Beautiful Martin County is proof that a much-needed escape to sunny South Florida doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. With more than 22 miles of pristine, uncrowded beaches to explore and over 100,000 acres of sprawling parks and preservation lands, there’s more than enough room to spread out and savor our hidden gem of a destination.
Many of these natural wonders are free to enjoy, and we also offer a diverse range of additional attractions and activities that won’t break the bank. Whether you’re planning a quick road trip or flying into one of the four international airports located less than a two-hour drive away, here are some of our favorite budget-friendly experiences that you won’t want to miss! And be sure to check out our regularly updated events page to stay in the know about upcoming happenings in our area.
All of Martin County’s beloved beaches are completely FREE to visit! Yes, you read that correctly. There are absolutely no fees to soak up the sun or dig your toes in the sand. Open 24/7, Jensen Sea Turtle Beach is a popular choice, thanks to its lifeguards, Sand Dune Café, picnic tables, volleyball courts, bathrooms, and showers. But be sure to check out other local favorites, like Stuart Beach, Bathtub Beach, and Tiger Shores. All you need is a beach towel to have the perfect, cash-free day in the sun and sand.
Located within the oldest commercial building in the county, the Stuart Heritage Museum’s countless relics embody the history of the people, businesses, agriculture, and community spirit of Martin County. The purpose of Stuart Heritage is to help preserve the culture, artifacts, and stories of Stuart and its surrounding communities. Best of all, admission is completely free of charge. Afterwards, spend the afternoon strolling the streets of historic Downtown Stuart where you can window shop the countless independently owned boutiques, grab a bite to eat, or soak in soothing waterfront views. On Sunday’s, don’t miss Rock’n Riverwalk – a free open air concert on the Riverwalk Stage from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm (immediately following the weekly Stuart Green Market).
For a real-life scavenger hunt, be sure to drive out to Hobe Sound and try to spot all the Hobe Sound Murals hidden throughout the community. The goal of the Hobe Sound Murals Project is to beautify specific locations, enhance civic pride, encourage positive networking, and plant seeds for future cultural accomplishments. Since 2009, this “paint-the-town” initiative, (spearheaded by professional artist Nadia Utto) has provided creative opportunities for over 40 skilled regional artisans along with approximately 100 individual residents and visitors. So stop by the Chamber of Commerce for a Mural Tour Map and spend the day walking, biking, driving, or joining an expert-guided tour to see these lovely landmarks!
This classic Florida barrier island is accessible only by boat, but it’s well worth the ride. A boardwalk takes visitors across mangrove forests and hammocks of live oaks, cabbage palms, paradise trees, and wild limes to a neatly preserved Atlantic beach. During the summer months, the island is an important nesting area for loggerhead, leatherback, and green turtles. Visitors come to swim, sunbathe, or picnic at the pavilion on the serene beach. Others make the trip for the great surf fishing, while snorkeling and scuba diving are also popular activities. Admission to the park costs $3.00 per boat or $2.00 per canoe/kayak and can be paid at the on-site Honor Box. Some other popular parks worth exploring include Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Halpatiokee Regional Park, the DuPuis Management Area, and Indian Riverside Park.
Want to get up close to some of Florida’s native fauna? The Treasure Coast Wildlife Center operates a comprehensive medical and rehabilitative facility for the care of wild animals. The clinic receives as many as 3,000 wild patients each year with an average of nine new intakes every day! The team provides treatment for a diverse group of animals such as bobcats, eagles, alligators, gopher tortoises, sandhill cranes, and songbirds. Roughly 10% of the animals they treat are endangered, threatened, or a species of special concern. Upon completion of their rehabilitation, most of the patients are either returned to suitable wild habitats or receive permanent residency at the hospital. The Wildlife Center is open to the public Thursday through Sunday from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, and there is a suggested donation of $10 per family or group.
Named for its rocky Anastasia limestone shoreline (the largest on the Atlantic coast) this magnificently restored sanctuary offers a rare window into Florida’s natural history. During high tide, the waves crash through the rock formations and shoot upwards of 50 feet into the air. 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. Swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving are allowed from the beach during regular hours. Meanwhile 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. Located on Jupiter Island in Hobe Sound, Blowing Rocks Preserve just celebrated its 50th anniversary and was recently named one of Florida’s top beaches. A small donation is recommended to help support conservation initiatives.
Every Thursday evening from 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm, the whimsical streets of downtown Jensen Beach come alive during Jammin’ Jensen. This mini-festival features displays from local artists and vendors and features live music and entertainment for the whole family. Plus, admission is totally complimentary. Whether you’re perusing the stalls for the perfect souvenir or just there to soak up the vibrant atmosphere, you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for during this legendary local tradition. But there’s plenty of do in Downtown Jensen every other night of the week as well. Pop into charming storefronts (such as Salty Kai Boutique and Kirk’s Dive & Surf Shop); grab a cocktail or bite to eat at a lively establishment (like Crawdaddy’s N’awlins Grill & Bar or Tako Tiki); or check out the Art Cottages, which house a collection of galleries, art studios, and gift shops.
Looking to get inspired? Located on the waterfront of Manatee Pocket in the historic fishing village of Port Salerno (just five miles south of downtown Stuart), The Fish House Art Center and Gallery showcases ten resident artists’ studios, including painters, glass artists, and ceramic sculptors. The public is welcome (and encouraged!) to stop by to see the artists hard at work, free of charge. You can also take classes with some of our artists. Come for a class then dine at one of the five restaurants all within easy walking distance of The Art Center. It’s a truly unique experience that will give a first-hand glimpse into the creative community that calls Martin County home.
Allapattah Flats Trail is a massive recreation area encompassing over 20,000 acres of marshes and slash pine flatwoods. The outdoor attraction is open to public access year-round, and common recreational opportunities include cycling, horseback riding, primitive camping, hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, and more. Visitors can often be found hiking or biking along the five-mile long trail system leading to an open marsh popular with wading birds, and there are separate trails for equestrians as well as a 150-acre riding area. This site is a cooperative effort of the Martin County Board of County Commissioners, the South Florida Water Management District, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and also serves as a protective habitat for rare animals (including sandhill cranes, wood storks, crested caracaras, and game animals such as white-tailed deer and wild turkey).
Looking to get your blood pumping and a bit of fresh air? Then spend some time enjoying all Langford Park has to offer! The park is named after the famous entertainer, Frances Langford, who donated the 20 acres of land near her estate in Jensen Beach back in 1948. Some of the park’s amenities include outdoor restrooms, a playground, four baseball diamonds (two adult and two junior size fields), a concession stand, two basketball courts (one full and one junior size court), four tennis courts, four racquetball courts, two sand volleyball courts, eleven picnic pavilions, and the newest addition, four pickleball courts. With the many facilities and sports activities available, Langford Park provides something for everyone and can be found just south of the famous Stuart Welcome Arch. Afterwards, be sure to stop by Mrs. Peters Smokehouse to sample their famous smoked fish dip – a Martin County delicacy!