Spotlight: Tropical St. Lucie South
A water-lover’s winter camping paradise.
What You’ll Find
St. Lucie South is a tropical camping paradise located on the Okeechobee Waterway next to the St. Lucie Lock and Dam, just southwest of the town of Stuart, Florida. The lock and dam is 15 miles west of the Intracoastal Waterway. Wintertime campers love the area’s consistently sunny weather. Both the campground and the lock and dam are managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Set your GPS to 2170 SW Canal Street/Campground, Stuart, Florida 34997, or travel south on Florida State Road 76 (Kanner Highway) from downtown Stuart. Turn right on Locks Road and then left when you reach Canal Street.
St. Lucie South Campground is an intimate recreation area that is open year around, with nine RV or tent sites and eight boat campsites. For a small campground it provides campers and sailors with an unusually complete range of facilities including: electric and water hookups, dump station, showers and restrooms, boat ramps, fishing piers, picnic pavilion, a playground for kids and even a one-mile nature hike nearby. A group campsite is popular with Boy Scouts and other organizations, the campground gate is open from 6 a.m. to sunset daily. Please remember to reserve early as this is a popular winter location.
Make Sure You
Bring a boat with you, or rent one nearby. Kayaking and sailing, fishing from a pier or just watching for manatees are popular pastimes. Fish include snook, mullet, largemouth bass, channel catfish and tilapia. Check Florida state fishing regulations at TakeMeFishing.org. Nearby wildlife include feral pigs, wild turkey, osprey and barred owls. Alligators, too!
Watch boats lifted an average of 14 feet in the St. Lucie Lock and Dam, located adjacent to the campground. Boats move to or from the salt water downstream to the fresh water upstream.
Winter at the St. Lucie South recreation area is sunny and warm, so be sure to bring sunscreen. Bring a boat for the waterway and include enough personal flotation devices (life jacket) for everyone in your group. Before you climb aboard, check out these U.S. Coast Guard recommendations and things to know about wearing a life jacket and download their brochure (pdf file) about how to choose the right life jacket type.
The town of Stuart is close by and has numerous retail stores for groceries and supplies you may need for your trip.
With Florida’s mostly flat topography and ample bike trails, bicycling near St. Lucie South is a breeze. Bring your bicycles and ride eight miles up to Stuart for lunch. You can drive or cycle over to Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge, 13 miles away and home to numerous wildlife species. Hobe Sound also features a public beach.