Families love South Florida. It’s beachy, laid-back, and doesn’t have a cut-off point when it comes to holiday fun. But those in the know, are heading a little further north these days; passing Palm Beach, and making straight for Martin County instead.
Tucked between enormous Lake Okeechobee and the blue and gold Atlantic coast, Martin County is everything that’s irresistible about South Florida. Only here, there’s more space on the lovely beaches; unspoiled countryside stretches for miles; quaint seaside towns win awards for sheer charm, and kids are expected to be kids; because it’s a kid-friendly kind of place.
Sound like the South Florida family holiday you had in mind for 2018? Here are another few Martin County secrets to convince you completely.
Spend a couple of weeks in Martin County and you’ve a different beach for every day, and one left over. That’s 15 broad stretches of golden sand, Atlantic facing, under a flawless Florida sky. And they’re all up for anything, from water sports to wildlife spotting; surfing, swimming, or simply sunbathing.
The communities along Martin County’s coast also have plenty to shout about. Not only do they regularly win awards for everything from happiness to loveliness, they’re true South Florida characters with fascinating backstories.
Discover why downtown Jensen Beach is known as the ‘Pineapple Capital of the World’. Visit charming Stuart; named ‘America’s happiest seaside town’ by Coastal Living Magazine. Try Sewall’s Point and Port Salerno for intriguing art galleries and rising star restaurants. Or let kids go wild in a wonderland of water sports on Hutchinson Island.
Creative Martin County is a hive of industry, capable of filling several holidays with art festivals, events, and exhibitions.
Kids love the energetic annual ArtsFest and the Downtown Stuart Art Festival, every year in Stuart. February sees the Hobe Sound Festival of Arts turn the town into a living gallery. And the fabulous Elliot Museum isn’t to be missed, any time of year; for cool classic cars and trucks, the permanent art collection, and a fascinating Foucault’s Pendulum.
Wetlands cover more than 30% of Florida; the state has over three million estuaries, and a tidal shoreline stretching upwards of 8500 miles. That’s a lots of space for wildlife to flourish, and the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Centre is where kids can meet the creatures that make it their home; explore the amazing local eco-system, trek nature trails, and take part in fun activities, designed to inspire a whole new generation of conservationists.
Families aren’t just welcome on Martin County’s 15 fabulous beaches, they’re actively encouraged to explore all over the great outdoors here, from coast to countryside.
Start at Jonathan Dickinson State Park: 11,500 acres of accessible wilderness, made for adventuring. Kids can get up to anything from trail hiking to kayaking, surfing or kiteboarding. Guided ecotours uncover the park’s biggest secrets. And meeting resident manatee and dolphins is one of those holiday experiences no one ever forgets.
Take a tour of the county’s festivals, or just pick one, and discover why Martin County is famous for celebrations.
The Stuart Air Show is one of the biggest in the state, and takes full advantage of South Florida’s amazingly sunny skies in November. Come January, head to the ocean, for the Port Salerno Seafood Festival. Dancin’ in the Streets breaks out moves all over Stuart in August. The Jensen Beach Pineapple Festival is another November legend: now in its 30th year. And if kids are up for some real riding, roping, whooping and hollering, the annual Indiantown Rodeo is where it’s at in October.
Martin County invites families to stay everywhere, from cute holiday homes to cosy guesthouses, and grand hotels.
New for 2018, Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa is the latest addition to the county’s luxury collection. Its cool, beachy atmosphere has masses of kid-appeal; and spacious family suites with ocean views overlooking Hutchinson Island, along with a fabulously opulent spa; are just a few parent-friendly essentials in place here.
Hutchinson Island Marriot is another great choice for beach-loving families. And lively Stuart adds town fun into the seaside mix at the characterful Colorado Inn, and recently renovated Courtyard Stuart, Hampton Inn, and Best Western.