Discover Martin County- Winter Fishing!

 

Winter fishing in Martin County is truly a unique experience…and not just because you can usually do it in your board shorts and bare feet

When the winds whip around to the north and the ocean and river temperatures drop just a little bit, the winter visitors begin to arrive. Inshore, that means pompano, ladyfish, bluefish and spinner sharks. For those in the bigger boats that can handle the winter wave heights, sailfish become the main target.

000124-01 Sailfish

Wintertime is special for anglers because it is the one season which brings new species to target, unlike the rest of year when the residential species heat up or slow down, depending on the conditions. It’s the time of year when, despite the winds howling down the shoreline, the beaches heat up. No boats required!

TigerShores

Pompano are probably the No. 1 targeted species this time of year, as anglers line up their 12- and 13-foot surf rods in sand spikes, casting as far as 150 yards from the beach out to the trough which holds the fish.

Pompano fishermen are a dedicated group, carefully combing the tideline for sand fleas to use for bait and arguing over which color of neon bead or piece of foam to place next to their hook (this is where the neon green guys vs. the neon pink guys really heats up) to attract the fish. They keep their reels extra lubed so they can make the 100-plus yard casts and they march from rod to rod – most use four or five at once — checking the tension on the line until one stands straight up, indicating something is on the other end.

What they reel in may be a pompano, or it could be a whiting, croaker, bluefish or even a Spanish mackerel.

River anglers like to target pompano in the winter as well, but they do it a little differently than their beachbound cohorts.

Pompano travels in schools. On the beach, those schools are fairly easily targeted in the trough that runs just offshore. In the river, they stick to the flats and are a little harder to pinpoint. Many boaters will run the flats and wait to “skip” a pompano, or see one jump next to the boat as it passes. They will then stop and fish back to that point.

Another tactic is to simply drift and cast bright colored jigs, bouncing them off the bottom as you retrieve them. When you catch a pompano, stick as close to that spot as possible until it seems like the fish have moved on.

Besides pompano, you will catch bluefish, ladyfish and the occasional catfish by bouncing the jig off the bottom.

When it comes to winter species that are rare the rest of the year, bluefish easily top the list.

Anglers in the northeast and along the Atlantic seaboard target blues all summer, but those fish head south as the water gets too chilly. The bluefish run in Martin County starts in the fall and will last through most of spring and is very popular, especially for those fishing from the beach or in the river.

Bluefish fight ferociously and, if prepared properly, can be very tasty. The good news is they are fairly easy to catch – jigs, lures, live shrimp will all work – and are a great starter species to get kids interested in fishing.

If fishing offshore, using big reels and breaking out all the fun accessories is more your speed, Martin County isn’t called the Sailfish Capital for nothing.

Yacht heads out to famous deep sea fishing waters thru St Lucie Inlet

The winds begin blowing dead east in October and November. That blows the Gulf Stream as close to our shores as it will be all year, usually between 8 and 12 miles out. When it clocks a little more to the northeast and kicks up to 15 or 20 knots, that’s when the sailfish really fire up.

The ideal conditions for sailfishing are a 15 knot northeast wind, giving the 5- to 6-foot waves a nice chop and spray. This situation fires up the sails, which can sometimes been seen surfing down the fronts of waves and tailwalking from a distance. It’s also why the majority of sailfish anglers this time of year are doing it out of big boats that can handle those kinds of seas.

The preferred method is to wind the outriggers out on either side of the boat, running three lines on each side at different distances behind the boat. If you have a kite and are using live bait (goggle eyes or pilchards), you can run a line through the kite and keep that bait just on top of the water. A couple of flat lines (lines with no outriggers or kites) can be placed out the back, giving you a spread of between 6 and 8 lines at any given time.

Drifting with the current, with the lines spread out behind will usually yield a bite or two. Be prepared, sailfish sometimes move in large schools called wolfpacks and one bite will sometimes lead to 2 or 3 or even 4 at one time once they find your baits.

Top Five Hidden Beaches

By: Baylee Beninda

Jensen Beach, Stuart Beach, and Hobe Sound beach are the three main beaches of the Treasure Coast. They are beautiful and offer several amenities, but there are many, smaller private beaches that are less traveled.  If you desire privacy and completely unaltered landscapes, then you will appreciate these secluded, local destinations. Spending the day at any one of these hidden hangouts is bound to be a new and exciting experience that will put a smile on your face. So come on out and explore these hidden treasures of the Treasure Coast!

 

  1. Santa Lucea– (Unguarded) This undisturbed beach is within walking distance of the Marriott Hotel, if you plan on staying there. To get onto the beach take the scenic nature trail, which stretches beautifully for 5 acreCrystal Beach-Santa Lucea-Jan 2008 003s. Your other option is to take the boardwalk, which is ADA accessible. A coquina reef runs along the shoreline, making this a popular destination for fisherman and snorkelers. This is also a favorite of surfers, due to the less commotion.

 

  1. “The Rocks”/ The House of Refuge Beach Access– (Unguarded) A small, but modest local favorite. Come and view the stunning rock formations. This beach is one of the most photographed beaches on the Treasure Coast, so don’t forget your camera! If time allows, be sure to take a tour of the historic Houthe rocksse of Refuge at Gilbert’s Bar & Lighthouse! Or swim just 100 yards offshore, past the rocks to a premier dive and snorkeling location, the shipwreck of the George Valentine.

 Photo Credit: House of Refuge website

 

  1. Chastain Beach- (Guarded seasonally) Located on A1A between the House of Refuge and Bathtub Reef Beach. Amenities include bathrooms and showers. This natural beach has a few rocks on the northern end, but is relatively flat. It features the best of both worlds, with both ocean and intercostal (river) access. Looking for something calmer than the ocean? Stroll over to the riverHutchinson2
    access, and dip your feet in the water or simply relax in the sand. Also a popular destination for paddle boarding.  This location is perfect for young children or if you want to experience something fresh and new.

 

  1. Blowing Rocks Preserve– (Unguarded) Located on Jupiter Island in Hobe Sound. Come at high tide and experience the wonderful spectacle as water splashesblowing rocks
    through the rocks lining the shore. Come at low tide and you can explore underneath the rocks and there is more of a “beach” available for laying out.  If you are a photographer or would like a family portrait, this is a photo op you will not want to miss.  At the welcome center there are restrooms and a water fountain. Interested in hiking the dunes? This sanctuary offers three different trails with interpretive signs. This is a one of a kind beach, with much to do!

 

  1. Tiger Shores- (Unguarded) Located 2 miles south of Jensen Beach. This is a small, quaint fisherman’s beach. It is also a great spot for photographers to capture the surf and sunset, due to the completelTigerShoresy unaltered landscape.With zero amenities, you will forget that you are so close to the rest of society! Be sure to come early because parking is limited and only a select few will get to enjoy the beauty of such a simple, but charming beach.

October Newsletter

FOS Turtles 101

Fall is the perfect time to take a getaway to Martin County. Here in sunny South Florida, the high for October is 85 degrees and the low is 71 degrees.  Our beautiful unaltered beaches are still warm enough to explore and there are also many fall events to remind you of the changing seasons.

About Us

Located on the Treasure Coast, just 45 minutes from Palm Beach International Airport, an hour from Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport, 90 minutes from Miami International Airport, and two hours from Orlando International Airport.  Our county is blessed with stunning unraked beaches and laid back welcoming towns.

 

Bathtub beach

 

Did You Know?

Martin County includes The St. Lucie River, which is the most biologically diverse estuary in North America. It is the habitat for more than 4,300 species of plants and animals, including 30 threatened and endangered species. The Rivers Coalition of Martin County is working hard to protect and keep the river clean from discharges from Lake Okeechobee. Here in Martin County the environment is a priority.

Heritage Flight

 

26th Stuart Airshow: October 30th- November 1st 

The largest airshow in Southern Florida is held at the Martin County Airport, 2400 SE Monterey Rd, Stuart, FL 34996. Headlining this year will be three military acts, the U.S. Navy F-18, U.S. Air Force F-16, and the U.S. Army Golden Nights. This annual event is sure to blow you away with incredible aviation performances, firework displays, carnival rides, and live music. If you wish to leave the ground, helicopter rides and flights on the Warbird Texan aircraft are available at an additional fee.  Make sure you stay for nighttime aerobatics show, it truly is beautiful to see the aircrafts light up the sky.

Get Outdoors!

002430-01 mountain biking

The weather is getting cooler, the leaves are changing, and animals are actively preparing for the winter, now is a perfect time to visit a park. With more than 70+ parks to chose from, there is bound to be one that fits your needs.  Indian River Side Park is the perfect family park with many amenities including a fishing pier, a play fountain, river access, outdoor pavilions, and much more.

If you are looking for more of an environmental park to explore then Jonathan Dickinson State Park is for you. Located just south of Stuart on US1 this park encompasses several different ecosystems, such as sand and scrub pine, flatwoods, mangroves, and river swamps. Paved and off road biking, equestrian riding, hiking, and kayaking are only some of the activities available. This park also offers two full-facility campgrounds and a primitive campground if you wish to extend your stay.

More to Explore!

Discover Martin County, and take a journey through the Florida you didn’t know existed! #discovermartin

Martin County, FLA Art in Public Spaces

In 1997, Martin County established Art in Public Places. This unique collection includes sculptures, mobiles, stained glass windows, murals, mosaics, benches, photographs, and quilts. These beautiful works of art are in our libraries, fire stations, community centers, administration buildings, parks, and other county-owned properties.

One of the primary goals of commissioning art in publicly owned space is to enhance the esthetic experience of the public realm. Artwork is developed to add meaning to a place, to connects to (or with) people or actively serves a creating a community identity. The mission of Art in Public Places is to enhance the quality of the visual environment, both natural and constructed, in the Martin County community

Art in Public Places provokes a new awareness of public space, for instance, a new sense of its history, culture, and design.

Currently, public art can be found throughout Martin County in such a manner that it is visible and accessible to the greatest number of people. We invite you to check back with us as more of these beautiful works of art are commissioned and made available. Below please find a list of the completed projects:

  • Hobe Sound Public Library, 10595 SE Federal Highway, Hobe Sound Shell Games – Sculpture by Charlotte Lees

 

  • Robert Morgade Library, 5851 SE Community Drive, Stuart Avian Muse – Mobile by Harry McDaniel

 

  • Martin County Jail, 800 SE Monterey Road, Stuart Oasis – Tile bench by Glenn Schwaiger

 

  • Port Salerno Fire Station, 4725 SE Dixie Highway, Port Salerno Antique Hose – Sculpture by Terry Thommes

 

  • Hoke Library, 1150 NW Jack Williams Way, Jensen Beach The Poet – Sculpture by Dam de Nogales

 

  • Elisabeth Lahti Library, 15200 SW Adams Avenue, Indiantown Stained Glass by Chris Dutch

 

  • Martin County Administrative Center, 2401 SE Monterey Road, Stuart Photographic Exhibition by Amy Knootz Knippel

 

  • House of Refuge, 301 SE MacArthur Boulevard, Stuart Artistic Gate created by George Goddard

 

  • Stuart Beach, 889 NE Ocean Boulevard, Stuart Save Our Coral Reefs S.E.A. Project-Mosaic Mural by students Taylor Komarra, Heather Ackers, artist Brenda Leigh, community artists, and Jensen Beach High School art students

 

  • Hobe Sound Beach, 1 Beach Road, Hobe Sound Loggerhead Nesting 2011 S.E.A. Project partnership with AIPP, Jupiter Island Art Committee, Education Foundation, sculpture artist Mia Lindberg with Jensen Beach High School art students  Native landscape design with landscape architect Meg Whitmer and South Fork High School landscape design students

 

  • Dixie Highway and Salerno Road Manatee Pocket Gateway – Artist Sue Lampert AIPP and NAC Partnership

 

  • Sailfish Splash Waterpark, 931 SE Ruhnke Street, Stuart Marine Life Murals – Artists Team: Carey Chen, Julie Beaumont, Nadia Utto, Shannon Wiley

 

A Fresh Perspective of the Treasure Coast

By: Baylee Beninda

Martin County offers a wide range of things for the younger generation to partake in. Most of the activities here are centered on water, but also featured are the parks and downtown area of the Treasure Coast.

The main strip is Downtown Stuart, which is a trendy downtown area.   It consists primarily of two streets, Osceola and East Ocean, which are lined with mostly non-corporate restaurants and boutiques. Many county festivals are held here and at the nearby Memorial Park. A local favorite is the green market, held Sunday mornings during season followed by a musical performance on the River Walk stage.

An eclectic coffee shop is located in Downtown Stuart, called Coffee Bar Blue Door. It features a beautifully lit outdoor terrace, where events are held. Some of the events held here are “Movies on the Patio,” trivia, thrift store bingo, and musicians. There is always something going on and if you are of drinking age, then alcohol is available here.

The final hot-spot on the outskirts of the downtown area is Terra Fermatta, a premier live music venue. Terra Fermattta is a laid back tiki bar, with hammocks and tables in the sand, slightly reminiscent of the Florida Keys. Live music can be heard every night and you can participate in a drum circle every Monday. After the drum circle is Open Mic, which is open to anyone. Many local and travelling musicians perform; Comedians and poets can also speak at this weekly event.

Located within just a few miles from historical Downtown Stuart are the beaches. There are scenic, private beaches and also more inhabited beaches, such as Stuart Beach which features a boardwalk, a snack shack, basketball and volleyball courts, a park, and pavilions.

At one of the more primitive beaches, you can view the House of Refuge. Walk through the beach access point and you will see many people snorkeling. This beach area known by locals as “the rocks” and is listed on the National Register of historic places. Here you can swim out and view the ship wreck of the George Valentine.

Inland, both amenity parks and ecological parks can be found. Indian River State Park is great for families, and Jonathan Dickinson State Park is suitable for someone trying to reconnect with nature and experience its beauty. At Jonathan Dickinson State Park hiking, camping, and kayaking are only a few of excursions available. Ranger- guided tours of Trapper Nelson’s pioneer homestead are also available here.

Whether it be in the water at one of our pristine beaches, reconnecting with nature at a park, or strolling the downtown strip, there is always something for the younger crowd to do here in Martin County.

Discover Martin County! Book one of these special offers today!

Now is the perfect time to visit Martin County, FL. Stuart, the Martin County seat, was recently named one of the "Most Beautiful Small Towns in America" and one of the "Must Visit Small towns in 2015." Martin County encompasses several different communities each offering very different uniquely authentic experiences. Make Martin County your must-visit destination this summer and you are sure to make memories that last longer than tan lines.
This summer marks the 300th anniversary of the sinking of the 1715 Treasure Fleet, also called the 1715 Plate Fleet. The recoveries from the 1715 fleet are legendary, the 1715 Fleet - Queens Jewels LLC now owns the rights to the wreckage. This summer treasure valued at close to $5 million dollars have been found, some in only 20 feet of water. The figures vary but recent documents list the ships' manifests as having $400 million worth of treasure on board and so far, only $180 million worth of valuables has been found.
During the months of August and September, you will have the opportunity to take part in your own Treasure Hunt. Stay in one of the participating hotels listed below to receive brass replica Spanish coin and learn how you can find other fun prizes. Hotels are listed in alphabetical order.
Best Western Downtown 
772-287 6200          
http://tiny.cc/pku71x
Call to book – the Treasure Fleet Promotion
Summer Promotional- 20% off two or more nights
Promotional code: Summer15
Terms: Save up to 20% off our best available rate when you book two or more nights. Based on availability, Valid 7/10/15-9/30/15
Situated in the heart of downtown Stuart, Florida - and on Florida's "Treasure Coast" - the BEST WESTERN Downtown Stuart offers the best shopping, dining and local attractions - all just outside this Stuart, Florida hotel!
Guests of the BEST WESTERN Downtown Stuart will find all the comforts of home, along with superb customer service and a welcoming staff at this hotel in Stuart, Florida. Each guest accommodation features a microwave, mini refrigerator, cable satellite television with Showtime, high-speed Internet access and more. Wake up each morning to a complimentary hot breakfast buffet, take a swim in the heated outdoor pool or get energized in our exercise facility.
Caribbean Shores Hotel & Cottages    
772-334-4759
Call to book – the Treasure Fleet Promotion
http://www.caribbeanshores.com/
Summer Promotion- Enjoy a suite for $129 a night during the week or $139 on the weekends, based on availability
Enjoy a little piece of paradise, at this 25 unit family owned and operated Resort-Hotel & Cottage property. We are located in Historic Jensen Beach, Florida and centrally positioned between Stuart, Florida, Port Saint Lucie, Jensen Beach and Hutchinson Island.  You will enjoy this tranquil setting and relaxed atmosphere, fish off our 300' pier, bring your boat or enjoy our canoes and kayaks. Swim in our heated pool or relax under the swaying palm trees in a hammock, what better way to watch the porpoise play and the sailboats glide by. Stroll around our tropical grounds - the sunrise is spectacular!
Clarion Inn                             
772-287-6900  
http://www.clarion-stuart.com/
Call to book – the Treasure Fleet Promotion
Summer Promotional - $65.00, based on availability
Minutes from downtown, historic Stuart Lyric Theatre, and the Cultural Arts Center; five miles to Hutchinson Island beaches and Bathtub Reef Park for snorkeling. Nearby golf courses, fishing, and the New York Mets training camp. Newly renovated guest rooms are equipped with free high speed wireless internet access, plush mattresses, spa bath amenities, and bathrobes. There is fitness and business centers, heated pool, and continental breakfast.
 
Courtyard by Marriott - Stuart          
772-781-3344
http://tiny.cc/xvu71x

Call to book -the Treasure Fleet Promotion or click here http://tiny.cc/ona50x to book the Treasure Fleet Promotion

Summer Promotion – $99, based on availability

The Courtyard by Marriott Stuart blends rich texture, captivating design and modern conveniences to create the premier Stuart, FL area hotel. The Courtyard Stuart is a newly built high-style & high-tech hotel. It’s the perfect hotel to call ‘home base’ for MLB Spring Training and Treasure Coast vacations. Guests enjoy our central location and the best golf, fishing & beach activities that Jupiter, West Palm Beach and Port St. Lucie offer. Business travelers enjoy the Courtyard Stuart’s close proximity to Palm Beach Airport. Florida Atlantic University and the Treasure Coast Mall are also near our hotel. Our Bistro is an ideal setting to enjoy the company of friends or co-workers while sipping cocktails, beer & wine. Free property-wide WiFi and flexible work spaces provide an ideal setting to finish a presentation or update your Facebook status. Welcome to Stuart!

Driftwood Motel Jensen Beach        
772-334-2237
http://www.driftwoodmoteljensen.com/
Call to book – the Treasure Fleet Promotion
Summer Promotion Rate - $89.00 per night for a one room efficiency, based on availability
Step back in time to Old Florida with a stay at the family-owned and operated Driftwood Motel.  Built in 1958, this property offers a setting on the banks of the Indian River with lodging from efficiencies to three-room apartments.  All have full kitchens.  The Atlantic Ocean is 2 miles away; a half mile to quaint downtown Jensen Beach, and walking distance to Conchy Joe’s seafood restaurant.  All units have full kitchens and wireless internet.
Hampton Inn & Suites Stuart 
772-692-6922
http://tiny.cc/q5u71x
Summer Promotional Rate 10% off two or more nights, based on availability

Terms: Save up to 10% off our best available rate when you book two or more nights. Based on availability, Valid 7/10/15-9/30/15

Conveniently located in Stuart, Florida, home to sparkling beaches, historical landmarks and a thriving arts and entertainment community. Stay in a modern guest room at this hotel in Stuart, FL, or upgrade to a suite for more space and freedom. All rooms offer free high-speed internet access and essential amenities, as well as a clean and fresh Hampton bed®.
Keep up with work during your stay at our hotel in Stuart, FL with the hotel’s modern business center, which is fully-equipped with fax, printing and photocopying access Start each day the right way with a Hampton’s free hot breakfast hot breakfast, or take one of our free Hampton On the Run™ Breakfast Bags, maintain your fitness routine and swim some laps in the outdoor pool, or work out in the fitness center with cardiovascular machines.
Holiday Inn Express Stuart        
772-287-2522
http://tiny.cc/lru71x
Summer Promotion – Request the “Discover Florida” promotion for 20% off our best available rate.
 This Holiday Inn Express Stuart is ideally located just off I-95, within 10 miles of beautiful Atlantic Coast beaches, perfect for business travelers and their families.
Our new Stuart, FL hotel offers the ambiance of a small town with convenient access to nearby beaches, including Jensen Beach, Sewall's Point and Jupiter Island, making it the perfect destination for your next Florida vacation. Lodging in our Stuart hotel means you can enjoy our outdoor pool, 24-hour fitness center and complimentary breakfast buffet, which features our signature cinnamon rolls. Start planning your trip today and check out our unbeatable Stuart, FL hotel deals.
Hutchinson Island Marriott Resort & Marina 
772-225 3700 
http://tiny.cc/i9u71x
Call to book your Treasure Fleet Promotion and reference code F9L or click below to book online: Click here to book your Treasure Fleet Promotion
Terms: Summer Promotion rates are based on availability
Enjoy the perfect blend of style and substance here in Stuart, FL. Hutchinson Island Marriott Beach Resort & Marina welcomes you with relaxed sophistication and 200 acres filled with exceptional hotel amenities. Settle into your oversized room or suite, or get out and explore the island. Our Hutchinson hotel's guest rooms and suites are located right on the beach, and many offer panoramic ocean views. Enhance your adventures in the Sunshine State by taking advantage of our 18-hole golf course, three resort-style outdoor pools or 77-slip marina. Of course, no visit to the Stuart and Hutchinson Island, FL area would be complete without spending some quality time in the surf. Consider planning your next event at our Hutchinson Island hotel on the beach, and take advantage of our picture-perfect location on the shores of the Atlantic. For brilliant travel without boundaries, choose Hutchinson Island Marriott Beach Resort & Marina.
Inn Shepard's Park Bed & Breakfast 
772-781-4244 
www.innshepard.com
Call to book – the Treasure Fleet Promotion
Summer Promotion- Stay 2 nights get 1 night free, call for rates, based on availability
Inn Shepard’s Park, a South Florida bed and breakfast is conveniently located next to beautiful Shepard’s Park, home to some of the most amazing sunsets you will ever see. This Key West style Stuart, Florida hotel alternative is nestled in the Heart of The River Front Village. Historic downtown Stuart shops, restaurants and entertainment are within walking distance.
Among our amenities are comfortable rooms that are quaint and beautifully appointed with cable TV and air conditioning. Relax in our Jacuzzi, lounge on our wrap-around porch and take in the view of Shepard's Park and Frazier Creek Beaches.
Whether it is a golf outing, a weekend getaway, a wedding or other special occasion, a Hutchinson Island beach vacation, a retreat, a shopping spree in downtown historic Stuart, fishing or boating on the St. Lucie River from Northside, River Watch, or Finest Kind Marinas, or a romantic River Walk; let us host your stay at our Florida B&B, your Home Away From Home.
Pitchford's By The Sea RV Park
772-334-7221
http://pitchfordsbythesearv.com/home
Call to book – the Treasure Fleet Promotion
Summer Promotion- Stay 2 nights get 1 night free. Call for pricing, based on availability
Pitchford's RV Park is located along the Indian River at the Jensen Beach Causeway close to beaches and Hutchinson Island. Museums, restaurants, specialty shops, and the Treasure Coast Mall are conveniently located within walking distance. River/surf fishing and ocean bathing have been popular with tourists since the park was established by the Pitchford family in the early 1900's. 150 sites available and the laundry room is on-site.
 
Phipps Park Campground
 772-287-6565
http://tiny.cc/4rb50x 
Call to book – the Treasure Fleet Promotion
Summer Promotion- Any 2 nights for the price of 1 (higher priced night prevails).Call for pricing, based on availability
Phipps Park is located along the Okeechobee Waterway in the Tropical Farms neighborhood of Stuart, at 2175 SW Locks Road. The 55 acre conservation park is conveniently located near the Florida Turnpike and Interstate 95. The Park's close proximity to the St. Lucie Locks provides fisherman with an opportunity to enjoy fresh and saltwater fishing.
Pirate’s Cove Resort & Marina 
772-287-2500 
http://piratescoveresort.com/ 
Call to book – the Treasure Fleet Promotion
Summer Promotion- $79 rate per night starting August 19 until September 30th by saying “Discover Martin County” when making a reservation at the hotel. The front desk is open 24 hours and the telephone to call is 772-287-2500 option 1.
Discover the treasure of Pirate’s Cove Resort & Marina. Come and relax at our waterfront hotel to experience the true meaning of “Old Florida” charm in a gorgeous contemporary setting. Our family owned and operated hotel features 50 renovated rooms, all with high-speed internet access and overlooking the Manatee Pocket or pool. With an outstanding restaurant, a full service marina, and a fun gift shop, Pirate’s Cove Resort and Marina offers something for everyone. Our newly remodeled tropical-themed rooms welcome you with comfortable beds, new luxurious linens, and plantation shutters which open up to a view of the marina and waterfront, or step out onto your spacious balcony. Guest room conveniences include a flatscreen TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, and coffee maker, although you could save yourself the trouble and enjoy complimentary hot tea or coffee provided daily in the lobby.

 

Hiking, Biking and so much more!

By James Hall

Martin County’s various hiking trails offer everything from rare wildlife to unique ecosystems.

“It’s an opportunity to explore our unique wildlife, and every time you go out, it’s like a mini biology lesson,” said Deborah Drum, Martin County’s Ecosystem Restoration and Management Manager.

Some trails, like ones at Jonathan Dickinson Park, shelter endangered species like the Florida scrubjay and gopher tortoise, while housing more common wildlife like bald eagles, deer, and turtles. Martin County also has great birding, especially during the winter migration.

Drum said the sand trail at Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge is just amazing. It is family friendly with a hilly, scrub brush environment that goes out to the Indian River Lagoon. One of Drum’s favorite memories happened at the refuge.

“I was with my family on sand trail,” she said. “We had binoculars, and we looked up at an osprey nest. A great horned owl with two baby owlets had taken residence. Sharing something like that with my kids was very powerful.”

Mark Nelson, Jonathan Dickinson State Park Manager, says he also enjoys instilling young people with the love of nature, especially since his love of the outdoors was cemented at an early age.

“All I ever wanted to be from a young age was a park ranger,” Nelson said. “When a kid comes out and I can show them an animal for the first time. To see the lights go on in their eyes after seeing that is really rewarding.”

Hiking in the county gives you the chance to enjoy the little things.

“We don’t have the big, grand vistas,” Drum said. “The beauty we do have is a bit more subtle. As you get out there, you get more of a hiker’s eye.”

One of the benefits of hitting the trail and appreciating nature is becoming more environmentally conscious. Drum said her family has gotten into the habit of picking up trash every time they go on a hike.

“It’s about being a steward of the areas you enjoy,” she said. “If you enjoy it, you should protect it. Leave the trail better than it was when you got there. You leave that much more satisfied because you were able to give back.”

Biking

“Biking is a good way to explore different parts of the county,” said Kevin Abbate, a competitive cyclist and Parks & Recreation Director. “Walking is too slow, driving is too impersonal; you can just take it all in.”

Abbate said one of his favorite places to cycle is Indian River Drive and A1A near Sewall’s Point. He said those are some of the best roads because every 15 minutes or so you get an elevation change going up or down the bridges. Also, if you continue off A1A to MacArthur Boulevard, you can enjoy Bathtub Beach and the House of Refuge.

Jupiter Island is an easy ride with coastal scenery. Because only a few call the island home, including Tiger Woods and Celine Dion, traffic in the area is scarce. There are also some great places to visit including the Jupiter Lighthouse and Museum, Blowing Rocks Preserve, and different parks.

Out west there are some great natural, scenic options. The Martin Grade, recently recognized as Florida’s 25th Scenic Highway, is a great, tree-covered ride which leads to the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail (LOST). According to VisitFlorida.com, LOST is situated high above the lake on the Herbert Hoover Dike, which provides a great view of the lake and surrounding area. Since only some of the paths are paved, you will want to be riding a hybrid or mountain bike, and parts of the trail are closed at certain times for dike maintenance. You never know what you’ll see on a nature ride.

“At the Lake Okeechobee dike, gators were a big thing, probably the coolest thing I’ve seen is a panther,” Abbate said.

You can also mountain bike in Jonathan Dickinson State Park. Nelson said the park contains a very unique resource, the ancient sand dune system called the Atlantic Coastal Ridge which contains the highest natural point south of the Lake Wales Ridge. Nelson said despite Florida not being known for mountains, you’re still in for elevation changes.

For those looking for a little competition or to ride for a good cause, Martin County has some great cycling events. At the Florida State Road Race Championships, everyone from junior to pro riders can compete. In 2013, Abbate won in his division’s race, and he was the race director in 2014. Abbate also participated in Ride for Heroes, one of the various charity rides in Martin County.

“It’s a great way to get lots of people together,” Abbate said.

Whether you are enjoying the beauty of nature, racing at high speeds, or riding in an event, the most important thing is safety.

“Being a guy who has crashed many times, that helmet has saved my life at least 3 times,” Abate said.

Martin County has all the biking opportunities you need, so strap on a helmet and discover what South Florida has to offer.

Sidebar:

-Allapattah Flats: This is a vast area of marshes and flatwoods that provides great recreational opportunities while protecting habitat for rare animals, particularly sandhill cranes, wood storks, and crested caracaras, and game animals such as white tailed deer and wild turkey. Enjoy a hike or bike ride on the five mile long trail system. Please keep in mind that season hunting is allowed and refer to the FWC Regulations for hunt dates and area rules.

-Blowing Rocks Preserve: Visitors can get a glimpse of one of our state’s rarest surviving landscapes – an intact Florida dune habitat with beach sunflower, bay cedar, sea grape, and sea oats. Three hiking trails and boardwalks, each up to 1/3 mile long, feature interpretative signs all along the paths. A photo-worthy sea grape path winds from hardwood hammock, through coastal strands, and into the beach dune before arriving at the “Blowing Rocks.” Swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving are allowed from the beach during listed hours. The Hawley Education Center provides tourists and the local community an opportunity to learn about efforts to protect native habitats, plants, and animals in Florida and around the world.

-Halpatiokee Park: The largest park in Martin County with 65 acres of active park land surrounded by 470 acres of wetland preserves. Many sport activities occur here on the soccer/football fields, tennis courts, softball/baseball fields, and an open air roller-hockey rink. Bring your camera to catch wildlife along the many walking/hiking trails and 7.5 miles of mountain biking trails. You can bring your own kayak or canoe and explore the South Fork of the St. Lucie River (you may also rent them here too). Halpatiokee is the Seminole Indian word meaning “Alligator Water.”

-Hawks Hammock: This 432 acre natural area is a favorite for horseback riding, hiking and wildlife viewing. There are 4.5 miles of trails for horseback riding. As you enjoy the trail, look for the scenic marsh and wet prairie vistas and hawks perching on pine trees along the trail loops.

-Indian Riverside Park-Indian RiverSide Park (IRSP) is the premier family destination park in Martin County. Located in Jensen Beach, IRSP sits beach side on the Indian River Lagoon, with a walking path, fishing pier, interactive play fountain, beach, pavilions, banquet space and much more.  Make sure you call for availability of tours on the Mansion at Tuckahoe or Captain Henry Sewall’s Home. IRSP is also home to the U.S. Sailing Center of Martin County and The Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast.

-Jonathan Dickinson Park: Three scenic nature trails wind through the park, allowing visitors to explore the park’s various habitats. The Kitching Creek-Wilson Creek Trails start in the picnic area parking lot, and lead the visitor through pine flatwoods and along the creeks. The Kitching Creek portion is a self-guiding trail, with a brochure available. The Hobe Mountain Trail is a short, beautiful boardwalk that climbs up through the sand pine scrub to the observation tower, from which commanding views of the entire park and surrounding area may be had. The Camp Murphy Off-road Bicycle Trail System is a nine-mile network of mountain bike trails, with loops rated for beginners all the way to “black diamond, experts only.” Bicycles may be rented at the River Store.

-Kiplinger Nature Preserve: The 150 acre Kiplinger Nature Preserve is located off of Kanner Hwy, just south of SE Indian St. There is a trail and boardwalk system that leads you to an overlook at the South Fork of the St. Lucie River. Here you may see manatees, wading birds, osprey and bald eagles. This is a great spot for bird watching.

-Maggy’s Hammock Park: Formerly named “Rocky Point Hammock Park,” Maggy’s Hammock has been called “an oasis of tropical hammock in a sea of suburbia.” Take a hike along the mile-long nature trail to view the different plants and wildlife. The trails are a part of the Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail.

-Peck Lake Park: You can have a BBQ with family and friends at the pavilions in the front of the park or you can take a stroll on the 1/2-mile boardwalk that leads you to the edge of the Indian River and Peck Lake. A large pavilion will greet you on the deck overlooking the water for you to enjoy the panoramas or hide from the sun while fishing or spotting wildlife. Wildlife you may see at the park includes many species of birds, bobcats, snakes, rabbits, manatee, and dolphins.

-Phipps Park: Relax and get away from it all at Phipps Park. Located along the Okeechobee Waterway, this 55 acre conservation park is easily accessible from the Florida Turnpike and Interstate 95. The park offers fishing, nature trails, a boat ramp, and camping. There are campsites that offer “hook-ups” for RV’s and for those who like to rough it a little more there are primitive sites for tents. Visitors have spotted rare wildlife including burrowing owls, coyotes, otters and bobcats among other interesting flora and fauna. For camping reservations and more information call 772-287-6565.

-Rio Nature Park: In the community of Rio, pull off to the side of the road on NW Alice St and park in front of the Rio Nature Park sign. Take a stroll through the 2-acre natural area and find yourself sitting in a nice picnic area on the banks of the St. Lucie River. You will be able to see the city of Stuart on the other side of the river.

-Timer Powers Park: Beautiful Timer Powers Park is located in Western Martin County on Citrus Boulevard in Indiantown. The park is 37 acres with the scenic Okeechobee waterway bordering the east side of the park. The park has many large oak trees, and is listed as part of the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail. There are many pavilions and a Community Center available for rental for events. The park is also has a state-of-the-art, covered equestrian arena that is the only public equestrian arena in Martin County. It is available to the public for general usage and organized horse shows. Timer Powers Park is the location of the annual Indiantown Rodeo which is one of the nation’s most prominent rodeos and dates back to 1947.

-Zeus Park: Located in the heart of Hobe Sound, Zeus Park offers residents of the Zeus Park Community a great place to bring family and friends. There is a playground for children, a picnic area and bike trails. There is also a large grass field for everyone to exercise, play games or just layout and enjoy a beautiful day.

Sources:

visitflorida.com

floridastateparks.org

floridarambler.com

Florida’s Cultured Pearl: Martin County

White sandy beaches, crystal clear water, nature preserves and near-perfect year-round temps are all to be expected when visiting Martin County. Located on Florida’s Treasure Coast, just 45 minutes from Palm Beach International Airport, an hour from Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport, 90 minutes from Miami International Airport and two hours from Orlando International Airport –public art, regular cultural events, galleries, museums and more are unexpected gems that make this must-see (again and again!) destination shine. Comprised of the communities of Port Salerno, Stuart, Palm City, Jensen Beach, Indiantown, Jupiter Island, Hobe Sound and Hutchinson Island, Martin County serves up numerous beaches, 75+ parks, as well as a plethora of public art, including sculptures and murals donated by artists. Browse Martin County’s more than 20 galleries in the historic downtowns of Stuart, Jensen Beach, Port Salerno and Hobe Sound and find local jewels and gifts for a souvenir worthy of the visit. Hunt for treasure at Treasure Coast Square, where more than 120 shops mean there’s something in the bag for everyone. For a one-of-a-kind experience, head to B&A Flea Market, the Treasure Coast’s oldest and largest flea market with a 35-year history and over 400 vendors. Nearby, the Elliott Museum, named after prolific inventor Sterling Elliott, hosts a dynamic and interactive collection of antique automobiles, vintage boats, an extensive baseball collection and a deep trove of Treasure Coast histories and stories. For an interactive experience involving all ages, head to The Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast, located in the heart of Indian RiverSide Park in Jensen Beach. Add in a visit to The Stuart Heritage Museum, located in the oldest commercial building in Stuart and Martin County, and step back in time to learn about the unusual, the sometimes overlooked people, events and places from Martin County’s history. History buffs meet their match in Martin County. The House of Refuge at Gilbert’s Bar is the only remaining House of Refuge on the East Coast of the United States. Built as one of 10 along the east coast of Florida, it is the oldest structure in Martin County and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Want to delve deeper? Learn about the Georges Valentine Shipwreck at the House of Refuge at Gilbert’s Bar and then suit up to explore the dive site off the coast of Hutchinson Island. For the music lover, the historic Lyric Theatre offers a wide-array of first class talent nearly 300 days a year. This acoustically amazing theatre features concerts from classical to rock and roll, and theatrical performances by local and national talent. Looking for more? Martin County’s The Barn is a 169-seat community theatre presenting five main stage productions September through June, and a Showcase Series of one-act plays held between main stage productions. Book a Friday or Saturday show and stay the weekend to savor all Martin County has to offer. Plan to visit during the annual Port Salerno Seafood Festival, Bookmania, ArtsFest, Pineapple Festival or one of the many other cultural events throughout the year. Add to the Martin County experience with a cruise aboard the 25-passenger Loxahatchee Queen II and travel up the Loxahatchee River to the pioneer home site of Trapper Nelson in Jonathan Dickinson State Park. Need to refuel? The word fresh takes on new meaning with most Martin County restaurants utilizing locally-sourced produce and fresh caught fish, served alongside ingredients from local and organic farms within the county. At day’s end, rest easy at brand name chains like Courtyard by Marriott, Best Western, and Hampton Inn – even the Hutchinson Island Marriott offering a resort-style setting. Or, choose from unique one-of-a-kind family-owned and -operated boutique properties such as the Old Colorado Inn, the Seminole Inn and Pirates Cove Resort and Marina. Smaller bed and breakfast properties and independently rented villages and cottages set the scene for romance while RV and camping facilities – even timeshares – spell family fun.

 

Go Wild in Florida’s Martin County

Encompassing the communities of Port Salerno, Stuart, Palm City, Jensen Beach, Indiantown, Jupiter Island, Hobe Sound and Hutchinson Island, Martin County serves up beautiful beaches and 70+ parks – not to mention the most bio-diverse lagoon ecosystem in the Northern hemisphere, the St. Lucie Inlet, all within two hours or less driving time of four international airports: Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami and Orlando. Florida’s hidden gem, this is a place for unwinding and reconnecting. Building restrictions have limited structures to four stories, preserving breathtaking views throughout the county, yielding Old Florida charm and accented with Key West style. Conservation is king here, evident through individual community efforts like Stuart’s large oyster preserve and the St. Lucie Inlet, where the ecosystem provides habitat for over 4,300 species of plants and animals, including more than 30 threatened and endangered species such as manatees, wood storks, sand hill cranes and peregrine falcons. On Hutchinson Island, the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center offers opportunities for a family-friendly day of fun and learning. At Blowing Rock Preserve, named for its rocky Anastasia limestone shoreline – the largest on the U.S. Atlantic coast, get a glimpse of what South Florida barrier islands looked like a century ago. For a one-of-a-kind adventure, Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge, a coastal refuge bisected by the Indian River Lagoon into two separate tracts of land totaling over 1,000 acres on Jupiter Island, is home to the Hobe Sound Nature Center which offers both on and off-site native wildlife presentations and field experiences to local natural areas. Also on Hobe Sound, find Jonathan Dickinson State Park where the Loxahatchee River, Florida’s first federally designated Wild and Scenic River, runs through the park. Ranger-guided tours of the 1930’s pioneer homestead of Trapper Nelson are available year-round. Fishing for more? There’s a reason Martin County reigns supreme for sport fishing and holds the distinctive title of “Sailfish Capital of the World.” Boasting more than 20 marinas, a dozen fishing and sightseeing charters, plus a variety of bait and tackle shops, Martin County offers an abundance of boating and fishing excursions and the opportunity to pursue 800 species of fish within a 10-mile radius of the St. Lucie Inlet, which connects the Intracoastal Waterway to the Atlantic Ocean. For water play that’s a little less rugged, Sailfish Splash Waterpark features two four-story water slides, a gentle and relaxing lazy river, an interactive water playground, and an Olympic-class competitive swim venue. Numerous charter boats are located throughout Martin County, providing full, half-day or custom charters. Take a sailing lesson at the U.S. Sailing Center of Martin County where options are available for beginners and pros. Or, catch one of the many regattas held here throughout the year, notably the Junior Olympic Festival, Laser Masters, 420 Midwinter Championships and OptiFest. With more than 70 parks, outdoor expeditions in Martin County are limitless. From October to May, “tromp the swamp” – free of charge – to observe the exclusive, natural beauty of the Barley Barber Swamp. All groups are accompanied by a tour guide along our 5,800 foot closed loop boardwalk. Snorkel at Bathtub Reef Beach where a manmade a reef extends into the ocean allowing visitors to venture out while remaining in a protective area. Kayak, hike, bike and go birding at Halpatiokee Regional Park or unwind at the pristine, and often deserted, beach at St. Lucie Inlet Preserve State Park. If you go, travel around Martin County in style and rent an environmentally-friendly electric Duffy boat or rent a scooter or bicycle to zoom around town.

Plan to visit Martin County during the annual Lionfish Derby at Sailfish Marina on Singer Island. When it’s time to refuel, the word fresh takes on new meaning with most Martin County restaurants utilizing locally-sourced produce and fresh caught fish, served alongside ingredients from local and organic farms within the county. At day’s end, rest easy at brand name chains like Courtyard by Marriott, Bes Western, Hampton Inn – even the Hutchinson Island Marriott offering a resort-style setting. Or, choose from unique one-of-a-kind family-owned and -operated boutique properties such as the Old Colorado Inn and Pirates Cove Resort and Marina. Smaller bed and breakfast properties and independently rented villages and cottages set the scene for romance while RV and camping facilities – even timeshares – spell family fun.

 

About Martin County, Florida

Disconnect to reconnect in Martin County, where miles of beautiful  beaches, 75-plus parks, unlimited golf and a region overflowing with culture welcomes visitors. In Martin County you’ll find every kind of family activity to tickle your fancy, from rodeos to high-end shopping, art galleries and one-of-a-kind museums to eco-friendly sea turtle adventures. Located just off A1A and accessible by a plethora of scenic avenues, Martin County is 45 minutes from Palm Beach International Airport, an hour from Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport, 90 minutes from Miami International Airport, and two hours from Orlando International Airport. This is a place for escaping, for making memories that last longer than tan lines. Plan to visit during annual happenings like the annual Stuart Boat Show, Jensen Beach Fine Art or the Port Salerno Seafood Festival each January. Attend ArtsFest in March, the Annual Classics at the Beach Car Show in April, or the Sailfish Regatta in May. You can plan a second fall trip in October for the Stuart Airshow, the Pineapple Festival, Jensen Beach and the annual Indiantown Hoe-Down Rodeo. From flip-flops to cowboy boots, Martin County truly has it all. Surf, boat, sail, kite-surf, dive and snorkel on Hutchinson Island. Cast a line in Port Salerno, a fishing village where award-winning seafood tempts the pickiest of palates. Tee off at the world class golf facilities in Palm City, also home to waterfront parks which provide access for boating, paddling and fishing enthusiasts. In Stuart/Sewall’s Point, shop eclectic boutiques, stroll the river walk and find fresh ingredients at the Green Market, every Sunday. Immerse yourself in Key West style in Jensen Beach, Pineapple Capital of the World, with free access points to the beaches. Catch a show at the landmark Lyric Theatre, built in 1926 as a silent movie house. Indiantown welcomes the inner cowboy in everyone with cattle ranches, rodeos and one of the last Indian trading posts. Connect with nature at Jonathan Dickinson State Park on Hobe Sound. Step back in time on Jupiter Island with a visit to the Loxahatchee River Environmental Center. The word fresh takes on new meaning with most Martin County restaurants utilizing locally-sourced produce and fresh caught fish, served alongside ingredients from several local and organic farms, to please one and all. As the sun sets, relax at one of Martin County’s host of lodging options, from brand name hotels to one-of-a-kind bed and breakfasts. Rest easy at brand name chains like Courtyard by Marriott, Best Western, and Hampton Inn – even the Hutchinson Island Marriott offering a resort-style setting. Or, choose from unique, one-of-a-kind, family-owned and -operated boutique properties such as the Old Colorado Inn, the Historic Seminole Inn and Pirates Cove Resort and Marina. Smaller bed and breakfast properties and independently rented villages and cottages set the scene for romance while RV and camping facilities – even timeshares – spell family fun. www.DiscoverMartin.com