Anna, the Mom
Where it is located
Fort Pierce Inlet State Park is among the many state parks in South Florida, a place where we sometimes go just to enjoy the beach and relax in the warm ocean. It is close to the city of Vero Beach, about half way between Orlando and Miami.
Why a state park beach
While living in Florida, as we went south to meet family, we realised we preferred going to state park beaches rather than the regular beaches that are free and open to everyone. For example, the beaches neighbouring Miami are beautiful but usually very crowded 356 days per year and where there are a lot of people, there are a lot of things you have to put up with, like loud music of all sorts that beach goers bring with them or inappropriate behaviour and swim wear or trash left behind on the beach, just to name a few. A public, free Miami beach we soon learned is a place to where you do not want to take your kids.
So a more PG - beach for us would be one in a state park where people would have to pay a fee (usually a very small one, per car). A price had to be payed if we wanted a clean beach with people looking for peace and quiet and relaxation like we were.
Why this particular state park beach
We chose this particular state park because for us, it was a perfect rendezvous place where we could meet with our family. It was a half way point for both of our families, it was interesting, clean and away from the crowds in the southernmost parts of Florida.
We love this state park because it has a beautiful feature that our kids enjoy immensely - a jetty. The structure made of large stones placed in a long heap stretching into the ocean is a haven for pelicans and gulls of all kinds. So not only it provides a perfect opportunity for birdwatching but it is also a place to explore and climb and jump from into the warm waves.
We went there many times and the kids never got bored of the place. When they got tired of climbing the rocks of the jetty and chasing around pelicans, they would dig in the sand on the beach. When they would get tired of the sand, they would go and splash in the water; when that would get boring at some point, the interest for the jetty would be sparked up again. The fact that the kids could entertain themselves endlessly in this place provided some peace and quiet for the adults in the party. We could just relax in the sun, or swim around or walk on the beach while keeping an eye on the kids.
Last time we went there, we watched an angler fishing on the beach. At one point he got a really big fish which he had to let go because it was too large according to the measurements. We learned that by law, anglers had to measure their fish and keep only the ones that are between certain limits.
I want to go back there
I will definitely go back to this beach again whenever possible. To me it is the most relaxing spot I have been to with kids. Next time I might go and explore other activities that can be done here like a kayak tour of the Tucker Cove or the Indian River Lagoon. Maybe I will check out the observation tower for a bird's-eye-view of the Indian River and the island at the west end of the Marsh Rabbit Run Trail. It is quite possible, though, that I will just do whatever we have been doing coming here: relax in the sun and waves. I never get tired of that.
Every time we go to Fort Pierce Inlet Park, we park by a small playground area in the park so that we can have a bite to eat. Two small pavilions with tables underneath are strategically positioned there so that the parents can always keep an eye on their kids at the playground.
After eating our food, we went to the beach area. There, you can see a long pier stretching into the water. Usually, you can see lots of seabirds, who are constantly squawking and pooping EVERYWHERE. Luckily, bird poop doesn't smell so bad.
The first thing that I and my cousins wanted to do was climb the enormous rocks of the pier. Our motto was "We're not very fond of good ideas", so this seemed like the perfect idea.
"We're not very fond of good ideas" - Mihai, 2022
We soon found out that the going was harder than we thought it would be. The first time we climbed the hard rocks, we didn't go very far and got off near the shore. However, the second time, we tried to go farther, and this time it was a bad idea.
The second time, we went much farther out than the first time. Walking on the rocks was very rough, and we went so far out that the waves, which were quite high at this point, crashed into us and almost knocked us over.
However, the second trip on the rocks earned everyone the rank of "Master Climber" and we were all satisfied at that point. After climbing the rocks, we jumped off the pier and splashed around.
Later, we got bored of climbing rocks and decided to make some hardened sand balls. We would compact the sand and then put it underground to make them very hard. It would hurt a lot if we hit someone with that.
Some of our other cousins decided to make their own sand-ball shop where we could buy things with shells collected from the beach. Unluckily, the addition of currency paved a path for theft. We would collect a few shells, buy something from their shop, steal all their shells while bartering, then rinse and repeat.
When we added the possibility of hiring people, they wanted to hire me to move their shells, and you know about how well that went. In the end, they did not have enough to pay me for my services.
Vero Beach is:
The black boulders resting on the pier;
The sound of pelicans cawing;
The warm waves sweeping the beach;
The hard packed sand thrown into the water;
The salty chips from Publix.
I would go again because I liked it there.
When we go to Fort Pierce State Park we meet our cousins who live in South Florida.
To get to this beach we first had to cross an inlet on a bridge to the peninsula. Our first stop was a small park where we ate at some pavilions. After getting into our swimming trunks we went to the beach. There was one thing that stood out to me and that was the rocky pier. I instantly knew that this slippery and barnacle covered pier would lead to some great adventures.
The first adventure we went on was that of the first expedition. This rocky path was not for the faint of heart, only for trained marines like us. It was got quite difficult, but we pressed on until we arrived at the first drop-off zone. This drop-off zone was one of the few safe places to leap off of the pier without being dashed upon the rocks.
Our second expedition was a bit more challenging. We passed the first drop-off zone, then we arrived at the second one where we earned the rank of Master Marines. Then we jumped off.
The third and final expedition for me was less fortunate. The wind had started howling, and we were in the middle of the pier when a crisis happened. The bottom of my food was cut, and I could no longer walk without help, so I left and jumped into the waves amid the salutes of my fellows.
Later my cousins and I had a good idea: the making of sand balls. These sand balls once dried are very hard and almost as solid as rocks. So we wanted to dry some of them and maybe make one giant sand ball worthy of our stature. Soon some other kids got interested in our game and joined us.
From what I could tell everyone was having a good time, except for the fish that were being caught by the dozens. One of the fish that was caught was the fish version of Godzilla, of course, there was no King Kong and no fight happened (man I was about to get entertained).
Vero Beach is for me:
The wet sea foam on my cheek.
The loud cawing of the pelicans.
The splashing of waves against the rocky coast.
The laughing of my cousins splashing in the waves.
The soft sand caressing my toes.
I would go to again to this state park so that I could renew the sand ball factory and to see my cousins again (don't tell them I said so). Also I would like to earn Legendary Marine Rank which means that I would have to go to the end of the pier without cutting my feet on the way there.