Escape The Crowds At This Hidden Gem Island On Florida's East Coast

Florida's beaches, such as Palm Beach or Miami Beach, can quickly become overwhelmingly crowded, especially during spring break and other peak seasons. For a serene getaway, drive a little over 100 miles north of bustling Miami to visit the Sunshine State's quiet yet breathtaking Hutchinson Island. A barrier island spanning from Fort Pierce down to Stuart, it boasts 23 miles of sleepy, secluded beaches.


Unlike other tropical destinations off Florida's Atlantic coast, much of Hutchinson Island has been left undeveloped so that natives and vacationers can enjoy its natural beauty. Adam Frankel, a Forbes Advisor Contributor, described Hutchinson Island as "a trip back in time to old Florida, before the coastline was filled with mega-mansions and upscale beach clubs."

On average, the sea temperature at Hutchinson Island remains above 70 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. This means the salty waters are comfortable for travelers hoping to swim or go on budget-friendly warm-weather adventures, even during winter. Hutchinson Island is brimming with unique activities, must-visit attractions, and eateries that create a peaceful but exciting island retreat.


Activities on Hutchinson Island

Hutchinson Island has over two dozen beaches, so you'll never run out of places to explore. The public Bathtub Beach is known for its pristine waters, scenic dunes, and an off-shore coral reef system that scuba divers frequent. It's also a stunning U.S. snorkeling destination. (Before going, be sure to check for any beach closures.) Another idyllic spot to add to your itinerary is Avalon State Park, which encompasses nearly 2 miles of wild beachfront sought out by surfers and beachcombers. Of course, you can't skip out on water sports when visiting Hutchinson Island. Local business Beach Water Sports offers jet ski, boat, kayak, and paddle board rentals that can be reserved for an hour up to a full day.


The Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center, a 57-acre nature center, is an attraction that ocean enthusiasts and people of all ages can appreciate. The Coastal Center has a variety of mangrove-lined hiking trails and exhibits that promote marine life conservation, including a habitat housing rescued sea turtles. If you want a one-of-a-kind wildlife viewing experience in Florida, plan your trip to Hutchinson Island during sea turtle nesting season. The St. Lucie Nuclear Plant hosts intimate Turtle Walks, which lead visitors to beach nesting hotspots. When you've finished exploring the island, make your way inland to the historic downtown district of Stuart to peruse locally-owned shops that feature art, boutique clothing, sea-inspired home decor, and more.


Where to eat and stay

Whether you want a fine dining experience or to grab a bite from a casual joint, Hutchinson Island has numerous highly-rated eateries. Head to the oceanfront-located Island Beach Bar and Restaurant for meals made with local ingredients, or put on a snazzy outfit for an upscale dinner at The Nest. For a change in scenery, check out the family-owned Sauder's Landing Restaurant, which overlooks the marina side of the island. Ice cream is the quintessential treat to follow up a day spent lazing around on the sand; Cream Republic is a beloved shop with homemade, small-batch ice creams.


Though the accommodations on Hutchinson Island are sparse compared to nearby cities, you have options. The Marriott Hutchinson Island Beach Resort, Golf, and Marina is an excellent choice for travelers who want to stay at a trusted hotel chain with pools and incredible views. Book a suite at The Hutchinson Shores Resort and Spa for a luxurious Floridian seaside stay with private beach access and updated amenities. Additionally, you can search Airbnb or another vacation rental site to reserve a privately owned condo or beach house steps from the island's shore.

Looking for more beach vacation options? Check out Florida's top-rated islands.