Martin County Office of Tourism
First, inspire your clients:
In Martin County, Florida, palm trees rise up from white sand towards a cerulean sky. Dolphins leap through the estuaries, and sea turtles swim alongside you in the ocean. Situated along the state’s eastern Treasure Coast (named after the riches that washed ashore from Spanish shipwrecks in the 19th century), the area is part of one of the most scenic slices of Florida. Unlike neighbouring Palm Beach, however, the county enjoys a slower, serene atmosphere that makes it ideal to experience with kids in tow.
Here are three reasons why Martin should be your client's next beach vacation.
Choose your speed on the water
Sailing on the Schooner Lily
Avoid the proverbial arguments about the day’s activities. The mix of open ocean and calm inlets means you can explore the water via paddle board, speed boat, or surf board. The still, early morning waters in Sailfish Flats are ideal for a paddle. The husband and wife duo that run Zeke’s Surf and Paddle grew up in the area (and he’s also a competitive paddle boarder) so you’ll get a local’s take on the area and its diverse marine life. Glide over crystal clear water and soft sandbars while keeping your eyes peeled for rays, turtles, colourful comb jellies, and conch.
Pick up some speed with Riding the Waves. The outfitter’s self-drive catamarans allow you to zip along waterways bordered by lush mangrove forests, where a naturalist guide can point out wildlife, such as nesting osprey.
Dining to suit every palate and budget
In Jensen Beach, Bunkhouse Coffee serves freshly-baked breads and pastries (including vegan and gluten-free options) alongside smoothie bowls topped with fresh fruit and dried coconut. Sit at the cafe’s bar with a coffee or take a scone to go and stroll the area’s pretty streets, lined with sorbet-coloured shops and galleries.
Head to Twisted Tuna for lunch, a waterside pub in Port Salerno that offers fresh, flavourful finger food like mahi-mahi tacos and tuna dip with a view of docked boats and palm trees. If the occasion calls for a nice bottle of wine, make your way to The Gafford in Stuart. Dishes like buttery swordfish are served amidst an intimate ambiance, in a room that looks out onto the town’s historic streets.
Fun, on and off the beach
House of Refuge | Martin County Office of Tourism
When everyone’s reached their maximum sun-and-surf time, state of the art museums and aquariums offer a respite from the heat. The Florida Oceanographic Centre is a 57-acre marine life nature centre that works as an advocate for sustainability as well as offering hands-on learning experiences and interactive exhibits, such as sea turtle and ray pavilions. From May to June, visitors can also register for a guided nighttime sea turtle walk on one of the local beaches.
If learning about cars and technology piques your interest, head to the Elliott Museum. Named after the inventor Sterling Elliott and dedicated to the intersection of art, history, and technology, the museum has permanent and special exhibitions focused on early 20th-century automobiles and aircraft, as well the history of the Treasure Coast.
How to sell Martin County
Kim Seng / Martin County Office of Tourism
Why visit Martin County?
It’s a real Florida gem that celebrates its small towns and beautiful natural landscape from oceans to rivers to lakes, and everything in between – minus the crowds! Building restrictions have limited structures to four stories, preserving breathtaking views throughout the county, yielding Old Florida charm accented with Key West style. Stuart, the county seat, is the first town in Florida awarded the “Happiest Seaside Town in America” title.
Who should visit Martin County?
Jonathan Dickinson State Park | Martin County Office of Tourism
Martin County is unique in the diversity of its offerings, and all within the county. There is something for everyone:
NATURE LOVERS: Beautiful beaches, over 77 parks, preserves and refuges make the area an ideal destination for outdoor lovers. The St. Lucie Inlet is the most bio-diverse lagoon ecosystem in the Northern Hemisphere.
FAMILIES: Kids can fish, surf and have unique educational adventures, while mom and dad can watch the action or relax seaside in a place known for its beaches, shopping and culinary offerings. “Camp-cation” is a new alternative to travel and is a win-win for both children and adults.
CULTURE VULTURES: Signature events include the Stuart Boat Show, Artsfest, Stuart Sailfish Regatta, Dancin’ in the Streets, Indiantown Rodeo, Stuart Air Show, Pineapple Festival and Taste of Jensen. There are also free weekly concerts along the river and unique performances at the historic Lyric Theatre.
SPECIAL INTERESTS: From fishing and sailing, rowing and equestrian to agritourism and farm-to-table.
How to upsell Martin County
Located less than two hours from Orlando, Martin County is the perfect location to disconnect and exhale after your clients have had their fill of theme parks. It's also less than two hours from Miami, so visitors can relax a little before hitting the big city. Martin County is less than three hours from Naples, for those who want to plan a longer east coast- west coast experience.
Are there any misconceptions about Martin County?
People may not understand the complexity and diversity of the tourism product the county offers. Some travellers have not heard of the area and do not understand what a hidden gem it is.
Hutchinson Island | Martin County Office of Tourism
How to get to Martin County
Encompassing the communities of Port Salerno, Stuart, Palm City, Jensen Beach, Indiantown, Jupiter Island, Hobe Sound and Hutchinson Island, Martin County is two hours or less driving time from international airports in Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Orlando.
When to go
The busiest months are January to March. Most Canadians visit during the winter, but the best savings can be found during summer and fall.
Martin County Office of Tourism
Brand name hotels are readily available and there are lovely smaller properties including boutique hotels, B&Bs and self-catering units.