Situated along the Treasure Coast of Florida, Hutchinson Island is a truly captivating destination. The barrier island offers a wide range of things to do for residents and visitors alike.
With its plentiful beaches, museums, dining, and nature preserves, spending a day on Hutchinson Island can be an exhilarating and enriching experience – and it’s surprisingly accessible.
Enjoy this guide that covers some exciting things you can add to your itinerary for a day trip to Hutchinson Island.
Grab Breakfast at Seaside Café in Stuart
Seaside Café is a relatively new beachfront eatery overlooking Stuart Beach. This laid-back café not only boasts breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean but also offers a relaxed and inviting atmosphere that captures the essence of Florida living at its finest.
The café’s menu is a culinary journey inspired by the islands, offering a delectable range of options for breakfast, lunch, and those in the mood for some delightful bar bites. Whether you’re craving a hearty breakfast, a savory sandwich, a selection of small plates, or perhaps even an adult beverage, Seaside Café has you covered.
What sets Seaside Café apart is its unique beachside experience. In addition to its delectable menu, the café also provides convenient beach chair and umbrella rentals, ensuring you can savor the sun and sea in ultimate comfort. They even offer membership packages, which come with additional perks and discounts.
Seaside Café operates from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, with breakfast options available until 11:30 a.m. It’s a perfect spot to start your day or enjoy a leisurely lunch while taking in the picturesque ocean views. Just be sure to check their website for any closure notices related to weather conditions, as Seaside Café is a true gem owned and operated by Martin County Parks and Recreation.
Go Museum Hopping on Hutchinson Island
There are some fantastic places on Hutchinson Island where you go to learn more about the history, culture, and nature of the area. Take a peek at some of these museums that you can visit to make your trip more of a learning experience.
The Elliott Museum is a cornerstone of Stuart, Florida, that encompasses both local history exhibits and a diverse array of collections.
Visitors can explore vintage cars, delve into the world of baseball, appreciate artworks, and immerse themselves in Americana.
The Elliott Museum pays homage to Sterling Elliott, an inventive luminary of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. With an astounding 125 patents under his belt, Sterling Elliott made indelible contributions to various facets of American life, notably the invention of the steering knuckle, a pivotal component in the development of the automobile.
The Elliott Museum also hosts an array of events and lectures through its dedication to fostering learning, cultural appreciation, and a celebration of innovation makes it a prominent cultural institution in the Stuart area.
House of Refuge Museum
The House of Refuge Museum at Gilbert’s Bar preserves the rich maritime history of Martin County, Florida.
This historic gem not only boasts the distinction of being the county’s oldest structure but is also the sole surviving House of Refuge along this picturesque stretch of Florida’s Atlantic coast.
In the late 19th century, these Houses of Refuge were sanctuaries for shipwrecked mariners and travelers navigating the treacherous waters of the Atlantic. Managed by the United States Life-Saving Service, these havens were a beacon of hope for those facing perilous circumstances at sea.
The House of Refuge also offers a unique venue for beach weddings and ocean-side events, blending the allure of the past with the promise of new beginnings. Its roots trace back to 1876 when the U.S. Life-Saving Service constructed ten such houses along Florida’s eastern coast, providing a lifeline for those stranded by the unforgiving sea.
In 1915, as the U.S. Life-Saving Service merged with the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service to form the U.S. Coast Guard, the House of Refuge transitioned into Coast Guard Station #207.
The House of Refuge has been a museum since 1955, sharing not only tales of maritime heroism but also serving as a sanctuary for sea turtles.
Florida Oceanographic Center
Ok, this isn’t a museum, but it still belongs as part of the list. The Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center is a 57-acre facility where nature and education coexist.
The center features a colossal 750,000-gallon Game Fish Lagoon that showcases an array of marine life, while the Sea Turtle Pavilion offers a glimpse into the world of these ancient creatures.
Younger visitors can check out the Children’s Activity Pavilion, Sea Star Touch Tank Pavilion, and Rays on the Reef Ray Pavilion, providing interactive experiences that inspire curiosity and learning.
The Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
The National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum
The National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, Florida, is dedicated to preserving the remarkable history of the United States Navy SEALs and their forerunners.
It was inaugurated on Veterans Day in 1985 and sits on the original training grounds of the Navy combat divers, known as the Frogmen.
The Navy Seal Museum has a primary mission that revolves around public education, achieved through engaging interactive exhibits that delve into the extensive history of Navy SEALs. It also pays homage to the often-overlooked combat support teams, such as the Seawolves, who played a pivotal role in assisting Vietnam SEALs.
Relax at Humiston Beach Park in Vero Beach
Humiston Beach Park in Vero Beach, Florida, is a sought-after destination for beachgoers, known for its cleanliness, water quality, and prime location.
The beach is conveniently located in Vero Beach’s Beachside Shopping District, making it a favorite among both locals and tourists. Escape from the rays to grab lunch or a cold drink at Mulligan’s Beach House right next door.
Humiston Beach is supervised by lifeguards during the daytime, and it’s important to note that pets are not allowed on the beach.
There are plenty of basic amenities, including clean indoor restrooms, outdoor showers, and ample parking. There’s a children’s playground, picnic areas with sheltered tables and barbecue grills, and changing stalls for added convenience.
Stroll along the beachfront boardwalk, and get there early on Saturday morning when Humiston Beach hosts a Farmers Market where visitors can purchase organic foods, fresh seafood, and other local products.
Parking can be a challenge during weekends and events, so it’s advisable to plan accordingly.
Embibe at Square Group on the Fort Pierce Inlet
The Square Grouper Tiki Bar, first established in Jupiter, Florida, has evolved into one of the nation’s most renowned watering holes.
It gained fame for its appearances in music videos, most notably Alan Jackson’s “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” featuring Jimmy Buffett.
The Square Grouper Tiki Bar opened in Fort Pierce in 2016, and the restaurant overlooks the Fort Pierce Inlet riverwalk. It certainly embodies the relaxed, tropical atmosphere that the Jupiter location is renowned for.
Both establishments actively engage in fundraising initiatives and feature live music by both local talents and celebrated figures from the music industry.
The Square Grouper follows a ’21 and over’ policy, so plan accordingly if you have the little ones with you.
Get Wild at Avalon State Park in Fort Pierce
Avalon State Park offers more than a mile of pristine, undeveloped beachfront on Hutchinson Island. This preserve provides a serene escape but also serves as a crucial habitat for Florida wildlife..
Visitors to Avalon State Park are treated to a range of recreational opportunities. Whether you’re a swimmer, snorkeler, angler, surfer, or sunbather, the area caters to all kinds of beachgoers.
However, those venturing into the water should exercise caution, as remnants of World War II amphibious warfare exercises lie beneath.
For surfers, the park offers a unique experience, with a coquina shell path leading to the beach through a pristine dune ecosystem. Nature enthusiasts will find ample opportunities for bird-watching, especially during the captivating sunset hours when hundreds of shorebirds grace the shoreline.
Amenities are plentiful, including accessible parking, picnic pavilions, restrooms, shower stations, and water fountains.
The park’s landscape features mangroves, hardwoods like oaks and bay trees, and sea grapes. It provides a vital habitat for various bird species and occasionally hosts West Indian manatees in the nearby Indian River Lagoon.
Closing Thoughts: A Day on Hutchinson Island
There are too many things to do on Hutchinson Island to consolidate into a short list, but hopefully this is great food for thought.
From morning beach walks to afternoon kayaking and evening sunsets, Hutchinson Island offers an array of activities that cater to any interest.
Whether you’re looking to get into the outdoors, enjoy great restaurants, or seeking a tranquil escape, Hutchinson Island has something for everyone to enjoy.