From program launches and brand-new openings, to time-honored events, attractions and traditions that delight year-after-year, there are plenty of things on the horizon to look forward to.
Whether you’re a first-timer planning an inaugural trip, or a seasoned Martin County holidaymaker looking to return once again, we’re rounding up some of the top things to do in the year ahead.
Use this guide to inspire your upcoming trip and visit DiscoverMartin.com for even more information!
1. Join a Free Eco-Tour
We recently launched our award-winning ecotourism program, Explore Natural Martin. Developed in partnership with Leave No Trace, the mission is to foster responsible tourism and environment stewardship through educational eco-tours. Visitors can register for a free range of programs that change with the seasons. From specially permitted sea turtle walks to guided hikes and paddle tours, there’s something for everyone! Check out our upcoming events here.
2. Sign Up for the Explore Natural Martin EcoTrail
The Explore Natural Martin EcoTrail is a new addition to our ecotourism program. Visitors can sign up for the free mobile pass, which highlights more than 20 eco-friendly points of interest throughout the destination, including state and local parks, nature preserves, beaches, attractions, our green certified hotels, and more! You’ll earn points for each stop you visit and learn Leave No Trace-inspired eco-tips along the way. Once you start earning points, you can redeem them for awesome prizes. Sign up for the free EcoTrail here.
3. Discover Beautiful Beaches
Calling all surfers, snorkelers, and sunbathers! Martin County is a beach lover’s paradise, boasting more than 22 miles of uncrowded natural beaches just waiting to be explored. Thanks to our county-wide four-story building height restriction, you won’t find any towering condos or skyscrapers obstructing the sweeping views. And with ocean and river access, our waterways are primed for virtually any aquatic adventure you have in mind. You can read more about our aquatic adventures here.
4. Attend an Award-Winning Festival
Martin County happens to host some of the best festivals in Florida. In fact, five of our annual festivals have been ranked in the top 20 regional events by the Southeast Tourism Society. Here’s when to catch the winning events in 2024:
- Stuart Boat Show (celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024): January 12-14
- MartinArts ArtsFest: February 10 and 11
- Ohana Surf Shop’s Singlefin Showdown: 2024 date TBD (typically in mid-March)
- Indiantown PRCA Rodeo: October 20 and 21
- Stuart Air Show: November 10-12
5. Catch a Live Show
Anybody who has ever visited Stuart has most likely taken note of the Lyric Theatre, one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Built in 1926 and added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1993, it was originally used as a movie house by Martin County residents. Today, it serves as a stage and music venue that attracts top-notch talent from across the globe. Check their ever-rotating calendar of shows and events to catch an entertaining performance you won’t soon forget. Other beloved local theatres include the A.C.T. Studio Theatre, the Barn Theatre, and StarStruck Academy and Theatre.
6. Visit Jonathan Dickinson State Park
Nestled between Hobe Sound and Tequesta, Jonathan Dickinson State Park is one of Martin County’s true natural treasures. Sprawling across 11,500 acres, it’s the largest state park in Southeast Florida and a offers diverse array of natural habitats, including sand pine scrub, pine flatwoods, mangroves and river swamps. Each year, the Friends of Jonathan State Park and Club Scrub plan over 20 epic mountain biking and paddle events, providing an adrenaline-fueled escape for any outdoor enthusiast.
7. Follow the Treasure Coast Wine & Ale Trail
Feeling thirsty? Then don’t miss out on the Treasure Coast Wine & Ale Trail! Spanning across Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin counties, the ever-growing collection currently includes a collection of breweries, a few distilleries, a winery, a cidery, and even a meadery. Be sure to pop into Martin County’s newest addition, Frazier Creek Brewing & Distilling Co., which recently opened its doors in Stuart.
8. Learn a New Skill
If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to finally pick up that hobby you’ve been dreaming of, make it a reality in the year ahead! Have you always wanted to learn how to sail? Learn the ropes (literally) at the US Sailing Center of Martin County. Pick up surfing with a private lesson from the pros at Ohana Surf Shop, or master the art of water skiing at the Hobe Lake Ski Club. You can also find your muse during an art class with Aya Fiber Studio, Clay Habit Studio, or Art-N-Around. Or take a cooking class at Two Olive Trees.
9. Go Mural Spotting in Hobe Sound
You’ve probably heard of people painting the town red, but in Hobe Sound, every color of the rainbow is fair game. Launched by professional artist Nadia Utto in 2009, this creative “paint-the-town” mural initiative has led to the addition of more than 20 masterpieces sprinkled throughout the Hobe Sound community. This labor of love was brought to life by over 40 skilled regional artisans and hobbyists, along with approximately 100 individual residents and visitors. See some of our favorites here, then check them out for yourself!
10. Learn About Florida’s Coastal Ecosystem
Learn more about Martin County’s diverse coastal ecosystem by visiting the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center, nestled on Hutchinson Island. Guests can explore the facility’s aquariums, nature trails, butterfly garden and more. Be sure to explore their newest addition, the Ocean EcoCenter, which was named the top attraction in the South by the Southeast Tourism Society. The impressive eco-museum boasts brand new exhibits in five different galleries, a water play area for children, event spaces, and other cool features.
11. Hit the Green and Swing by the Sea
Channel your inner Jack Nicklaus and spend an afternoon putzing around one of Martin County’s beautifully manicured golf courses. Some of the more challenging courses include Hammock Creek Golf Club in Palm City; Willoughby Golf Club in Stuart; and Lost Lake Golf Club in Hobe Sound. And make sure to secure your tea time at the recently unveiled Sailfish Sands Golf Course. This 18-hole championship golf course also features an innovative reversible 9-hole course, the first of its kind in Florida. Now powered by Toptracer Range, you can practice like the pros as you track your ball speed, accuracy, and distance of every shot or choose to play with friends as you compete for the leaderboards and play a variety of different games, similar to TopGolf or BigShots.
12. Explore the St. Lucie Inlet State Preserve Park
If you’re in search of a quick escape that feels worlds away, plan an outing to St. Lucie Inlet Preserve State Park. The classic Florida barrier island is accessible only by water, so make sure to bring a kayak, canoe, paddleboard, or hitch a ride on a boat. Spend the day swimming, snorkeling, or slinking along the park’s 4.2-mile kayak trail, which weaves through mangrove estuaries and maritime hammocks. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for nesting turtles, wading birds, and other native species.
13. Step Back in Time at the House of Refuge
The House of Refuge is not only one of Martin County’s quintessential attractions, but it’s also the county’s oldest building. The ten original Houses of Refuge were built along the east coast of Florida and served as safe havens for shipwrecked sailors. Today, the House of Refuge at Gilbert’s Bar on Hutchinson Island is the only surviving structure. It recently completed a significant restoration project and is officially open to the public once again. Pay a visit to the museum to get a glimpse of what life was like in Martin County during the turn of the 20th Century.
14. Meander Through Weekend Farmer’s Markets
When it comes to agriculture, South Florida offers a whole lot more than citrus. See for yourself by stopping by one of Martin County’s multiple farmer’s markets where you can find the best seasonal produce, organic spices, freshly-baked pastries, homemade pickles, specialty foods and countless other local favorites. Some of our top picks include the Market on Main (every Sunday in downtown Stuart), the Hobe Sound Farmers Market (open every Saturday and Sunday), and Barbour’s Produce in Jensen Beach (open every day).
15. Enjoy an Epic Adventure
Sure, we have great snorkeling, challenging hiking trails and exhilarating horseback riding tours. But we also have more extreme adventure options for the ultimate thrill-seeker. To get your heart racing, tap the experts at New Wave Kiteboarding to arrange a kiteboarding lesson or learn how to hydrofoil. Book a deep-sea fishing expedition with a local charter company to hook sailfish, mahi, and wahoo. Or embark on a thrilling dive with Stuart Scuba, Kirk’s Dive & Surf, or Absolute Scuba to discover an underwater world of wonder.
16. Navigate the Scenic Blueway Trail
The Scenic Blueway Trail is an ideal activity for water-lovers of all ages. The Martin County paddling trails span 37.7 miles over two river systems: the Indian River Lagoon (16.2 miles long, stretching between Jensen Beach and Hobe Sound) and St. Lucie River (21.5 miles, extending from the Halpatiokee area to sites near toward the St. Lucie Inlet). Just find one of the eight public launch or stopover sites to experience it for yourself.
17. Uncover Martin County’s Rich Historic Legacy
Visiting with a history buff? Martin County is teeming with cultural and historic landmarks that make our home a truly one-of-a-kind destination. Journey back in time to a bygone era by touring some of the region’s most storied attractions, like the Mansion at Tuckahoe and Captain Henry Sewall’s House in Jensen Beach. Some other Historic Preservation sites include the All Saint’ Episcopal Church (1904) in Jensen Beach; Indiantown’s Seminole Inn (1926); and the New Monrovia One-Room Schoolhouse (1930) in Port Salerno.
18. Make a Splash and Soak up the Sun
Don’t get tricked into thinking you need to drive all the way up to Orlando for a wet-and-wild waterpark experience. Stuart is home to Sailfish Splash, a state-of-the-art waterpark that first opened in 2012. Some of the complex’s most popular features include a 1000-foot lazy river; a four-story tall water slide; a 253-foot speed slide; 7,326-square-foot water playground; and private cabanas.
19. Spend the Day Museum-Hopping
In addition to pop-up art events and festivals throughout the seasons, Martin County offers an array of fascinating museums that are open all year long. Plan a day of museum-hopping to better acquaint yourself with local artists and see the impressive collections housed all over the county. Some visitor favorites include the Elliott Museum (known for its antique automobiles, vintage boars and baseball collection); the Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast (located in the heart of Indian Riverside Park); the Stuart Heritage Museum (filled with forgotten relics from yesteryear); the Road to Victory Military Museum (featuring military vehicles, weapons demonstrations and historical wartime artifacts); and the aforementioned House of Refuge and Museum at Gilbert’s Bar.
20, Meet Some of the Locals
Martin County may be best known for its beautiful beaches, pristine parks and rich cultural attractions. But more than anything else, it’s the locals that make this destination such a special place. Whether you’re strolling the cobbled alleyways of Stuart, enjoying live music in Jensen Beach or soaking up the rays on a Hutchinson Island stretch of sand, you’ll always be greeted with a smiling face ready to share what they love most about living in Martin County. So the next time you come to visit, be sure to strike up a conversation. You never know who you’ll meet!
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