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6-Day Itinerary: Must-See Florida Beach Towns

One travel writer shares why Martin County has some of the best Florida beach vacations

The Vacationeer
Bird walking along a Florida Atlantic coastline at sunset.

While 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 for ideas. They made sure our visit hit every area of Martin County.

Here's a six-day itinerary. 

Make Your Next Florida Beach Vacation One of the Best

Martin County consists of Stuart and several other small beach towns and villages which border the south Atlantic coast of Florida. In addition to Stuart, we also checked out Hobe Sound, Indiantown, Port Salerno and Hutchinson Island.  

Day One, Stuart

Stuart was named the number one happiest seaside town by Coastal Living Magazine, and it's easy to see why. Stuart locals are a friendly crowd and are sure to put a bright spot in your day.

As you make your way through downtown Stuart, you'll find a free trolley. Drivers will not only transport you but are also well versed in the region's history. 

As the largest municipality in Martin County, Stuart doesn't lack things to do. 

We started downtown with the Stuart Green Market. The food is amazing. There were artisan French cheeses, homemade baked goods of every kind, and fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Enjoy the Sunday Rockin' RiverWalk Music Series, where you can listen to jazz bands while overlooking the St. Lucie River for a truly relaxing day. 

Brush up on the area's rich history at the local Stuart Heritage Museum. Fun fact: You'll find this museum in the oldest commercial building in Martin county.

Day Two, Hobe Sound

Hobe Sound is considered an environmentally sensitive area. Plan to spend time at the Hobe Sound Nature Center to learn why. This non-profit educates visitors of all ages about Florida's ecosystem and offers tours and programs to promote environmental awareness. 

On our way to Hobe Sound, we found incredible Banyan trees. This tree species is everywhere in Martin County. However, this area had the most significant group we found on our travels. 

Day Three, Indiantown

No guide to Martin County would be complete without a visit to Indiantown. We headed to this small village, which is about 15 miles west of Stuart, and on the way, we enjoyed the drive through old Florida. 

We took County Road 714, also known as the Martin Grade Scenic Highway, and what we discovered was authentic old Florida. 

Next on our list was DuPuis Nature Center, a 21,000-acre site owned by the South Florida Water Management District. With so much to do, there's something for everyone. Immerse yourself in nature, enjoying camping, fishing, hiking, bird watching or riding along equestrian trails. 

We opted for a scenic seven-mile drive and then some bird watching around a lake. 

Day Four, Port Salerno

Port Salerno is an eclectic historic fishing village with fantastic art galleries and waterfront dining featuring locally caught seafood. Stop by Manatee Park in the village during the winter to see manatees up close while they warm up in the cove. 

Paddle boarding is something I always wanted to do but never got around to actually doing. Vacation is the ideal time to try new things. So, we met with Rochelle from Zeke's Surf and Paddle at the Sansprit Park to explore Port Salerno and Martin County's waterways and mangroves. 

First, she taught us how to stand and stay up. Then we enjoyed a guided adventure through the waterways and mangroves in this extraordinary excursion. She even takes the pictures and brings water, so all you have to worry about is enjoying yourself.  

Days Five and Six, Hutchinson Island

We spent the next two days on Hutchinson Island. Ideally located, this Atlantic Ocean barrier island is just minutes from some of the coolest museums and attractions in Martin County. 

Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center is a 57-acre nature center on the Indian River and offers educational programs for all ages. We made it just in time to see the stingrays feeding. Other activities include nature trails, turtles, sharks and touch tanks that your whole crew will enjoy. 

Travel across the street to check out The Elliot Museum. This museum's mission is to inspire innovation and creativity through technology, history and art — a must-see for history buffs who love planes, trains and automobiles. 

Among the noteworthy exhibits is an impressive collection of antique modes of transportation like boats, bicycles and automobiles. On the second floor, there is a baseball and a Frances Langford exhibit. 

House of Refuge Museum is located in Martin County's oldest building and is directly on the ocean, with the Indian River just a few steps behind. As history has it, people who made it ashore this barrier island used this house as a haven before braving the wilderness, ultimately helping them survive. This museum offers visitors a peek into the region's history and is a can't-miss. 

Where to Stay to Explore Florida's Atlantic Coast  

Located on Hutchinson Island, Plantation Beach Club is in the heart of Stuart, Florida, and part of the Indian River Plantation Resort. As the county seat, Stuart is an ideal location to stay while vacationing in the area.  

Huffington Post even recognized Stuart as one of the "Top 10 Beach Towns in Florida."

Many of the activities in the area are within minutes of Plantation Beach Club. The proximity pleased us because as much as we loved exploring — every afternoon, we were itching to get back to our spot on the sandy shores of Hutchinson Island. 

Do As Little or As Much As You Want

Add Martin County to your Florida beach town shortlist list. Whether you're looking to dig your toes in the sand or explore an area storied in history, Martin County is just the spot. 

Read Captiva, Sanibel and Marco Islands: 40 Miles and Worlds Apart for more Florida beach town vacation ideas. 

Tricia S. is the author of Born To Be Boomers.

Vacationeer

The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

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