Guide to Martin County

Ultimate Guide to Stuart and Martin County, Florida!

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While we were staying at the Plantation Beach Club in Stuart, Florida, I wanted to immerse myself in the local area so I reached out to the Martin County Office of Tourism to get information on the area. We decided to partner together and they sponsored many of the activities you will see here. All opinions are 100% my own.

Martin County is located on the east coast of Florida on the Treasure Coast. It is approximately 30 minutes from West Palm Beach. Stuart is the County Seat and there are many smaller towns you can visit like Port Salerno, Hobe Sound and Indiantown. Stuart and the surrounding areas offer unique outdoor activities on the water or while hiking. You can visit their many museums and pioneer homes while visiting.

The Martin County Visitor Bureau, really made sure our visit hit every area of Martin County, giving you, a Guide to Stuart and Martin County, Florida!

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Guide to Martin County

Where to Stay in Stuart and Martin County, FL

We were hosted by Hilton Grand Vacations at their oceanfront property, Plantation Beach Club, which is located on Hutchinson Island, in Martin County, and is a part of the larger area of Stuart, Florida. Stuart is the county seat of Martin County. Our partnership started with Plantation Beach Club which is owned by Hilton Grand Vacations. It is an all-condominium facility with a pool and all of the condos are oceanfront. This condo is located on some of the most magnificent beaches in the state of Florida and is located in the larger Hutchinson Island Marriot Resort.

Guide to Martin County
Plantation Beach Club, Hilton Grand Vacations, Martin County, FL

Plantation Beach Club is centrally located in Martin County, so you’ll always have something to do. After spending our days out exploring we were always ready to get back and enjoy the beauty of the Plantation Beach Club. With sweeping views of Hutchinson Island, it’s the perfect way to unwind after a long day!

Plus, Hilton Grand Vacations pays for guests and owners to have an all-access pass, in other words, you get to enjoy the amenities in the larger Marriott Resort! With this in mind, take advantage of the clubhouse, pools, great restaurants, and a stunning golf course!

Your Ultimate Guide to Stuart and Martin County, Florida!

Your Ultimate Guide to Stuart and Martin County, Florida!
Your Ultimate Guide to Stuart and Martin County, Florida!

Martin County

Martin County is made up of Stuart, the county seat and several other small towns and villages, making it a great Florida vacation destination. Not only were we able to visit Stuart, but we also spent time in Hobe Sound, Indiantown, Port Salerno, and Hutchinson Island. So let’s get started!

Stuart was recognized by the Huffington Post as one of the “Top 10 Beach Towns” making Plantation Beach Club a great choice as they are located on some of the best beaches in Martin County.

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Day One – Stuart

Named the #1 Happiest Seaside Town designation by Coastal Living Magazine, I can tell you the people are very friendly here! You will find a free tram/trolley that will get you around downtown Stuart and also give you the history of the area if you ask. Our driver was well-versed in everything about downtown Stuart and its history!

Plantation Beach Club Vacation
Stuart Downtown Tram, Martin County

Stuart Green Market

With Stuart being the county seat there is plenty to do as it is the largest municipality in Martin County.

Guide to Martin County

We started downtown with the Stuart Green Market. We were able to find free parking when we entered the downtown area. As we walked to the waterfront we see tents set up with every kind of food, fruit and veggie you can imagine. The food is truly amazing! There were artisan French cheeses, every kind of homemade baked good and fresh fruits and veggies! This is a great place to get brunch on Sunday morning.

Guide to Martin County

Be sure to plan a visit on Sunday to enjoy the free Rockin’ RiverWalk Music Series! Listen to multiple cool jazz bands with a view of the St. Lucie River.

As you walk around the downtown area you will see there is a lot more than just food. Learn all about the history of Stuart Florida in the Stuart Heritage Museum! This area has a rich history and you’ll love learning all about it! Located in the oldest commercial building in Stuart and Martin County, it’s a treasure trove of history for everyone to enjoy.

Guide to Martin County
Stuart Museum, Martin County FL

Known for its restaurants, water sports, fishing, and boating Stuart has a lot to offer. Including a multitude of cool waterfront businesses to discover!

We even were able to ride on a Schooner, called the Schooner Lily, where you can take a sail on the Saint Lucie River and explore the area. We chose the Sunset Sail and it was a remarkable ride. Make your reservations with Treasure Coast Sailing Adventures! They encourage you to bring a bottle of wine and hors d’oeuvres to enjoy as you cruise the river!

Guide to Martin County

Day Two – Hobe Sound

Hobe Sound is considered an environmentally sensitive area and after doing the Riding the Waves tour I can see why! On this tour, you will see Osprey Nests, all types of Florida birds, and maybe even Bottlenose Dolphins as you are guided by a certified Florida Naturalist.

Guide to Martin County
Riding the Waves Plantation Beach Club Hilton Grand Vacations

We saw a whole family of Dolphins on this trip! You’re in control as you maneuver through the mangroves in your own personal power catamarans looking at the wildlife!

There was a lot of glare on my phone so be patient and watch to the end. You will see how close we get to the Dolphins!

On our way to Hobe Sound, we found a road lined with these awesome Banyan Trees! Taking the back roads is the way to go in Martin County. Banyan Trees are all over the place in Martin County, this was the largest group we found on our travels.

Day Three – Indiantown

Guide to Martin County
Indiantown, FL

This would not be a true Guide to Martin County if we didn’t include Indiantown. We headed west to the small village, it’s located about 15 miles west of Stuart and on the way you can take a drive through old Florida. Take County Road 714, the Martin Grade Scenic Highway, is true old Florida at it’s best! You will see cattle ranches and other farms along with wildlife.

Dupuis Management Area

Plantation Beach Club Hilton
DuPuis Management Area, Indiantown FL

We visited DuPuis Nature Center which is a 21,000 Acre site owned by the South Florida Water Management District. There is so much to do here from camping, fishing, hiking, bird watching, equestrian trails, to rustic camping. We were able to drive 7.5 miles to a lake to do some bird watching!

Plantation Beach Club
DuPuis Management Area Indiantown, Martin County, FL

Seminole Inn

While in Indiantown you will want to stop by the Historical Seminole Inn. The Inn has an interesting history, that includes English Royalty! The drive there will take you through old Florida. The Inn will take you back to a simpler time of the pioneer days of Florida.

Guide to Martin County
Seminole Inn

The Seminole Inn built in the 1920s by a banker named S. Davies Warfield, who put Indiantown on the map. Wallis Warfield, his niece often served as hostess at the Inn as well as presiding over the gala opening. Wallis later became the Duchess of Windsor, and she and the Duke later visited the Inn several times.

The Seminole Inn’s other claim to fame is there Fried Chicken Buffet that has won many awards! You will find a salad bar with all the fixings!

Day Four – Port Salerno

Port Salerno is one of my favorite towns in Marting County. Port Salerno is an eclectic historic fishing village with fantastic art galleries and waterfront dining featuring some of the best locally caught seafood! Stop by Manatee Park in the Village in the winter months to see the Manatees staying warm in the cove!

Plantation Beach Club
Port Salerno Manatee Park Martin County

Zeke’s Surf and Paddle

Paddle-boarding! Something I always want to do and never get around to it. The one time I tried it I was alone, in the ocean and could not seem to stay up with the choppy waves!

We meet with Rochelle and Zeke’s Surf and Paddle at the Sansprit Park to experience the waterways and mangroves of Port Salerno and Martin County! The group paddled for three hours through the calm waters in the canals of Port Salerno. We ended up in the mangroves where there were tales of Florida Crocodiles from some locals we passed on the docks. Unfortunately, we did not get to see any. Apparently, they are quite docile and totally afraid of humans!

Rochelle was amazing as she first taught us how to stay up, and second, guided us through the waterways and mangroves in this truly special excursion! Don’t worry! She takes the pics and brings the water!

Tricia Ryan Snow Plantation Beach Club
Paddle-boarding in the Mangrove’s with Zeke’s in Port Salerno, FL

Twisted Tuna

After you cruise by the Twisted Tuna on your paddle-board, make sure you drive over to get lunch because you will be hungry after 3 hours on the water, we went twice to Twisted Tuna on our trip and it was excellent every time! There are a bunch of great restaurants in the village that offer fresh fish and local farm to table options. You definitely do not want to miss Port Salerno!

Day Five – Hutchinson Island

The next two days we stayed on Hutchinson Island, which was nice to be close to our condo. Within a few short minutes, you can be in some of the coolest museums and attractions in Martin County! Our next three spots are just outside the entrance of Indian River Plantation and just a few minutes away from our how away from home at Plantation Beach Club!

Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center

Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center is fun for the whole family! It is a 57 Acre nature center located on the Indian River. There are educational programs are for all ages. We made it in the nick of time to see the feeding of the Stingrays!

You will experience nature trails, turtles, sharks and touch tanks that everyone can enjoy! Remember to call ahead for feeding times so you can really interact with the stingrays.

Jack is hand-feeding the stingrays at the Florida Oceanographic Institute.

Elliot Museum

The Elliot Museum is located right across the street from the Florida Oceanographic Institute! The museum’s mission is to inspire innovation and creativity through technology, history, and art. Given these points, my description and photos will never do this 46,000 square foot museum any justice. You must see it for yourself! And it will take a full day to see everything.

There is an impressive collection of antique modes of transportation like boats, bicycles, and automobiles. There is even a plane! On the second floor, there is also a room dedicated just to baseball and another to Frances Langford, a famous starlet from the 1930s and 40s!

Day Six – Hutchinson Island

House of Refuge Museum is located on a small strip of land in between the Atlantic ocean and the Indian River. This house was used to help people who made it to shore to survive in the wilderness of this barrier island.

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 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

As we entered the museum we met with a volunteer who sat us down in rocking chairs, and in the air-conditioning, to tell us the history of the property. She was a great storyteller and loved the museum! You will then be able to tour the museum and see many historical items from the House’s past.

It is a must-see and an integral part of the history if you are going to be visiting Martin County!

Mentionable Restaurants

Additionally, I want to share some of the amazing restaurants that we enjoyed along the way. Since we lucked out and every meal we had was excellent in every aspect, you should know about them as well!

Riverwalk Cafe and Oyster Bar

Riverwalk Cafe and Oyster Bar is an excellent choice if you are looking for fresh fish and a great wine list. To begin with, the fish was AMAZING! We started with the Tuna which was sitting on a PILE of avocado and I ordered the Black Grouper which by all means you should try. Not to mention the desserts were outstanding too! They had a chocolate bread pudding, in particular, that was out of this world, making this my favorite restaurant the entire trip!

Tuna App with Crusty French Bread
Black Grouper

Spritz City Bistro

Spritz City Bistro specifically is a top choice for brunch. I had been craving my new favorite dish, Avocado Toast with eggs, I found it on the menu and it was absolutely delightful! Especially the shaved Parmesan it added zing to the dish and I loved every bite! Locals say they have an amazing happy hour too, in fact, we’ll be sure to let you know next time we visit!

Avocado Toast with poached eggs.

Dolphin Bar and Shrimp House

Dolphin Bar and Shrimp House was top on my list. It was a beautiful drive, as we rode through a quaint neighborhood to get there, in fact, it reminded me of old Florida. As we walked through the door, the restaurant felt surprisingly familiar and after sitting down and ordering some cool drinks, it dawned on me that I had been there years ago.

It had once belonged to Frances Langford, a Hollywood film and radio star, that I mentioned above. Opening in 1961 and closing in the late 80s, the Outrigger, became a landmark on Florida’s Treasure Coast and still is today.

Surprisingly, I was immediately flooded with nostalgia as I reminisced about coming here with my grandfather, as a teenager, almost 40 years ago. As a matter of fact, he loved her and this restaurant! Additionally, the interior looks the same to me with old wood floors and walls giving it that old Florida look from the 1950’s!

Smoked Fish Dip

We had a great time sitting on the river enjoying the breeze, not to mention the food was excellent too! Learn all about The Outrigger and Frances Langford, at the Elliot Museum. There’s a whole room dedicated to her good works in detail, in the Martin County area and her career as a Hollywood starlet.

Baked Brie with Raspberry Sauce

Do As Little or As Much As You Want!

Since nothing was more than 20 minutes away, the Plantation Beach Club is conveniently located. With proper timing, you’ll be back to the beautiful beaches of Martin County and Plantation Beach Club!

Above all, stay flexible when planning your trip. We watched the weather and plan rainy days for museums and indoor activities. We also lucked out on this trip and did not see one drop of rain! If you go in the summer months, Florida can be a little soggy, especially in the afternoons.

Please Share Your Ultimate Guide to Stuart and Martin County, Florida!

Your Ultimate Guide to Stuart and Martin County, Florida!

Wrap Up

In essence, I hope you loved your Guide to Stuart and Martin County, Florida! All things considered, I know you will love Plantation Beach Club and everything Martin County has to offer! Also, be sure to share your experience in Martin County FL, we love hearing about your travels, and tips too!

Call and get this special offer on your stay at the Plantation Beach Club! Use the code SocialMD to get 10% off when you rent a condo at Plantation Beach Club. Please call 1-800-448-2736.

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62 responses to “Ultimate Guide to Stuart and Martin County, Florida!”

  1. Nomads RTW Avatar
    Nomads RTW

    Looks like there are plenty of things to do up there. We still need to visit US east coast 🙂

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      The east coast is amazing! I love it here!

  2. Karla Petersen Avatar
    Karla Petersen

    How beautiful! I would LOVE to follow in your footsteps here! Thanks.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Awesome, Karla! I know you will love it!

  3. judean Avatar

    We have a place in Florida north of Daytona Beach. I am not familiar with Stuart…sounds like a road trip is on the docket!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Stuart is a very unique area. You will not regret a trip there!

  4. Cindy Avatar

    Wow amazing review of the area! Love all your photos. It’s time for me to take another trip to Florida and check out Stuart and Martin County!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Awesome Cindy! I can’t wait to hear all about it!

  5. Maria Avatar

    Florida is on my list, hopefully within the next year or so. Thanks for the great review.

  6. Lisa Avatar

    The Market looks amazing!! I am a sucker for a good market.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      It had so many options! Thanks, Lisa!

  7. Candy K Avatar
    Candy K

    We’ve been to a lot of places in Florida but never here. It looks amazing and we will definitely check it out. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I had no idea there was so much to do there!

  8. Lisa Avatar

    Great ideas for our future travel destinations. We are always looking for new places to venture to.

  9. Matt Epley Avatar
    Matt Epley

    Awesome pics! And that food…now I’m hungry. LOL!

  10. Jen Avatar

    Wow! Lot of hidden gems I didn’t know existed on Florida. Stuart looks absolutely lovely – I will have to check it out! Thank you

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      It really is a hidden gem. We say the same about our town about 40 minutes north. Stuart is much larger so if you like that then it has a bigger town feel. Thanks Jen!

  11. Natalie Avatar

    I’ve never been to Florida! Loved that you had multiple days listed – I wouldn’t have to make an itinerary. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Robin Avatar

    What a wonderful place to spend a vacation! Thank you for all of this info, it will definitely be helpful to anyone going there!

  13. A Brilliant Love Avatar
    A Brilliant Love

    Great post. Looks amazing. Like someplace I’d like to live!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      It is a great town! They have a lot to offer!

  14. Julie Avatar

    Love this post. So packed with information on a wide range of activities and places to eat. Makes me want to book a trip. Hope this area is spared from hurricane Dorian.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I hope so too. I hope we are all spared from Dorian.

  15. kmf Avatar

    This is a fabulous and comprehensive guide…you had me a #1 happiest seaside town and top 10 beach towns. And the food looks amazing (well, everything does). Not sure I would be brave enough to paddle board through the mangroves, but you look awesome doing it!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Thank you! The mangroves were a treat!

  16. Leeanne Avatar

    This is a beautiful part of Florida. I also love open-air markets.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      It is a very cool area. I was pleasantly surprised!

  17. Hera Avatar

    That food scene looks delicious, an added bonus to a great beach. Give me some of that seafood and bri!

  18. Stacey Avatar

    This looks like a beautiful place to visit in Florida! The market looks fun, and my daughter would love the Ride the Waves tour. The food looks delicious. I should add a stop here on one of our Florida trips!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      You will love it! So much to do….

  19. Ola Avatar

    A very thorough guide! Thanks for taking all the work out of planning a visit there!

  20. Vessy Smith Avatar
    Vessy Smith

    Looks Totally fantastic! I would LOVE to do everything you did. I am definitely saving this post for future reference. Florida is so wonderful! 🙂

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Thanks, Vessy! We had a wonderful time!

  21. Keagan Avatar

    Wow looks like a great place to visit. Can’t wait to check it out.

  22. Trisha Avatar

    Wow! The food that you ate, and at the market, looks amazing! It left me hungry! Thank you so much for sharing your experience!

  23. Susan Avatar

    I have a friend who lives in Stuart, but I’ve never been! Looks like a great place to visit.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Call them for a visit! You will love it Susan!

  24. Lori Nielsen Avatar
    Lori Nielsen

    I had never heard of Stuart or Martin County before reading this post, and now I really want to go experience all that it has to offer! How do you pick just one thing?

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      You can’t! Enjoy it all!

  25. Pam Avatar

    I am 100% ready to replicate this trip! We are often looking for fun spring break Florida ideas and this appears perfect! I’m going to suggest it to the neighbors!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      It is such a nice town. Especially for families! Our grandchildren are now exploring down there!

  26. Kristi @ Way Beyond The Norm Avatar

    What a great guide! I think the market would be my favorite place to visit. But my kids would love the nature center. Something for everyone!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      There really is. Our grandkids went to the Oceanographic place and loved it.

  27. Lisa Manderino Avatar

    Wow, this is a great guide! I love the food at the market, right up my ally!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Thank you Lisa! The food was amazing!

  28. Nomads RTW Avatar

    This is such an appealing travel itinerary to Florida. Is one of those destinations I know I will end up going. It has a great balance of adventure and activities, great stuff.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Thank you so much! I hope you make it here! You will love it.

  29. Sara Kendall Avatar

    What a very detailed guide! Love it! Cooler days will be here soon, so Florida sounds nice!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      You will love it in the winter! Come on down!

  30. Shirley Avatar

    Your pics are fantastic! I love articles like this….so helpful for future travel ideas/planning. Thanks!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Awesome! Thanks, Shirley!

  31. Jenny Bhatia Avatar

    Florida is so beautiful. And those muffins, though…I bet they were delicious. Amazing, living in Florida all of these years and I have only driven through Stuart. Wow, I have missed a lot.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I know! I said to my husband, “Why aren’t we living here??” Vero Beach is our hometown, so we most likely will never leave, but it is definitely close enough to visit often.

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