of our beach that we are well-known for. The beach offers a firm sandy bottom and a beautiful view of the Florida coastline. Take a leisurely stroll and find the ?gems? we call seashells in a variety of beautiful shapes and colors.
Snorkeling is a popular recreational activity, weather permitting. Snorkelers can enjoy the beautiful tropical sea life that awaits them below. Most of year, our waters are so clear you just might think you?re in the Bahamas! A Diver Down flag must be displayed.
The park has 5 covered pavilions that are available either on a first-come, first-served basis or by reservation. Pavilions # 1, 2, and 3 are our large pavilions. Each pavilion has 12 standard picnic tables as well as 2 ADA-accessible tables. No electric or water is available with any of our pavilions. For availability and reservations, please contact the park.
We have a paved bike path that begins outside the park, winds through the park taking you to our playground, picnic area, or if you prefer, the beach.
Our Oak Hammock Trail leads visitors through one of the few remaining oak hammocks on a south Florida barrier island. It?s a nice, leisurely walk and only 30-minutes long. You can see many native trees including Gumbo Limbo, Red Bay and a variety of oaks.
Scuba diving is available; we have a reef about 100 yards from the beach. This is where you can explore our Atlantic "underwater paradise." A Diver Down flag must be displayed.