Martin County, FLA Top Ten List #1

Blowing Rocks Preserve

Named for its rocky Anastasia limestone shoreline, the largest on the U.S. Atlantic coast, this magnificently restored sanctuary offers a rare window into Florida’s natural history. The restored preserve reflects what South Florida barrier islands looked like a century ago. Visitors can get a glimpse one of our state’s rarest surviving landscapes – an intact Florida dune habitat with beach sunflower, bay cedar, sea grape and sea oats.

Visitors may enjoy a restful, native plant demonstration garden. Interpretative signs are featured along three hiking trails and boardwalks, each up to 1/3 mile long. 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 The Nature Conservancy’s efforts to protect native habitats, plants and animals in Florida and around the world. It also hosts exhibits and a winter lecture series. The Nature Conservancy considers Blowing Rocks Preserve a top success story.

Blowing Rocks Preserve

574 South Beach Road

Hobe Sound, FL 33455-2804

561- 744-6668

Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast

The Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast (TCM) is located in the heart of Indian RiverSide Park in Jensen Beach. Their mission is to offer children and families a place to explore and learn through hands-on, interactive activities. Special program days are offered by the Museum and are extremely popular with the adults and children who visit the Museum. Admission is free for members, $6 for ages 3+ and $2 for ages 12 months to 2 years.

1707 N.E. Indian River Drive

Jensen Beach FL 34957

772-225-7575

http://www.childrensmuseumtc.org

 

Dive and Explore our Amazing Natural or Artificial Reef system

With numerous thriving natural and artificial reefs along Martin County’s shores, the area truly lives up to its reputation as the “Treasure Coast.” Each reef offers a bounty of rich aquatic life, creating ideal locales for saltwater anglers and recreational divers. Offshore, the prevailing north current allows boaters to begin at the southern end of a 1-mile long series of 14 artificial reefs that provide excellent fishing opportunities.

Martin County’s Artificial Reef Program offers over ninety-five outstanding sites for fishing and dive exploration – and the number continues to grow. There is no better way to appreciate our area’s natural treasures than to fish and explore these waters. We invite you to dive in!

http://www.martinreefs.com/

 

Eat on the Beach at the Sand Dune Café

Located in Jensen Beach on Hutchinson Island , this public access beach is officially called Jensen Sea Turtle Beach but locals simply refer to it is as Jensen Beach. It is a beautiful, wide sandy stretch of beach on the Atlantic Ocean. The Sand Dune Café is open 7 Days a Week serving breakfast, lunch and snacks from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (weather permitting).

Martin County’s numerous Atlantic beaches span nearly 22 miles along the coast. The variety of beach includes both individual access strips for more private spots to enjoy the surf and sand or larger, guard-protected areas like Stuart Beach, Hobe Sound Beach and Sea Turtle / Jensen Beach.

4191 N.E. Ocean Boulevard

Jensen Beach, FL 34957

Elliott Museum

The Elliott Museum’s mission is to inspire creativity through exhibitions and programs about art, history, and technology for the people who live in and visit the Treasure Coast of Florida. Named after prolific inventor Sterling Elliott, it hosts a dynamic and interactive collection of antique automobiles, vintage boats, and an impressive baseball collection. . The Elliott Museum is open year-round, Monday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and is closed on five holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Easter and July 4th. This treasure coast gem includes a deep trove of Treasure Coast histories and stories sure to delight all ages Located on the southernmost point of Hutchinson Island in Stuart Florida at the entrance to Stuart Beach. Admission is free for members, $12 for adults, $6 for children 6-12 and $10 for seniors.

825 N.E. Ocean Boulevard

Stuart, Florida 34996

772- 225-1961

http://www.elliottmuseumfl.org/

 

Florida Oceanographic Society

Whether you’re 2 or 92, there’s something extraordinary about touching a stingray, seeing a sea turtle up close, or witnessing a feeding frenzy in a 750,000-gallon Game Fish Lagoon. Visit Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center for a family-friendly day of fun and learning – with aquariums, nature trails, butterfly garden, children’s pavilion, visitor center, gift shop and more! Open daily: Mon-Sat 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sun from noon to 4:00 pm. Admission is $12 for adults and $6 for children between 3-12 years.

890 N.E. Ocean Boulevard

Stuart, Florida 34996

772-225-0505

http://www.floridaocean.org/

 

Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge

Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge is a coastal refuge bisected by the Indian River Lagoon into two separate tracts of land totaling over 1000 acres. The 735- acre Jupiter Island portion provides some of the most productive sea turtle nesting habitat in the United States.

Hobe Sound Nature Center is on-site and offers both on and off-site native wildlife presentations and field experiences to local natural areas. Nature trails on-site allow for hikes on estuaries, barrier islands, and sand pine scrub. A highly popular event is the sea turtle walk program, held on warm, summer nights from the end of May through mid-July. The center is one of only a few organizations in the state specially permitted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to conduct these nighttime walks. Reservations are required, and the Center begins taking them as early as April 1 each year.

13640 U.S. Highway One

Hobe Sound, Florida 33455

772-546-2067

http://hobesoundnaturecenter.com

 

House of Refuge

Step back in time to the turn of the century with a visit to the House of Refuge Museum at Gilbert’s Bar. The House of Refuge, Martin County’s oldest building, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1974. The House of Refuge at Gilbert’s Bar is the only remaining House of Refuge. Built as one of ten along the east coast of Florida, it is the oldest structure in Martin County and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Admission is free for members, adults are $8, seniors/group rates are $6 and children 2-12 are $3. Combination tickets the House of Refuge and Elliot Museum are available.

301 Southeast MacArthur Boulevard,

Stuart, FL 34996

772- 225-1875

http://www.houseofrefugefl.org/

 

Shopping

You are sure to have unique and full-filled shopping experience when you visit. With something for everyone: delightful shops, charming antique stores, art galleries, quaint sidewalk cafes and restaurants, plus major brand name stores. Martin County boasts everything from trendy shops at the Treasure Coast Square Mall and upscale boutiques at Harbour Bay Plaza, to the eclectic shops of the historic downtowns of Stuart and Jensen Beach. Shopping in Martin County is sure to delight you with a mix of unpretentious charm and sophistication.

Bonus: A must do experience! Take the time to shop in Historic Downtown Stuart home to over 50 locally- owned shops, all in a charming old Florida atmosphere.

 

Experience the culture and indulge your creative side

The legacy of old Florida lives on in Martin County, where the arts and cultural attractions embody the natural beauty of original Florida. Dance, music, theater, visual arts and historical preservation are an integral part of the community with exciting, dynamic arts, and cultural events held year-round. A great place to start is by catching a show at downtown Stuart’s historic Lyric Theatre, once a silent movie house in the 1920s.

Admire the creativity of local artists at one of the many galleries or arts festivals throughout the county. Don’t forget to visit one of the various historical landmarks which make Martin County a truly one of a kind destination!

 

Bonus: Beat the Summer Heat at Sailfish Splash Waterpark

Imagine floating down a lazy river or launching yourself down two four-story water slides. Children of all ages will enjoy the interactive water playground, where little ones can splash around in sprays and slides. For those with athletic interests, the competitive pool is host to numerous swimming and diving meets, as well as water polo competitions.

931 SE Ruhnke Street

Stuart, FL 34994

772-320-3100

www.sailfishsplash.com

Discover Martin County, FL newsletter #1

Whether you are planning a getaway for just a few days or planning on escaping to paradise for a few weeks, Martin County offers an endless array of activities and events for everyone.

About US

Martin County enjoys an international reputation for its natural beauty and environmental stewardship. Here you will find miles of white sand beaches, breathtaking outdoor venues, world-class fishing, water sports, unlimited golf and eco-adventures. There are also one-of-a-kind museums, parks and unique shops and restaurants. Accommodations range from oceanfront resorts to unique boutique lodging to vacation condo rentals.

Did You Know?

Martin County is home to the most bio-diverse lagoon ecosystem in the Northern Hemisphere? The St. Lucie Inlet provides a conduit between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon, and is the most bio-diverse estuary in North America.

This 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 falcon.

Ongoing Weekly Events:

Every Thursday Night – Journey to downtown Jensen Beach for “ Jammin Jensen” from 6:00pm – 9:30pm more information call772-334-3444.

Every Sunday- Find yourself in downtown Stuart for the Stuart GREEN MARKET and enjoy everything from delectable baked goods to organic products to unique artist creations. This Green Market is a MUST!

Stay for the afternoon and enjoy Rock’n Riverwalk, a FREE concert series on the waterfront in Downtown Stuart on the Riverwalk Stage, November-May from 1:00-4:00pm

Make Plans Now!

9th Annual Jensen Beach Fine Art & Craft Show – January 10th-11th, 2015

This show is considered to be one of the most authentic fine art & craft shows in the region.

Only 125 artists are selected to participate in this unique show. All items for sale are original works of fine art and craft and attributed solely to the displaying artist.

For more information visit http://jensenbeach.biz

41st Annual Stuart Boat Show – Friday, January 9th -11th, 2015

The Stuart Boat Show is the largest on the Treasure Coast and features a huge selection of hundreds of boats of all shapes and sizes including power boats, cruisers and yachts just to name a few on display in-water and on land.

The show spans over four locations including HMY’s Waterway Marina, Apex Marine, Stuart Harbor and Half Mile of State Road 707 Old Dixie Highway which connects all locations by road. Look for the signs for free parking and free shuttle bus service.

For more information visit www.allsportsproductions.net/stuart-boat-show-2015

The 9th Annual Port Salerno Seafood Festival- January 24th, 2015

Join us and nearly 40,000 of our closest friends for an exciting day of Live Music, Arts & Crafts Vendors, a Kid’s Fun Zone, Mermaids, Pirates and the Very Best Seafood on the Treasure Coast.

What makes our seafood festival so unique? They serve the freshest seafood and locally caught fish when possible and the majority of it is prepared by Port Salerno’s fishermen and their families, friends and many dedicated volunteers

For more information visit www.portsalernoseafoodfestival.org

 

Special Exhibit at the Elliott Museum- until 01/25/2015

Genome: The Secret of How Life Works – This 5,000-square-foot exhibit explores the human genome and how a person’s entire set of genes explains what makes us who we are. “GENOME” uses interactive displays, visually rich environments and family friendly activities to reveal the mysteries of our genes, delineate the last two centuries of discovery and unravel the implications of gene therapy for the future of medical science and healthcare.

For more information visit www.elliottmuseum.org

More to Explore!

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

Discover Martin County, FLA!

 

About Martin County – Conveniently located on Florida’s East Coast, Martin County is part of an area known as the Treasure Coast…a real Florida gem that celebrates small town life and that hard-to-find old Florida feel. Martin County boasts a beautiful natural landscape from ocean, to river, to lake and everything in between! Martin County operates 74 park facilities throughout the county including Sailfish Splash Waterpark, Indian RiverSide Park and the Mansion at Tuckahoe.

LOCATION & SIZE

  • 100 miles north of Miami
  • 129 miles south of Orlando
  • 250 miles south of Jacksonville
  • 330 miles south of Tallahassee
  • 12-85 feet above sea level
  • Land Area – 556 square miles
  • Water Area – 209 square miles

CLIMATE

Mean Average Temperature ……………..74°F

Average Summer Temperature …………82°F

Average Amount of Sunshine ……………70%

Average Ocean Temperature …………74.3°F

There are several distinct areas within the county, each having a special draw and offering unique, authentic experiences. Learn a bit more about those areas below:

shoppingIMG_6187

 

STUART/ SEWALL’S POINT

Stuart, the county seat, also known as the “Sailfish Capital of the World” because of the many sailfish found off the coast of Martin County, is located along the banks of the St. Lucie River and west of the Indian River near the inlet to the Atlantic Ocean. Stuart is also located on the eastern point of the Okeechobee Waterway, a 54-mile long waterway and Florida’s only cross-state canal, which extends from the Atlantic Ocean in Stuart to the Gulf of Mexico in Ft. Myers, giving Stuart the nickname of “The Panama Canal of Florida.” Sewall’s Point is located on a peninsula with the Indian River (Intracoastal Waterway) to the east and the St. Lucie River to the west. This area offers a wide array of activities, including waterfront and sidewalk cafes, Zagat-rated restaurants and one-of-a-kind boutiques. Stuart’s pristine landscaped streets and astonishing skyscraper-free views helped it to be named “The Most Beautiful City” by America in Bloom in 2008 and more recently in 2014, Stuart was listed as one of the “Top Ten Beach Towns in Florida” by the Huffington Post. Here you will find working studios and art galleries, antique shops and museums that add to the small town charm. Residents and visitors alike are invited to come feel the local flavor at the weekly Green Market, monthly waterfront jazz concerts, antique car shows and art festivals providing color and fun throughout the year. The landmark Lyric Theatre, listed on the National Historic Registry and built in 1926 as a silent movie house, brings a full slate of concerts, shows and cultural events to the area.

Adventurers wanting to get back to nature will find an array of outdoor options in the area, including kayaking, hiking, biking and birding options or discovering the pristine and often deserted beach at St. Lucie Inlet Preserve State Park.

A natural gem in this area is Halpatiokee Regional Park: The 180-acre park is situated along the banks of the South Fork of the St. Lucie River and features numerous sporting fields, tennis courts, a playground, covered skating rink and miles of trails. The park is also the home of South River Outfitters Canoe and Kayak Livery Service.

Also located in Stuart is the NEW Sailfish Splash Waterpark a great activity for the whole family! This state-of-the-art complex is open seasonally to the public from March –September and includes:

  • 1,000-foot lazy river.
  • Two, four-story water slides, one a 253-foot, closed flume “Speed Slide”
  • Zero-depth entry, 7,326-square foot water playground with jets, sprays, slides and a 300-gallon “Dump Bucket”
  • Shaded picnic area
  • Plenty of deck space
  • 700 lounge and deck chairs
  • Private cabanas
  • A gift and sundries shop

Finally, take a romantic stroll along Stuart’s Riverwalk and enjoy the scenery or gaze upon the Roosevelt Bridge, voted one of the most “Spectacular Bridges Around the World” by Travel and Leisure Magazine.

 

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PALM CITY

Palm City is just west of the ocean and Stuart, surrounded by lots of waterways yet near the Turnpike and I-95. Popular with families, Palm City offers several breathtaking parks including:

Leighton Park: Located at the base of the Palm City Bridge on the St. Lucie River, it offers a playground, picnic tables, fishing pier, boat ramps, grills, scenic walking path and parking.

Jock Leighton Park: Has a full skate park, playground and several pavilions.

Lance Corporal Justin Wilson Memorial Park: Located at 2050 SW Mapp Road, the park has sidewalk access, restrooms, four playgrounds, picnic tables, shelters, an observation tower, nature trail, numerous sporting fields, tennis courts, racquetball courts, a basketball court and area to play a classic game of horseshoes.

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PORT SALERNO

The historic small-town fishing village of Port Salerno blends local color with art galleries, working artist studios and waterfront dining, featuring locally-caught seafood, as well as land lover fare. Port Salerno is defined by the Manatee Pocket, a picturesque bay which extends from Port Salerno to the St. Lucie Inlet and is fed by several creeks including Salerno and Manatee. This small community was originally the hub for the South Florida commercial fishing industry. Now a working waterfront and fishing fleet provides fresh seafood to local restaurants and markets, as well as the Port Salerno Seafood Festival, which is held on the public docks and neighborhood streets the early part of every year. Port Salerno also welcomes “captains of industry” from around the world, who come to the area every year for world-class sport fishing tournaments that are based out of marinas and parks located on the Manatee Pocket. Launch your boat or paddleboard from Sandsprit Park to take in the stunning waterways. Sandsprit Park’s amenities include bike path access, boat ramp, fishing access, fishing pier, picnic sites, playground and restrooms.

lastroads 004

 

INDIANTOWN

Originally established by the Seminole people as a trading post, Indiantown is a small, quiet town about 15 miles west of Stuart and 8 miles north of the Palm Beach County line. Indiantown is surrounded by citrus groves and cattle ranches. Unique to the rest of Martin County, Indiantown is situated in the heart of Florida’s cattle and citrus country. Here the charmingly restored Seminole Inn captures the twilight grandeur of “Old Florida.” Nature lovers can enjoy the great outdoors at Dupuis Reserve State Forest, J & R Outfitters or Allapattah Flats. Indiantown is a short drive to the shores of Port Mayaca where you can see a waterfront sunset while still on the East Coast. Indiantown is also home to Payson Park, one of the top Thoroughbred horse racing facilities in the United States.

sunrise on jupiter

 

JUPITER ISLAND/TEQUESTA

On the southern border of Martin County sits Jupiter and Tequesta. Jupiter is rich in history and Florida lore, with the earliest known records of the Jupiter Inlet dating back to 1565. Jupiter Island is a unique barrier island bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, the west by the Intracoastal Waterway, the Jupiter Inlet to the south and the St. Lucie Inlet to the north. In the 1800’s Jupiter’s most identifiable landmark, the Jupiter Lighthouse, was erected. The lighthouse stands 105 feet tall atop a 46-foot hill on the north shore of the Jupiter Inlet. The land that is now Lighthouse Park was once a part of Fort Jupiter, a military installation that was formed during the Seminole Indian Wars.

Today Jupiter is still famous for its beautiful beaches, the Loxahatchee River and Intracoastal Waterway. The town enjoys a vibrant cultural life and rich history, is home of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum and hosts several annual arts and entertainment festivals. Town and County parks also provide recreational facilities for team sports like baseball, basketball and soccer, tennis courts, an aquatic center and boat ramps to access the Intracoastal Waterway.

North of Stuart Beach 005

HUTCHINSON ISLAND

Hutchinson Island is home to miles of pristine and uncrowded beaches. The perfect getaway for the beach lover and water enthusiast where you can surf, boat, sail, kite-surf, dive and snorkel. Beaches in Martin County offer free parking. Due to the County ordinance on building height, you are offered an unencumbered skyline with breathtaking views of the ocean. South Hutchinson Island extends from the Fort Pierce Inlet in St. Lucie County to the St. Lucie Inlet in Martin County, with three causeways providing access to and from the island.

History and culture are abundant at the newly-renovated Elliott Museum. The mission of the Elliott Museum is to inspire creativity through exhibitions and programs about art, history and technology for the people who live in and visit the Treasure Coast. Named after prolific inventor Sterling Elliott, the museum hosts a dynamic and interactive collection of antique automobiles, vintage boats, an impressive baseball collection and a deep trove of Treasure Coast histories and stories sure to delight all ages. In addition, the museum is proud to display an array of traveling exhibits designed to challenge and inspire families and children.

The Elliott Museum also operates the House of Refuge on Hutchinson Island, Martin County’s oldest building and the only life-saving station of its kind still in existence. Travel back in time as you imagine how difficult life was on this outpost and learn about the many dramatic sea rescues that have taken place over its 120-year history. For those wanting to experience a one-of-a kind underwater experience, make plans to dive the Wreck of Georges Valentine, Martin County’s only underwater archaeological preserve and an underwater site listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Another must-see attraction is the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center, located on Hutchinson Island. Situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon, the 57-acre property houses the Florida Oceanographic Society’s headquarters, nature trails, 750,000-gallon Game Fish Lagoon, Sea Turtle Pavilion, Children’s Activity Pavilion, Sea Star Touch Tank Pavilion, Rays on the Reef Ray Pavilion, and the Frances Langford Visitors Center. With its coastal hardwood hammocks and mangrove swamp communities, the site provides excellent opportunities for education and research aimed at increasing visitors’ knowledge of these unique environments.

Hobe Sound drive

 

HOBE SOUND

Unique in so many ways, Hobe Sound sits in the most environmentally sensitive area of southeastern Martin County. Here you can discover an understated elegance. With its collection of antique shops, funky eateries art galleries and nature parks, Hobe Sound embodies the definition of small beach town charm. Enjoy a relaxing day at Hobe Sound Beach or explore the gem known as Jonathan Dickinson State Park. This park teems with wildlife in 13 natural communities including sand pine, scrub pine, flatwoods, mangroves and river swamps. Winding through the expansive park, the Loxahatchee River is Florida’s first federally-designated Wild and Scenic River. Ranger-guided tours of the 1930’s pioneer homestead of Trapper Nelson are available year-round. The park also offers both paved and off-road biking, equestrian and hiking trails, boating, canoeing and kayaking along the river. Not often thought of when it comes to coastal counties, you can also try your hand at freshwater fishing along the riverbank or from a boat. This park offers two full-facility campgrounds and a primitive campground for your enjoyment.

The Hobe Sound Nature Center, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting an environmental awareness in people of all ages. The Hobe Sound Nature Center has been located in the Hobe Sound Wildlife Refuge for over 40 years and offers both on and off-site native wildlife presentations and field experiences to local natural areas. There are two trails on the refuge including one opening up to the Indian River Lagoon where one can grab some sun or go for a kayak ride. The Nature Center exhibit features over 20 native, live animals including snakes, crocodile and a skunk.

Another must-see hidden gem is Blowing Rocks Preserve. Owned by The Nature Conservancy, it contains the largest Anastasia limestone outcropping on the state’s east coast. Breaking waves spray plumes of water through erosion holes, making for spectacular pictures. The spray can reach heights of 50 feet; it is this distinctive spectacle that earned the limestone outcropping’s name. The limestone outcropping also encompasses coquina shells, crustaceans and sand. The preserve also features several coastal ecotones, including maritime hammocks, mangrove wetlands and beach dunes. Common native species include sea grapes, gumbo limbo and Sabal palms. The preserve includes an educational center, native plant nursery, boardwalk, oceanside path and a butterfly garden. The Hawley Education Center features rotating natural history and art exhibits, and offers environmental education classes and workshops. A boardwalk along the Indian River Lagoon features interpretive signs about the plants, wildlife and area environment.

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JENSEN BEACH

Jensen Beach is a quiet ocean and riverfront town with beautiful beaches, great fishing and a quaint downtown with a small town pace. Historic downtown Jensen Beach offers charming cottages where local artisans display and sell original artwork. From the moment you enter the historic downtown area of Jensen Beach, the town’s “Pineapple Capital of the World” heritage becomes strongly evident. Charming Florida cottages lined with picket fences and carved pineapples showcase local artists and their works. Surrounded by historic porch-fronted homes, Jensen Beach offers five-star dining and family eateries sporting Caribbean colors and motifs which exude a Key West style. The variety of small, locally owned shops provide a wide array of charming shopping experiences. Every Thursday, locals and visitors alike head downtown for Jammin’ Jensen — a streetside affair full of live entertainment, food and fun.