The Treasure Coast: A Realm of Old-World Riches

Aside from being one of the premier vacation destinations in the region, there’s a rich and deeply enthralling story behind the origins of our most “treasured” coast. So, before you book your next vacation, let us regale you with how the area got its name, and how you can become part of pure Floridian history.


A Brief History

Over three hundred years ago, the “Plate Fleet”—an armada designed to carry silver stores—was returning from the New World to Spain. Eleven ships filled with treasure made up the fleet when a hurricane smashed the ships into the ocean’s reefs. As many as 1,000 lives were lost in that storm and millions of dollars’ worth of treasure were left lying on the bottom of the ocean floor, turning the coastal areas of Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River Counties into the “Treasure Coast” we know today.

The survivors of the storm struggled to land and improvised shelters, where the McLarty Treasure Museum currently stands. After a few weeks, help came from Spanish headquarters. Spanish salvagers, Indian divers, English pirates and privateers, and river pirates searched for the sunken treasure, trying to recover as much as possible.

Discover Your Own Treasures

If you would like to see some of the treasure that has been found over the centuries, you can head on over to the McLarty State Treasure Museum or the Mel Fisher Treasure Museum. Both provide you with an up-close view of coins, weapons and tools found from the wreckage.

You can also play pirate for a day and go on your own treasure hunt and walk the beach with a metal detector the old fashion way. Indian River County has the best treasure hunting beaches. In Sebastian, there is an area known as Half-Raele Beach. The name comes from the most common type of the many silver coins that have been found there.

Indian River County gives you and your family the opportunity to carve out your own old-world adventures, whether it’s to learn more about the area from history experts, or dive head-first into the action. For more information, be sure to call us at (772) 567-3491 or visit our Contact Us page.

  1. David Schoonmaker says:

    During my many visits to Vero Beach and my fantasy of finding treasure, I have visited many of the beaches along A1A but am not familiar with Half Raele Beach. Is it a nickname for a beach such as Wabasso or Golden Sands? Eager to learn more. Thanks, Dave Schoonmaker

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