While Hutchinson Island is already a rather quiet location, thanks to being off the beaten path and characterized by unpopulated beaches, it reaches new levels of serene in the late spring and summer. Here are the top attractions – from free flicks in a historic movie house to sunset drives – that you can only take advantage of during this time of year.
Activities & Attractions
Go Turtle Watching
On Friday and Saturday nights, June through July, the Inwater Research Group hosts Turtle Walks. At 9 p.m. sharp, a pre-registered group of participants gather to keep an eye out for a loggerhead sea turtle about to lay their eggs. There will be an informative talk on the conservation of sea turtles while trained biologists keep a lookout for a turtle sighting. If a turtle is spotted, the group gets to witness the egg-laying process of the loggerhead mother.
Cool off with a Classic Flick
July and August can be brutal in Florida, with temperatures in the 90s and humidity ranging from 60 to 90 percent. Sure, one way to beat the heat is to glue yourself poolside, but for a taste of culture in an air-conditioned setting, head to downtown Stuart to The Lyric Theatre, a Mission Revival–style building originally built in 1926 as a silent movie house. In July and August, the venue even offers a free summer film series, screening Academy Award–winning films at 2, 3, and 5 p.m., from classics like The Birds and Dirty Dancing to La La Land and Jersey Boys.
Witness an Alligator Looking for a Lover
Alligator mating season runs from April to July, making them far more active than usual as they look for mates. So, if you’ve ever wanted to hear an alligator mating call, now is the perfect time to take an eco-tour – we suggest River Lilly Cruises’ 1.5-hour tours – through the St. Lucie Aquatic Preserve, the freshwater and brackish water system encompassing roughly 5,000 acres in Port St Lucie. The reptiles’ deep bellows create vibrations in the water and can even be felt on board the 34-passenger pontoon boat.
Take a Sunset Drive
From June into July, the sun doesn’t set until almost 9 p.m., making sunset drives the preferred after-dinner activity. For the best views, take advantage of the 20-mile stretch of Indian River Road between Jensen Beach and Fort Pierce. The 35-mile-per-hour road meanders through the Savannas Preserve and beside old Florida mansions with the Intracoastal Waterway as your constant companion, reflecting back the colors of the spectacular sunset.
(Above) © Kim Seng | captainkimo.com
Sample the Other Fishing Season
Sailfish season may be over (Hutchinson Island is known as the sailfish capital of the world as the waters here, during the fall and winter months, become flush with the coveted sport fish), but that also means the beginning of surf fishing season. Starting in April and lasting into October, Sailfish Point (located at the south end of Hutchinson Island) offers some of the best fishing from the beach and the inlet, thanks to lush seagrass beds that are home to hundreds of fish species, including snook, tarpon, and mangrove snapper. Just make sure you arrive prepared (there are several tackle shops in Jensen Beach alone, including North Fork Bait & Tackle, and West Marine).
Festivals & Events
Rock’n Riverwalk Concert Series, second through fifth Sunday February through August
This free concert series brings a different mix of local musicians to perform vintage rock, R&B, funk, jazz, and oldies from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the RiverWalk Stage in Historic Downtown Stuart.
Stuart Single Fin Showdown, 3/14
What started as a small gathering of the area’s best surfers competing for bragging rights at the Stuart Public Beach has become Florida’s largest amateur surf festival. Each of the 125 competitors are given a vintage single-fin board from the ’70s to add an extra bit of challenge. Spectators watch while enjoying live music and plenty of food.
Classics at the Beach Car Show, 3/21
Just over a mile away from the surf contest, the Elliott Museum holds its annual celebration of vintage cars. This juried car show features classics from the museum’s collection as well as cars from private collectors in Martin County and beyond.
Strawberry Fest, 3/21–22
This annual celebration of the beloved local crop goes far beyond just fruit. The Strawberry Fest offers a whole host of family-friendly activities – from live entertainment to pony rides.
Ricky Skaggs at The Lyric Theatre, 4/5
Fifteen-time Grammy Award winner Ricky Skaggs and his band, Kentucky Thunder, return to Stuart’s historic theatre for this evening of toe-tapping tunes, including favorites like “Sis Draper,” “Return to Sender” and “Road to Spencer.”
Youth-Driven Cinema, 5/1
This K-12 environmental film festival screens the local film work – everything from animations to short documentaries – of area students at The Lyric Theatre.
Treasure Coast Tri, 6/7
Athletes meet at Jaycee Park in Fort Pierce before swimming in the Indian River Lagoon, followed by cycling along A1A, and ending with a run on A1A.
Where to Stay Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa