Friday, April 11, 2014

Jammin' In Jensen Beach, Florida

By: Anne M. Raso

I make a couple of annual pilgrimages to Jensen Beach, FL to take in the warm weather in a place quieter than Miami. Don't take me wrong--I love Miami and its world-class art deco architecture but sometimes I just want to chill on the beach and not have to go to restaurants that have an hour or more wait time for a table. My favorite way to fly to West Palm Beach (which has the nearest airport to Jensen Beach, at about an hour away) is via Jet Blue. Why do I love Jet Blue? First of all, they have the lowest fares and most flights to the West Palm Beach from LaGuardia Airport and it's not unusual to find rates at $90 each way before taxes and fees. My number two reason is that they do not charge for your first piece of luggage while 90 per cent of other airlines that fly domestically charge $25. Thirdly, they have the best food offerings on the plane. Besides having complimentary Terra Blues blue potato chips, Pop Chips and other trendy snacks, the items that you buy for $6 are generous, especially my favorite, the Beef Up Box. Lastly, for $5 they have movies on board just on the tale end of their initial run and cable TV with dozens of channels (for free). Did I fail to mention along the way that the attendants always come around and ask if you want a second free snack (at least in my personal experience)? LOL!
Hutchinson Island Condo

Luxury condo rentals are cheap in Jensen Beach--you can get a 3,000 foot three bedroom in one of the numerous beachfront condos right in the Hutchinson Island area for only $3000 a month in the peak season, while Jersey Shore rentals are that much for two weeks. The most popular rental agency is Mann Realty, with many offices in the area (see for more information). There is great shell collecting, especially if you love trying to find large conch shells, and the water is warm starting in early April. All of the condos on Hutchinson Island have pools and other amenities, and there are even a couple of golf and tennis clubs.
Spring Rolls with Shrimp at Kaishin
AS for grub, one of my favorite places to eat in Jensen Beach is the wonderful (and cheap) Kaishin at 3750 NE Indian River Drive, which has a sushi master who rivals anyone in the Big Apple. Their tempura and spring rolls are a real treat, and if you are a low carb dieter, try the Steak With Garlic or Ginger Pork (the sauces have no added sugar although their might be a splash of Saki in them). I go at least one time every time I go to Hutchinson Island. They don't have a website but check out the Kaishin Facebook page for hours and reviews. I also love Bonefish Grill in nearby Stuart, a particularly creative chain restaurant with a few locations in the New York tri-state area. My usual favorites are Chicken Lily and their succulent Filet Mignon (entrees are priced between 13 and 23 dollars with two sides, which is a great deal). It is famous for its spicy Bang Bang Shrimp, and I recommend a reservation because this is the most crowd-pleasing eatery in the area. Portions are large and make sure not to fill up on the warm ciabatta bread served with pesto-topped olive oil. Order their Hummus as an appetizer so that you have a second great dip for their world-class bread. Kids can color at the table and there is a super cheap kids menu with entrees at as low as six dollars. For more info, go to There is also a Sonic in Jensen Beach - I love their exotic flavored shakes and I just can't get them in the New York area. I probably could live on their Master Blasts but most adults probably go to Sonic for the Sweet Potato Tater Tots (which to the best of my knowledge, no other fast food chain sells) and the Orange CreamSlush, which tastes like a Dreamsicle pop and has a highly nostalgic as a result. I love the roller skating wait staff and prefer to sit at one of their outdoor tables on a nice day instead of getting their famed car service. For more info, go to
Children's Museum of the Treasure Coast
My favorite activities besides going to the beach and eating while in Jensen Beach are going with my nieces or nephew to the wonderful Children's Museum Of The Treasure Coast right in the heart of Jensen Beach which features a giant pirate boat complete with cannons that visitors can shoot plastic balls out of, a play grocery store with real-size food and a fake veterinary clinic where kids can done real doctor's jackets and use medical equipment that looks like the real thing--of course, all the animals are of the plush toy variety though. For more info, go to Both adults and children over three are charged $6 to enter and they have a great party room where staff will take care of every aspect of your child's birthday party at very reasonable rates. (A complete party for 15 kids including getting to have a complete run of the museum is only $200.)
Smithsonian Marine Station 
I also love the Smithsonian Marine Station in Ft. Pierce with or without kids joining me! There are gorgeous tanks of exotic fish and other marine life, but my favorite is the Touch Tank, a shallow pool of salt where you can touch Sea Cucumbers, nine-armed Starfish, crabs and more. (Visitors are instructed to pet the creatures with only two fingers otherwise it disturbs them a little too much; you are also not supposed to pick up the conch shells with crabs inside and I did it without thinking but fortunately was not scolded.) The feedings of the gorgeous sea creatures in the six extra large tanks is legendary. Get there at 10:30 and you will see each tank have a feeding frenzy one by one. Children seem to find this especially amusing--it's great to see how the creatures in the Marine Station's various ecosystems all seem to eat via different methods, especially ones with claws. You can see real experiments going on by marine biologists and even hear lectures about local wildlife. It's only $4 for adults and $3 for children to attend. For more info, go to

There is also great shopping in Jensen Beach--there is every major department store (with the exception of the luxury stores which you have to head to Palm Beach an hour away for or Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise about 90 minutes away) and a plethora of thrift shops, which is one of the area's best-kept secrets. Try the Hope Chest Thrift store at 2160 SE Ocean Blvd for super cheap prices--and your money will be going to the wonderful Treasure Coast Hospice. The Treasure Coast Hospice has thrift stores in several neighboring towns including Ft. Pierce, and to check them all out, go to

For more info on what to do in sunny Jensen Beach, go to

Photos By Anne Raso

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