What and Where Is The Treasure Coast of Florida?

BY Anthony DiChi,

The Treasure Coast is a region of the U.S. state of Florida. It is located on the state’s Atlantic coast, comprising Indian River, St. Lucie, and Martin Counties, and by some definitions parts or all of Palm Beach County to the south. The name of the region refers to the many treasure ships lost by hurricanes or by running a ground in the coastal area’s numerous shallow lying reefs, one of the most notable the lost Spanish Treasure Fleet in a 1715 hurricane near the Sebastian Inlet area.

According to some folks an emerging 20th century need was for a nickname identity to separate themselves from Miami’s Gold Coast region to the south which at the time was gaining a reputation for Latin American drug dealers.

In the early Florida years Dade County (presently Miami-Dade County) extended north to the south side of the St. Lucie River which now lies within the later formed Martin County which is in the Treasure Coast Region.

Treasure Coast Mall

Treasure Coast Square Mall in Jensen Beach along US 1 is located on the Treasure Coast in one of the several Treasure Coast’s regional shopping districts

The following paragraph as reported on Wikipedia;
A 1982 survey of Florida’s vernacular regions by geographers Ary J. Lamme and Raymond K. Oldakowski did not include the “Treasure Coast”. The survey showed that the entire area from Dade County (now Miami-Dade) north to Martin County was considered the “Gold Coast” at that time. However, a 2007 survey by the same authors found that by then the “Gold Coast” was restricted primarily to Miami-Dade and Broward counties, while the “Treasure Coast” region had emerged describing the area from Palm Beach County northward. Lamme and Oldakowski noted that by that time, “Gold Coast” had acquired some unflattering connotations. They suggest the communities to the north may have seen the need to distinguish themselves from the Gold Coast and Miami to promote their locale as a destination for American tourists and residents, contributing to the current popularity of the Treasure Coast as a vernacular region.

Most of the Treasure Coast lies in the old nicknamed “Tropical Coast Region”. This region runs from the Miami area north to the Vero Beach area along the Atlantic Coast of east Florida.

The Treasure Coast area includes at least two complete metropolitan statistical areas (1 & 2) and part of a possible part of a third (depending on which definition is used);(3) designated by the Office of Management and Budget and used for statistical purposes by the Census Bureau and other agencies:
1) the Port St. Lucie, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area at a population of 238,095 as of year 2013 (which is in St. Lucie and Martin Counties)

2) Sebastian – Vero Beach, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area at a population of 141,994 as of year 2013 (which is in Indian River County)

3) Palm Beach County, at 1,372,171 population as of year 2013, is part of the Miami–Fort Lauderdale–Pompano Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area with a population of 5,564,635 as of year 2010 and is the USA’s 8th most populous Metropolitan Statistical Area and the largest Southeastern United States.

The Anthony J. Catanese Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions at Florida Atlantic University notes that the Treasure Coast is becoming increasingly continuous with the rest of South Florida, with much of its current and projected development being tied to growth in the urban Miami-South East Florida metropolitan area.

The next paragraph is quoted from the American Planning Association’s Florida Chapter website for the Treasure Coast Section.
“The Treasure Coast Region is quite diverse in its landscape and natural features. The coastal areas of the region are both heavily populated and developed while western portions of the region remain rural with significant environmental and agricultural influences. The region is home to portions of Lake Okeechobee, the northern extent of the Everglades, Jonathan Dickinson State Park, The Savannahs, and the St. Lucie and Loxahatchee Rivers”.

“Southeast Florida” or “South Florida” are often used phrases for regions in Florida and the southern point of this area is usually Miami-Homestead or Key West with the northeastern geographical line with Central Florida (by most standards) is the Martin County – St Lucie County border line which of course is in the Treasure Coast.
The Indian River Lagoon which is influenced by the St. Lucie River and the nearby Gulf Stream fed Atlantic Ocean is recognized as one of the most diverse estuaries in North America. “The Indian River Lagoon is a biologically diverse ecosystem” as stated by the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce.

Treasure Coast County Map by the American Planning Association Florida ChapterTo the right is the Treasure Coast Map that appears on American Planning Association’s Florida Chapter website for the Treasure Coast Section (who have their office in Palm Beach County). NOTE; the map contains four counties which include Palm Beach County and inland Okeechobee County in addition to the commonly accepted Treasure Coast Counties of St. Lucie and Martin but does not include the commonly accepted Treasure Coast coastal county of Indian River to the north.

On a different note; the Treasure Coast League of Cities list the following cities in their membership:
Fellsmere
Fort Pierce
Indian River Shores
Jupiter Island
Ocean Breeze
Okeechobee
Orchid
Port St. Lucie
Sebastian
Sewalls Point
Stuart
St. Lucie Village
Vero Beach
All the above cities are in the four counties of; Okeechobee, St. Lucie, Martin, Indian River but does not include any cities from Palm Beach County.

Most commercial enterprises define the Treasure Coast by claiming the Treasure Coast consists of the three complete coastal counties of Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin and the north section of Palm Beach County from the town of North Palm Beach north and includes the towns and cities of Juno Beach, Jupiter, Tequesta, Jupiter Farms and Palm Beach Gardens. The population as of 2013 for this “Treasure Coast” area is approximately 742,370.

Florida US Congressional 18th District

Florida US Congressional 18th District (CLICK ON TO ENLARGE)


As a writer my research indicates that the economic and political Treasure Coast map would agree with the above commercial enterprises’ definition and with the below maps. For instance; Florida’s 18th congressional district is an electoral district for the U.S. Congress, located in southeastern Florida. The district includes an area stretching from Ft. Pierce south well in to northern Palm Beach County.

As a reference please refer to the commercial maps below;

Treasure Coast Delivery Area
Treasure-Coast-Delivery-Area (above)


Treasure Coast Service Area
Treasure-Coast-Service-Area (above)

The above information is opinion based except where noted. Always contact a licensed professional for information on the above subject or BEFORE applying or practicing the above information.
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