Martin County

Martin County

Why Martin County, Florida Is the Perfect Fall Getaway By Lane Nieset
Picture nearly 22 miles of sandy Atlantic shores, fishing villages where you can have award-winning seafood, and dozens of courses designed by golf legends. No, we’re not talking about Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale. Head an hour north and you’ll come across another East Coast beauty, Martin County. It’s home to seven great little beach towns — Port Salerno, Stuart, Palm City, Jensen Beach, Indiantown, Jupiter Island, Hobe Sounds, and Hutchinson Island — as well as 77 parks and the most bio-diverse lagoon ecosystem in the Northern hemisphere. You’ll find old-Florida charm and beaches on par with those of its more famous southern neighbors, minus the crowds of tourists. And don’t worry about any damage from the last wave of hurricanes. Martin County was fortunately not impacted by Hurricane Irma. From budget-friendly family activities to the opening of new resorts like Hutchinson Shores, here are nine reasons why this untapped Florida destination should top your fall travel bucket list.

1. Miles of Secluded Sandy Beaches

Need we say more? From Hobe Sound to Jensen Beach, you’ll stumble across deserted stretches of sand and waves so perfect you’ll want to grab a board and jump in the water. Hutchinson Island is a watersports haven where you can try your hand at everything from snorkeling to surfing and kayaking. Blowing Rocks Preserve in Hobe Sound, meanwhile, is one of the state’s best-kept secrets. Not only is the rocky limestone shoreline the largest on the Atlantic, it’s also a prime place for snorkeling since you can spot a variety of fish hiding in the limestone crevices.

2. Warm Weather Year-Round

With over 230 days of sunshine and an average temperature of 77 degrees, Martin County makes for a great year-round beach escape. There is a reason Florida is called “The Sunshine State,” after all. Here’s a little secret though: fall is one of the best times to visit this part of the state. Come October, temperatures drop slightly, making it all the more pleasant to stroll the county’s shopping streets and markets, like Stuart’s Sunday Green Market along the St. Lucie waterfront.

3. Hotels for All Budgets (and Styles)

From waterfront inns to campgrounds and condos, Martin County offers a wide range of lodging to suit any traveler’s budget. The best part? No building stands taller than four stories, so you don’t have to worry about a concrete jungle blocking your view of the water. For an “old Florida” feel, book one of the 11 rooms at the family-owned Driftwood Motel on the Indian River in Jensen Beach, which dates back to the 1950s. After something more modern? In October, Jensen Beach will welcome a hotel for the first time in two decades. The 178-room oceanfront Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa will be the ultimate island-style resort, with three restaurants and bars, a spa, and two heated pools (just in case temperatures dip down to the 60s one day). Or, head to the Old Colorado Inn, a boutique hotel with charm to burn in the heart of downtown Stuart, which was named one of Coastal Living Magazine’s Happiest Seaside Towns.

4. Endless Shopping Opportunities

Whether you’re more interested in upscale shops or one-of-a-kind boutiques, Martin County is sure to have just what you’re looking for. At Treasure Coast Square mall in Jensen Beach, you’ll find over 100 shops, from department stores like Macy’s to designer favorites like Kate Spade. For unique finds, historic downtown Stuart is your place, with tree-lined, pedestrian-friendly streets that are home to locally owned boutiques selling everything from sand art to shipwreck coin jewelry.

5. Laid-Back Lifestyle

In Martin County, you can enjoy a laid-back vibe without spring break-sized crowds. Head to downtown Jensen Beach on Thursdays for Jammin’ Jensen, a free block party with live music and an artisan market. The tiny fishing village of Port Salerno is another spot where you can sit and watch the world go by, preferably from one of the waterfront restaurants like The Twisted Tuna or the Tiki Bar at Pirates Cove Resort and Marina.

6. Family Friendly Activities

Sure, the kids can easily be entertained building sandcastles all day, but why just stare at the water when you could be diving into it? At Jensen Beach, get a scuba diving intro with Kirk’s Dive & Surf or learn how to master the sails with a sailing lesson at the US Sailing Center of Martin County in Indian Riverside Park. This spot is perfect for a full day out with the family since it’s lined with walking paths and play fountains. There’s even a Children’s Museum with hands-on interactive exhibits.

7. Farm-to-Trail Cuisine

In the heart of Florida’s cattle and citrus country, it’s not hard to bring the outdoors in. Once a Seminole trading post, Indiantown is now known for its farm-to-trail cuisine, with small family farms like Kai-Kai supplying local eateries like The District Bar and Restaurant and Ian's Tropical Grill. Take a free tour of the farm or hit the nearby trails on horseback. 

8. Fun Fall Festivals

The rodeo is a fall highlight, but you’ll also find other festivals taking place across the county. Our top pick: the Jensen Pineapple Festival on November 17. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the Pineapple Festival is one of the few street festivals in South Florida. Expect local bands, stunt shows, street performers, and a Bahamian Market. Jensen Beach’s sister city Eleuthera, Bahamas brings its island spirit to town each year with authentic music, crafts, and a Junkanoo parade. In Stuart, the 28th annual Stuart Air Show — the largest in south Florida — takes place November 4 and 5 with fireworks, carnival rides, WWII battle reenactments, and VIP parties with pilots. Tickets are $15 pre-sale for adults and $5 for children and veterans.

9. It’s Easy (and Affordable) to Reach

You don’t have to worry about hotels in Martin County hiking up their prices in the fall. In fact, Jensen Beach has been rated one of the top five most affordable beach destinations in the state, thanks to its mix of lodging options and free outdoor activities, from street fairs to state parks. Pair this with a quick drive from major airports in Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Orlando and you have the right recipe for a convenient and easy weekend getaway this fall.

Tell Us Your Preferences

To help us understand your travel preferences, please select from the following categories

Check all that apply
Oops, something went wrong.
No Thanks