Food is often the entry point to getting to know your destination. Through food, you literally get a taste of a place, learning about the people, values and lifestyle with each bite. South Florida is practically bursting with flavor, and there's no better place to sample some of the state's cuisine than in Martin County, along the southern Atlantic coast. Here are five unforgettable food experiences that will delight the entire family.
Now a working waterfront providing fresh seafood to local restaurants, Port Salerno was once the hub for the South Florida commercial fishing industry. Visitors can also catch their own tasty fish in the picturesque bay. Between November and March, millions of Spanish mackerel occupy the waters off Stuart, while king mackerel are available year-round. Amazing amberjacks are also found near the shipwrecks and reefs. Conchy Joe's in Jensen Beach will cook your fish for you, and Mrs. Peters Smokehouse is legendary along the Treasure Coast for its smoked fish, even serving President Hoover back in the day. Twisted Tuna and King Neptune's in Port Salerno will also serve up your catch.
What kid doesn't love pizza? Take this culinary treat to the next level by letting them make their own pizza. Hutchinson Shores Resort and Spa offers cooking classes, where guests can take advantage of the on-site brick oven to learn how to make pizza. Participants will also receive an embroidered apron and a copy of the pizza dough recipe. Mom and dad can even visit the bar for a lesson in libations from the resort's mixologist.
Downtown Stuart lures travelers with its artsy boutiques and attractions, but its eclectic food scene is not to be overlooked. The whole family can make a day out of sampling some of the town's culinary delights. Meander through the side streets, or, for more structure, join a food tour led by The Flavor Excursion. Along two miles and split among five sampling stops, you'll learn about Stuart's infamous pirate, a long-standing speakeasy (hidden right under your nose) and more. Come hungry!
Families get a thrill out of attending Martin County's food festivals, which routinely win awards for enchanting the tastebuds of residents and visitors alike. Not to be missed? Taste of Jenson, held every December for more than 20 years running. In Downtown Jensen Beach, more than 25 local restaurants set up with their signature dishes and drinks. Attendees taste their way through the streets with a scorecard in hand, then vote on their favorites. Other food festivals to check out are the Port Salerno Seafood Festival — with a dedicated Kid's Fun Zone and mermaid appearances — and the annual Bahamian Festival, where costumed performers parade through New Monrovia Park while families sample island-inspired cuisine.
READ MORE: "Discover Martin County, Florida"
While coastal cuisine often denotes seafood in South Florida, the soil of Martin County is home to farm-to-table restaurants, green markets, pick-your-own fields, seafood markets, honey farms and more. A favorite spot to get to know the coastal land is Kai-Kai Farm, a preeminent local food supplier for the area that produces goods ranging from broccoli to greens to tomatoes to okra. The farm also hosts al-fresco music and farm-to-table dining with local musicians and chefs right next to its vegetable fields. Visitors can also venture to Indiantown, situated in the heart of Florida’s cattle and citrus county. Contact the team at the historic Seminole Inn, who will be more than happy to create an authentic farm experience tailored to your family’s interests. It's an amazing way to experience the best of Martin County.