Florida’s Treasure Coast
The Treasure Coast, located on the Southeastern coast of Florida, is a stretch of sand that encompasses some of the most beautiful beaches on Florida’s South Coast: Stuart, Jensen Beach, and Hobe Sound. A Treasure Coast vacation must also include a visit to Hutchinson Island to the South and Jupiter Island to the North.
The history of the Treasure Coast can be traced back to 1696 when Johnathan Dickinson was shipwrecked along the St. Lucie Inlet. Currently, there is a park in his name where you can learn about the history of the land through today.
The Treasure Coast of our modern world is vastly different from what it once was, but one thing has remained true – it is still just as beautiful and rich as it was all those years ago. Today, this hub of beach cities makes for an inviting getaway. The Treasure Coast towns are all popular coastal destinations to fish, boat, and enjoy the Florida sunshine.
The Treasure Coast is also an up and coming destination for LGBTQ tourism and queer living. With a little help from our favorite lesbian realtor, Melissa Gershman, we’ve provided an in-depth Treasure Coast Vacation Guide that includes the many reasons to consider Florida’s Treasure Coast when planning your next LGBTQ Florida vacation.
How LGBTQ-Friendly is the Treasure Coast?
“The LGBTQ community along Florida’s Treasure Coast is growing,” says Gershman, who has been living along the Treasure Coast for years. “I’ve seen a big surge in LGBTQ presence in our region and many smaller groups are coming together to host larger LGBTQ events for locals and visitors.”
Although not the most LGBTQ-populated region in Florida, the Treasure Coast offers plenty of events and activities for LGBTQ residents and locals with a more laid-back feel.
Pride Alliance of the Treasure Coast
The Pride Alliance of the Treasure Coast focuses on promoting unity within the Treasure Coast by providing activities, resources, and information to the LGBTQ+ community. Money raised by the Pride Alliance supports other not-for-profit organizations within the Treasure Coast.
The Pride Alliance is also host to the Treasure Coast’s annual pride festival. This was previously organized by Treasure Coast Pride (recently dissolved).
In the meantime, the organization partners with other organizations, like The Sanctuary of the Treasure Coast, to support the region’s LGBTQ community.
The Sanctuary of the Treasure Coast
The Sanctuary is the Treasure Coast’s largest LGBTQ+ Center. Newly housed at the Inner Truth Project facility, The Sanctuary is an integral part of the queer scene in the area. The organization hosts fun and inclusive events for everyone to enjoy all year long.
On their website, you can find the organizations latest news and a monthly event calendar. The Sanctuary hosts informational meetings on important topics like school safety and HIV prevention, that focus on advocacy and awareness. They also organize youth hangouts, beach days and other fun excursions, fitness days, and so much more.
Where to Stay
The Treasure Coast is made up of several cities which means that accommodation options abundant. Whether you want to jump from town to town to enjoy the treasures that each has to offer, or to stay put in one place, the hotels below were Melissa’s picks for guests in the area. Each offer fabulous amenities and are located in convenient spots nearby popular Treasure Coast vacation destinations.
Old Colorado, Downtown Stuart
The Old Colorado Inn is a boutique hotel that offers an authentic experience in the heart of Historic Downtown Stuart. Stuart is a coastal town along the Treasure Coast. It is well known for beaches, boating, and fishing. This is a great centric location that can get you to the best waterfront restaurants or sandy beaches in a matter of minutes. The Inn has various sized rooms to accommodate different party sizes. They have standard hotel suites but also offer off-property vacation rental cottages, houses, and lodges to fit everyone in the family.
If you’d like to take a day trip, Stuart is only 40-minutes away from West Palm Beach. Here, you can enjoy all that this beach town has to offer. You’ll also be close to neighboring cities like Jupiter, Tequesta, and Port St. Lucie.
Courtyard, Hutchinson Shores
The Courtyard by Marriott on Hutchinson Shores is a waterfront hotel that offers plenty of perks for its patrons. Along with the breathtaking views, the hotel offers amenities such as free WiFi and work stations for travelers who like to work and play. And the suites are worth the investment, as you get a private balcony and separate living space. Don’t forget to make time for a dip in the pool and get your favorite cocktails at the poolside Latitudes Tiki Bar. Later in the evening, head back to Latitudes to dine on pizzas, flatbreads, sandwiches, shrimp, and many other tasty menu items.
This hotel offers a centric stay on Jensen Beach so you can enjoy the activities throughout the town or venture to Stuart and Port St. Lucie for historic and activity-filled experiences.
Club Med is an all-inclusive resort offering an authentic Caribbean vacation experience without breaking the bank. Enjoy a family vacation or a couple’s romantic escape at this one-of-a-kind property. Located in Sandpiper Bay, this centric spot offers it all. Lounge all day or go out to explore popular hubs like Fort Lauderdale, the Palm Beaches, or Orlando.
Enjoy various family-friendly sporting activities guided by professional coaches and instructors. Choose from several sports like tennis, beach volleyball, and golf. Or sign up for a fitness class! The resort also offers leisure activities and a peaceful adult-exclusive infinity pool to unwind after a long and energetic day.
The resort even has day passes available, so if you’ve decided to stay elsewhere you can still take advantage of resort amenities.
Things to Do
While on a Treasure Coast vacation, you’ll have plenty to do. Whether you love nature, cruising the trendy city areas, or lounging and relaxing by the water, these suggested destinations have it all! You can go on nature walks, kayak through aquatic preserves, shop and support small businesses, or enjoy a wide variety of live musical entertainment.
Kayak Fort Pierce Inlet and Jetty Park
If you need the perfect zen place to disconnect from all your worries, check out these two great kayaking spots. Both located in Fort Pierce, you can spend relaxing hours here rowing along the gorgeous Atlantic Ocean. These two parks offer several different adventures. Enjoy your very own beach, scuba diving, and so much more. This area features several popular restaurants and bars. So once you dry off at the beach, throw on some nice clothes and enjoy the nightlife.
Tradition is an up-and-coming town in the Port St. Lucie area. At face value, Tradition has the look and feel of a charming old city. In reality, the town is packed with modern amenities for both residents and visitors. Tradition is technically a residential area that has expanded over the past year. There are now schools, businesses, and even an autonomous tram system.
The town is surrounded by luscious nature trails and parks for people who love the outdoors. If you prefer city vibes, check out the Town Center which is brimming with restaurants, bars, your well-known retail stores. The town even has a recreational area with a butterfly garden and paintball park. There is so much to do in Tradition that you won’t want to miss a trip to this up-and-coming, yet nostalgic, area.
The Mets Spring Training at Clover Park
Port St. Lucie is the proud host of The Mets spring training stadium, as well as host to the minor league team St. Lucie Mets. Originally named Thomas J. White Stadium, the renamed Clover Park is small (only seating 7,000 people) compared to others in Florida, and is a hot spot for games, concerts, and festivals. So whether you’re a hardcore baseball fan or want to enjoy a thrilling musical experience, check out Clover Park for upcoming events so you can plan your next outing.
Hutchinson Island is a must-visit, photo-worthy spot on a Treasure Coast Vacation. This long and thin barrier island extends from Fort Pierce to Stuart. It has beautiful beaches as well as rich cultural ventures, resorts, and restaurants. Hutchinson Island is also famous for its prolific wildlife. Here, you can observe various sea creatures in their natural habitats, such as the endangered sea turtles, birds, and crabs.
If you love the water, you’ll be pleased to know that on this island, there are two different bodies of water to enjoy – the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Indian River on the west. And don’t worry about leaving your pups behind either. Walton’s Rock is a dog beach, where you and your furry friend can enjoy the water together. If you’re looking for something more liberating, there is a nude beach called Blind Creek to enjoy sunbathing without any fear of judgment.
The Indian River Lagoon is a large aquatic preserve that stretches 156 miles. Here you can find eco-tours to learn about the different sea creatures, plants, and birds within the area while seeing the animals up-close and personal. So, don’t forget to make time for this gorgeous escape to enjoy the nature that surrounds this beautiful region.
Savannas Preserve State Park
Savannas Preserve State Park sits on a basin marsh that stretched throughout all of southeast Florida prior to the rapid construction of urban areas. The state park has trails for walking, mountain biking, as well as canoe tours. The nature-filled park lends itself to great photo-ops, so bring your camera. If you enjoy fishing, make sure to bring your fishing rod which is a popular recreational activity here.
This unique beach is hidden between Fort Pierce and West Palm Beach and is known for its eclectic and whimsical shopping scene, as well as live music and restaurant-filled streets. Jensen Beach is known for its various major shopping centers and “unusual” street vendors. Every Thursday night, a “happening” takes place called Jammin’ Jensen. From 6-9 PM, local artists display their wares (jewelry, sculpture, clothing, and home goods) while live music plays and local restaurants serve delicious treats.
This area is famous for seafood and its iconic pineapple festival. In fact, Jensen Beach used to be called the “Pineapple Capital of the World,” and to stay true to this title, they hold a pineapple festival to celebrate their annual harvest.
Stroll Through Downtown Stuart
Downtown Stuart has been named an “Old Florida-style treasure” and we could not agree more! This historic town offers many different dining, entertainment, and shopping options. It has art galleries, locally-owned businesses, theaters, waterfront views, a gorgeous boardwalk, and an active marina. The old-timey look and feel is what really draws in visitors to roam its streets. Get to know the town’s history while there via tram.
Explore Jonathan Dickinson State Park
If you’d like to say you visited the largest park in Southeast Florida, Jonathan Dickinson State Park is the place for you! This park is unique because it has extremely diverse environments that are rare to find in the state. The park offers kayaking along the Loxahatchee River, horseback riding, hiking, camping, and more.
If you’re interested in learning about the park’s rich history, make sure to join a ranger-guided tour, where you can explore several historical sites. Visit a secret World War II camp, a shipwrecked Quaker merchant boat (for which the park is named after), and even the mystical Wild Man of the Loxahatchee. Then head over to the Elsa Kimbell Environmental Education and Research Center where for a family-friendly educational program.
Though Tequesta is a smaller village located in Palm Beach County, it packs a tropical punch! Most of the village is located on the mainland but parts of the village are on Jupiter Island in Martin County, with small sections both north and south of the unincorporated, county-owned Coral Cove Park. Tequesta has a great island vibe, filled with a varied selection of restaurants and bars for just about everyone on the Intracoastal.
While in town, stop over to see the Jupiter Island Lighthouse and Museum. Climb to the top for sunrise, midday and sunset tours. Take in spectacular sunset views while witnessing the Jupiter Light turned on to illuminate the night sky. Visitors get an inside look at the nuts & bolts of a working lighthouse watchroom.
Where to Eat
The following dining options provide versatile choices to satisfy ever palate during a Treasure Coast vacation. These are just some of Melissa’s favorites, but there are so many delicious spots around the Treasure Coast area to check out. We hope you have time for all of them!
Blue Pointe Bar and Grille
No need to dress fancy to enjoy this establishment! In fact, the best attire to wear when heading to Blue Pointe Bar and Grille is your bathing suit. This restaurant feels like a tropical resort thanks to its amenities. For example, its emblematic pool offers a gorgeous waterfront view of the Intracoastal Waterway. Right next door, there are water sport rentals available. This large restaurant has loads of seating so if you have a larger party, it’s the perfect spot. With live musical entertainment, delicious platters, and never-ending pool days, you’ll never be bored at Blue Pointe.
Square Grouper Bar & Grill
Square Grouper Bar and Grill prides itself on two major pillars: quality and consistency. Owner Lynn and her staff ensure the highest quality ingredients are served to their beloved customers. Their love for innovative cuisine and high attention to detail is one of the reasons this restaurant is so famous. They serve carefully crafted small plates, rotating seasonal dishes, a curated boutique wine list, and savory full-size meals.
If sustainability is important to you, you’ll be pleased to know that Square Grouper Bar & Grill is on a mission to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Even their paper plates and straws made from corn.
If you love seafood, U-Tiki is the spot for you! U-Tiki offers a variety of cuisines that include fried seafood platters, sushi rolls, and Caribbean flatbreads. And the views are unbeatable. They also have a large drink menu so options are limitless.
U-Tiki is located directly in the Jupiter Inlet Marina, so if you feel like enjoying your meal and drink with a beachside view, make sure to sit outside. Here, you’ll have front row access to beautiful Florida waters and the boats that park alongside the marina. If you’d rather a more personal space, sit on the terrace and enjoy the welcoming tropical atmosphere.
Tradition and legacy are Schooners’ words to live by! Standing proudly in Jupiter for over 30 years, Schooners offers the highest quality seafood in town. The fish is filleted in house daily and the soups and desserts are beloved family recipes passed down generation after generation. Originally, Schooners was a gas station, founded by three friends, Joe Ruddy, Ron Cooper, and Joe Szabo. Over time, it grew into one of Jupiter’s longest running restaurants. Though Cooper and Ruddy have passed on, their legacy still remains with Joe Szabo and his family.
Schooners is open from Tuesday to Sunday during summer months. Specialties include fisherman’s stew, mahi mahi tacos, and fresh lobster rolls. Their Thirsty Joe’s Outside Bar hosts happy hour daily from 3 to 6 PM. You can sip on cocktails, beers, and other drinks and munch on $6 appetizers, all while enjoying the social outdoor atmosphere.
This stunning waterfront property is one of the most famous restaurants in Palm Beach County. When it opened back in 2004, it was a small sandwich shop, selling classic Florida flavors, such as the Cuban sandwich and fresh seafood bites. Since then, it has expanded and currently operates as an open air restaurant. It is a beautiful island themed establishment decorated with tiki huts, coquina stone, and banyan trees.
Guanabanas uses locally sourced ingredients to ensure the highest quality dining experience. Enjoy a variety of live entertainment various times a week, too. Food, music, drinks, and decor make for a relaxing vacation experience.
The Woods is an elevated sports bar founded by Tiger Woods. Tiger wanted sports fans from all walks of life to experience an upscale dining experience while still enjoying an energetic sports bar atmosphere. The restaurants offers traditional American dishes and an extensive drink menu with a fine-dining flare.
The Woods is located in Harbourside Place, a high-end downtown spot in the Jupiter area. This downtown area offers the best in dining, shopping, entertainment, boating, and luxury sleeping accommodations. It is a coastal paradise that features yachts, boat clubs, and jet ski and kayak rentals.
Plan Your LGBTQ-Welcoming Visit to the Treasure Coast
Overall, the Treasure Coast is an underrated destination that is slowly rising in the ranks of queer tourism and inclusivity. Visit this up-and-coming part of Florida for an amazing weekend getaway, day trip, or vacation.
Ready to pack your bags and move to the Treasure Coast? Then contact Melissa Gershman with Coastal Real Estate Professionals to learn more.
Also, check out our Delray Beach Gay Travel Guide to learn more about things to do in neighboring towns.
**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).
Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by our publisher, writers, and community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.