From the water to the land, Hutchinson Island comes alive in fall and winter with challenging fishing and challenging golf.
The temperatures are cooling and the snowbird season has not quite started – welcome to the golden time for Florida. The flora and fauna come alive, as do the locals who take to the streets for festivals that celebrate everything from country music to beer to Christmas lights. Around these parts, fall and winter means both challenging fishing and challenging golf as well an amazing air show without having to jostle through crowds of other vacationers.
Activities & Attractions
Experience the PGA Tour
The 2018–19 PGA season has been a wild ride. Between the loss of sponsors and last-minute venue switches, the schedule release has been delayed by a couple months, making golf fans wait for the official dates to drop. While the future of tournaments in Houston and DC are still up in the air, the annual tournament series at the PGA Club in Port St. Lucie is still on and expected to take place between November and December. Keep an eye on the site for the official dates, they are expected to go live by end of August.
Mother Pucker Pineapple Mango Gose
Mango season in Florida runs into late October. While eating the fruit fresh is always a treat, having it brewed with pineapples and turned into a tart but refreshing beer is even better. Hop Life Brewing Company in Port St. Lucie, less than 20 miles inland, has done just that with their Mother Pucker Pineapple Mango Gose. The refreshing brew is only available on draft at Hop Life’s modern and minimal tasting room.
Mingle with Monkeys
Did you know that Fort Pierce, located just north of Hutchinson Island, is home to the world’s largest sanctuary for rescued chimpanzees? You’re not alone: few do. That’s because the 150-acre sanctuary, called Save the Chimps, is not open to the public, except for three “Member Day” events that occur each year – one being on October 13, 2018. That means, if you become a member ($50 per adult), for this select day, you are invited to take part in a rare experience that includes a guided tour of the sanctuary, where you can observe 250 resident chimpanzees as they roam the islands, palm trees, hills, and climbing structures.
Sample the Other Fishing Season
Sailfish season hasn’t quite started (Hutchinson Island is known as the sailfish capital of the world as the waters here, starting in December and running through March, become flush with the coveted sport fish). So, in the meantime, check out this other sport fish: Amberjacks, which are just making their way back to the area from August to October. Known as one of the top fighting fish out there, they generally range from 40 to 60 pounds (but can get up to 142 pounds, which is the state record), make for a fun day on the water, and, if caught, are excellent on the grill or smoker. Book a charter like St Lucie’s Bluewater Inshore Guide Service to get out to the reefs and wrecks where these fish reside.
Festivals & Events
Port St. Lucie Oktoberfest, 10/5–6
Every year, the German American Club of the Treasure Coast celebrates Bavaria’s most famous “holiday” with a weekend full of family-fun events like a craft show, live entertainment, and plenty of food vendors. For the adults at the event, there is also plenty of local brews, of course.
Stuart Air Show, 11/2–4
Located at the Witham Field in Stuart, this aeronautical spectacular is just a short 16-minute drive inland. The event includes a nighttime display and fireworks on Friday and daytime shows, static displays of planes, and a kid-friendly meet and greet with some of the pilots.
Treasure Coast Beer Fest, 11/10
Port St. Lucie’s Tradition Square becomes ground zero for trying local brews every year during the Treasure Coast Beer Fest. As well as over 300 beers for sampling, there will be plenty of cideries, meaderies, and wineries in attendance for those with a lower tolerance for hops and malt as well as a small army of food trucks.
Jensen Beach Pineapple Festival, 11/16–18
For the last 30 years, Jensen Beach has closed its downtown for this annual street fair. There is a midway full of fan-favorite carnival rides like a Ferris wheel and the Zipper, food vendors hawking all kinds of fried foods, and live entertainment. Last year included Walker Hayes and Molly Hatchet.
Festival of Lights, 12/3
The Civic Center in Port St. Lucie will once again be all decked out in lights for the Festival of Lights. This annual event includes a midway and a special kids’ snow zone that is filled with real snow. After a day of sampling local foods and getting some holiday shopping done at the craft fair, visitors line the streets for the parade of lights which leads to the lighting of the tree.
Where to Stay Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa