Hutchinson Island offers a blend of serene beaches, rich cultural heritage, and thrilling outdoor activities, but if you’re only going to be in the area for one full day, trying to figure out what to do and where to go can get a little intimidating.
That’s why we’ve crafted this itinerary to help maximize your day while helping you uncover the island’s picturesque landscapes and vibrant local island life, with each stage of the day offering a few options just in case something just isn’t your speed.
Whether you’re looking for relaxation by the water, exploration of natural wonders, or unveiling local cultural pursuits, there are myriad things to do on Hutchinson Island that promise to provide a full day of unforgettable activities and pure delight.
Morning: Sunrise and Beach Time
The best way to kick off your day on Hutchinson Island is to catch one of the most magical sunrises of your life on one of the nearby pristine beaches.
Depending on where you’re staying, coming from, or going to, there are plenty of beach options on the island, and they are all beautiful and picturesque, so pick one close, head there while it’s still dark, and enjoy a coffee and leisurely walk while the sun makes its way over the horizon.
After sunrise, there’s no need to rush your day, take an hour or two and indulge in some beach activities, maybe build a sandcastle with your inner child, or if you need a bit more to get your blood pumping, have a quick jog or do some beachside yoga.
Going an alternate route, you can try some of the golf courses on Hutchinson Island that offer a great day enjoying the sun and breeze. Just be sure to schedule your tee time early if you want to have time to hit the beach before lunch.
Mid-Morning: Wildlife Exploration
For a mid-morning wildlife exploration on Hutchinson Island, you can find a wildlife exploration paradise at the 57-acre site of the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center, situated between the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean.
The oceanographic center offers a unique and incredibly immersive look at the diverse coastal ecosystems of Florida, and upon your arrival, you’ll begin your visit with a guided tour of the center itself.
You’ll learn about local marine life as well as ongoing coastal conservation efforts, even experiencing the highlight of the center, the stingray touch tank, where you can learn more about and even touch one of the fascinating and dangerous creatures.
After that, you’ll explore the winding nature trails that snake through the various hardwood hammocks and mangrove swamps, which are home to an incredible amount of wildlife, from snakes and birds to insects and alligators and even the occasional manatee.
The educational exhibits, such as the Game Fish Lagoon and the Sea Turtle Pavilion, offer unique insights into the life cycles and specialized habitats of various marine animals.
There are quite a few parks on Hutchinson Island if you want to get out into the waterways, beaches, and local ecosystems. They provide access to kayaking, paddleboarding, surfing, and much more.
Lunch: Local Cuisine
For lunch, you’ll want to head over to Kyle G’s Prime Seafood & Steaks, which is known for its spectacular ocean view and award-winning dishes.
Here, you’ll find an atmosphere that finds a fine balance between casual and fine dining, while still making it suitable and accessible for all kinds of visitors.
On most days, you’ll be able to choose between indoor and outdoor dining, and with an extensive lunch menu, you should be able to find something to scratch any itch, though they also offer a wonderful Sunrise Breakfast Buffet if you’re in the mood.
Any way you slice it, Kyle G’s is a must-visit for its views, food, and live music.
Afternoon: Cultural and Historical Visits
Now that you’re rested and refueled for the afternoon, it’s time to hit some cultural highlights.
Start with The Elliott Museum, which was created and established by Harmon Elliott in memory of his father and prolific inventor, Sterling Elliott, is a local cultural gem.
It focuses primarily on art, history, and technology, and houses a variety of collections that include cars, baseball artifacts, artwork, and general Americana that are all showcased to tell the rich story of the local region and celebrate its innovative spirit.
Next, head to Gilbert’s Bar House of Refuge Museum, which is a unique historical site that was part of a large network of houses built to house and aid shipwrecked sailors, and is one of the oldest buildings on the Treasure Coast.
It is also the only completely restored House of Refuge, making it not just a museum, but a portal into the region’s maritime past.
If you’re on North Hutchinson Island, you’ll find lighter options but more of a tie with nature. Check out Pepper Beach Park or the Navy Seal Museum; if you’re on the way toward Vero Beach, Avalon State Park could be another great place to put in your schedule.
Late Afternoon: Water Sports and Activities
In the second half of the afternoon, it’s going to be time to hit the water for a little activity before sunset, so you can work up an appetite for an amazing coastal dinner.
Explore the local waterways with a kayak or stand-up paddleboard, as either is a great way to get a firsthand look at a local natural beauty, while also getting some great exercise.
The calm waters on the west side of the island are perfect for both of these activities, or anyone trying them for the first time.
There are also the options of either snorkeling or diving, or for the thrill seekers, a jet ski ride, boat rental, or airboat tour.
The diverse coastline of the island creates the perfect environment for snorkeling, scuba diving, and underwater photography, allowing you to see an incredible amount of life you can’t experience from land.
The jet ski and boat rental options are great for those who want to get out on the water, but want to be their captain, while the airboats are ideal for sitting back on a high-speed boat and just taking in the scenery.
Evening: Dinner and Sunset
For dinner on the water, head over to Sauder’s Landing, which offers a casual upscale environment and a comfortable seafood dining experience featuring award-winning cuisine.
Weather permitting, you can dine outside and enjoy a fantastic dinner menu; it’s the perfect place to have some crab cakes and a slice of their famous Key Lime pie while you watch the beautiful, fiery, Florida sunset.
Night: Leisure Activities
The fun doesn’t stop after sundown unless you want it to.
If you’re still feeling like you’ve got some gas in your tank when you leave dinner, you’ll be able to easily find several places within walking distance or a short drive, with live music, along with the typical beach and tiki bars.
The most popular nighttime activities around Hutchinson Island will be in the cultural areas. For example, Downtown Jensen Beach sits on the river with plenty of bars, eateries, and frequent live music.
If you’re on the southern end of Hutchinson Island, take Ocean Boulevard into Downtown Stuart, where there is a plethora of colorful shops, lively bars and restaurants, and some of the area’s most popular events.