Orlando, St. Pete, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Martin County... The latter doesn’t quite roll off the tongue of most Canadians when planning a Florida holiday. Yet, this “hidden gem” in the southern part of the state has a wealth of opportunities and experiences to appeal to visitors of all ages and interests. Located north of West Palm and south of Port St. Lucie, Martin County is a sparkling jewel along Florida’s Treasure Coast, bordered by Lake Okeechobee to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. We checked in with Martin County Tourism’s Nerissa Okiye to get the lowdown on this high-flying destination:
WHY VISIT MARTIN COUNTY?
It’s a real Florida gem that celebrates its small towns and beautiful natural landscape from oceans to rivers to lakes, and everything in between – minus the crowds! Building restrictions have limited structures to four stories, preserving breathtaking views throughout the county, yielding Old Florida charm accented with Key West style. Stuart, the county seat, is the first town in Florida awarded the “Happiest Seaside Town in America” title.
WHO SHOULD GO?
Martin County is unique in the diversity of its offerings, and all within the county. There is something for everyone:
- NATURE LOVERS: Beautiful beaches, over 77 parks, preserves and refuges make the area an ideal destination for outdoor lovers. The St. Lucie Inlet is the most bio-diverse lagoon ecosystem in the Northern Hemisphere. FAMILIES: Kids can fish, surf and have unique educational adventures, while
- FAMILIES: Kids can fish, surf and have unique educational adventures, while mom and dad can watch the action or relax seaside in a place known for its beaches, shopping and culinary offerings. “Camp-cation” is a new alternative to travel and is a win-win for both children and adults.
- CULTURE VULTURES: Signature events include the Stuart Boat Show, Artsfest, Stuart Sailfish Regatta, Dancin’ in the Streets, Indiantown Rodeo, Stuart Air Show, Pineapple Festival and Taste of Jensen. There are also free weekly concerts along the river and unique performances at the historic Lyric theatre.
- SPECIAL INTERESTS: From fishing and sailing, rowing and equestrian to agritourism and farm-to-table.
MARTIN COUNTY SEEMS LIKE THE PERFECT UPSELL OPTION...
Located less than two hours from Orlando, we are the perfect location to disconnect and exhale after your clients have had their fill of theme parks. We are also less than two hours from Miami, so visitors can relax a little before hitting the big city. And we are less than three hours from Naples, for those who want to plan a longer east coast- west coast experience.
ARE THERE ANY MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT MARTIN COUNTY?
People may not understand the complexity and diversity of the tourism product we offer... (and) many people have not heard of our area and do not understand what a hidden gem we are.
NEED TO KNOW
- GETTING THERE: Encompassing the communities of Port Salerno, Stuart, Palm City, Jensen Beach, Indiantown, Jupiter Island, Hobe Sound and Hutchinson Island, Martin County is two hours or less driving time from international airports in Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Orlando.
- WHEN TO GO: The busiest months are January to March. Most Canadians visit during the winter, but the best savings can be found during summer and fall.
- ACCOMMODATION: Brand name hotels are readily available and there are lovely smaller properties including boutique hotels, B&Bs and self-catering units.
- WHAT’S NEW: Opening this summer, the 184-room Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa
will allow travellers to escape the hectic rush of modern life and settle into the laid-back coastal cool. The resort will feature two oceanfront restaurants, two swimming pools, and a signature spa.
Agent resources: www.discovermartin.com; @DiscoverMartin