SAINT LUCIE INLET STATE PARK
This classic Florida barrier island is accessible only by boat, but it is worth the ride. A boardwalk takes visitors across mangrove forests and hammocks of live oaks, cabbage palms, paradise trees, and wild limes to a neatly preserved Atlantic beach. During the summer months, the island is an important nesting area for loggerhead, leatherback, and green turtles. They come ashore at night to dig holes in the beach sand where they lay their eggs. The preserve is a favorite for nature students interested in learning about the native flora and fauna of Florida barrier islands. Visitors come to swim, sunbathe, or picnic at the pavilion on the quiet beach. Others make the trip for the great surf fishing. Snorkeling and scuba diving are also popular activities. Located at Port Salerno, on the Intracoastal Waterway, 2/3 of a mile south of the inlet.
Many species of wildlife may be observed at St. Lucie Inlet Preserve State Park, including bobcats, otters, raccoons and more. Morning and late afternoon are the best times to see most wildlife, since it is when they are feeding and most active. The park's varied habitats provide excellent opportunities for birding enthusiasts to view many different species of birdlife. The park is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. St. Lucie is also a very good place to see wading birds and shorebirds including Great Blue Herons, Brown Pelicans, White Ibis and the Purple Plover.
The water temperature varies from the mid to upper eighties in the summer, to mid to lower seventies in the winter. Riptides can occur on days with strong onshore winds. There are no lifeguards on duty.
The park provides 2.7 miles of white sandy Atlantic beach for your enjoyment. Sunbathe, stroll or just watch the waves wash ashore. From March to October, the beach is an important nesting area for leatherback, green and loggerhead turtles.
Although no rentals are available, there are miles of tidal creek waiting to be explored with your own kayak or canoe.
There are several good areas for fishing in the park. From the docks: Snook, Snapper and Sheepshead are regularly hooked. From the beach: Snook, Pompano and Bluefish are caught. Offshore on the reef: Cobia, Snapper and Mackerel are regular catches. A saltwater fishing license is required.
An extensive Anastasia rock reef is located just offshore of the park extending 4.7 miles along the coast and up to 1 mile offshore. Depths range from 5 ft. to 35 ft. This reef is the northernmost limit for the ranges of several species of corals found in south Florida. In addition, many species of marine plants and tropical fishes are associated with the reef. No spearfishing is permitted within state park boundaries.
You can see a variety of sea life just a few hundred feet from shore. Just remember to "take nothing but photos and leave nothing but ripples." A Diver Down flag must be displayed when snorkeling or diving.