About Fort Pierce

The Sunrise City

Fort Pierce, often called the Sunrise City, has been the hub of St. Lucie County, Florida for over 100 years. Situated on the “Treasure Coast,” named after the famed sinking of a Spanish treasure fleet in 1715, Fort Pierce is one of the oldest communities on the east coast of Florida. Incorporated in 1901, the city grew from 300 pioneers to over 45,000 residents today and encompasses approximately 31 square miles. Our city is a diverse, yet neighborly, community that embraces both the richness of our heritage and the promise of the future. In Fort Pierce, you’ll find a historic, small-town lifestyle in a picturesque slice of paradise, with miles and miles of unspoiled shores. Fort Pierce is one of Florida’s best-kept secrets -- a place with fascinating research centers and museums, excellent community services, and a wealth of cultural and recreational attractions.


Fort Pierce is famous for being a quaint fishing village, but take a closer look and you will find a treasure trove of activities. As one of the most diverse communities on the Treasure Coast, Fort Pierce has the cultural excitement to rival any “big city” atmosphere. With weekly and monthly events and premier shows at the Sunrise Theatre, visitors never run out of things to do or people to meet. Fort Pierce is located on the pristine Indian River Lagoon with one of the best all-weather inlets in the state of Florida. Even though Fort Pierce is known for its world-class fishing, some visitors would rather take an eco-friendly motorized kayak down the Indian River or dolphin watch on a tour boat. Paddleboarding and horseback riding on unspoiled beaches is also a hit among tourists. Fort Pierce’s natural beauty is world-renowned.

Features & Diversity

Our city is a diverse yet neighborly community, embracing both the richness of our heritage and the promise of the future in St. Lucie County. Downtown has retained its old Florida charm and scale, as it has welcomed new development and revitalization. The historic waterfront downtown affords residents contemporary shopping, dining, great fishing, and a range of entertainment and activities from the Farmers Market, Friday Fest, Jazz Market, and the city-owned and operated historic, 1,200 seat Sunrise Theatre for the Performing Arts.


Fort Pierce is home to educational and research facilities, like the top-ranked Indian River State College, Smithsonian Marine Station, Manatee Observation and Education Center, and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution at Florida Atlantic University. Furthermore, Indian River State College has earned a statewide and national reputation for excellence. Dedicated to the success of each student, IRSC offers over 100 programs leading to Bachelor’s Degrees, Associate Degrees, Technical Certificates, and Applied Technology Diplomas. Continuing a 57-year tradition of responsiveness to community needs, IRSC is committed to advancing the educational, cultural, career training, workforce, and economic development of its surrounding area. In 2019, Indian State College was awarded its highest honor, the Aspen Prize, for Community College Excellence. The college was selected from more than 1,000 state and community colleges following a rigorous review of data, strategies, and outcomes related to student learning, degree and certificate completion, high rates of graduate employment, earnings for graduates, and exceptional access and success for minority and low-income students. During the 2017-2018 academic year, IRSC’s graduating class—3,951 students—was the largest in the College’s 58-year history. 94% of IRSC graduates find employment or continue their education, typically earning more than twice the average entry wage in the four-county area. IRSC is designated as the 3rd Most Affordable College in the U.S. by the Department of Education, with no tuition increase in six years. 


B Rated District with No Failing Schools

66% Are “A” and “B” Schools

Top 3 for Academic Achievement

Top 10 for Graduation Rate

93.2% Overall Graduation Rate

An Award-Winning City

Fort Pierce was awarded the 2005 City of Excellence Award by the Florida League of Cities for overall excellence in city government and in 2011 and Main Street Fort Pierce, Inc. received the Great American Main Street Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation in beautiful downtown Fort Pierce.

Most Idyllic and Historic Main Street

In 2015, Fort Pierce was named one of USA Today's Most Idyllic and Historic Main Streets in America.

USA Today applauded Fort Pierce’s downtown in its Aug. 11, 2014, edition in an article headlined, “Idyllic and historic main streets across the USA.” Here is the entry that appeared in the newspaper: Fort Pierce, a Treasure Coast “Old Florida” town, cooled by breezes off the Indian River, won the 2011 Best Main Street designation from the National Trust. Swaying palm trees line the sidewalks, and the atmosphere evokes the early 1900’s when the city came into its own. Period Spanish architecture punctuates the downtown area, the star of which is the historic Sunrise Theatre. The Saturday Farmer’s Market is a must.

Read more in Fort Pierce Magazine.

No. 1 Best Small Town Main Street in America

Also in 2015, Fort Pierce’s downtown Main Street was named No. 1 on a consumer-advocacy group’s list of “50 Best Small Town Main Streets” in America. The honor was given by Top Value Reviews, which ranked Fort Pierce top among cities with a population of 60,000. Fort Pierce was one of only two Florida cities named on the list and it beat out notable quaint small towns such as Nantucket, Mass., and Steamboat Springs, Colo. “It was a surprise to us and what an honor to be chosen over 2,000 other Main Street programs across the country,” says Doris Tillman, who has been executive director of Main Street Fort Pierce Inc. for the past 24 years. “It is not about the people who run Main Street. It is about all the people who have so much belief in bettering ourselves. It is the community and the city and the people always ready to support and help you.”

Read more in Fort Pierce Magazine.


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