Florida’s Central East region offers a variety of experiences, ranging from space travel to mangroves and nearly 200 miles of stunning beaches. Often referred to as the Treasure Coast due to historical shipwrecks and bounties that have washed ashore, much of the region remains uncrowded, affordable and family-friendly. Prepare to fall in love with its seaside towns and hidden gems. By Melody Pittman
Unwind along 23 miles of hard-packed beaches. Enjoy a casual shopping spree at the Riverfront Shops of Daytona Beach. Schedule tee time at a tropically lush golf course. Sample local brews along the Daytona Beach Ale Trail. Tour Daytona International Speedway and meander through the local galleries, museums and historical sites. Dine al fresco along the Halifax River while watching for dolphins. Take in an electrifying performance at The Peabody Auditorium. Finish with a leisurely stroll and watch the stars come out over Ponce Inlet.
Sit in splendor as the sun rises over the Atlantic Ocean. Next take a trip on the Loxahatchee River, Florida’s first federally designated Wild and Scenic River at Jonathan Dickinson State Park. Tour the last remaining House of Refuge; touch a stingray at Florida Oceanographic; cross the street to the Elliott Museum to be amazed at the antique car collection. Visit Jensen Beach, both downtown and the beach. End the day in Stuart, the first town in Florida to be designated the “Happiest Seaside Town” by Coastal Living.
Rise early to hook up with your hired guide and find out why 730-square-mile Lake Okeechobee offers one of the world’s most amazing freshwater game fishing experiences. Other top tourist draws in this area center around hunting and shooting sports. Back in Okeechobee, enjoy good old-fashioned home cooking at a local restaurant or lunch at your favorite national chain. Grab your camera and hike or cycle along the prettiest part of Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail. Later, drive to Kissimmee Prairie Preserve Park and spend a romantic night stargazing.
St. Lucie County
Relax on miles of uncrowded beaches or ride the beach on horseback. Kayak on the famous Indian River Lagoon, floating through tunnels of mangrove trees. Pack your clubs and choose from over two dozen golf courses, including the famous PGA Village in Port St. Lucie—voted one of the top 75 golf resorts by Golf Digest. Immerse yourself in “Old Florida” culture in downtown Fort Pierce, one of the most historical and idyllic main streets in the USA, where Spanish period architecture is plentiful and local seafood is the main staple.