Martin County is home to the most bio-diverse lagoon ecosystem in the Northern Hemisphere. Situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon, The St. Lucie Inlet is also the most bio-diverse estuary in North America.
This unique ecosystem provides a habitat for over 4,300 species of plants and animals, including more than 30 threatened and endangered species like manatees, Florida scrub jay, wood storks, sandhill cranes, and peregrine falcons.
Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center
There’s something extraordinary about touching a stingray, seeing a sea turtle up close, and witnessing a feeding frenzy in a 750,000-gallon game fish lagoon. You’ll find all this and then some on a visit to the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center. The facility features boasts learning with aquariums, nature trails, a butterfly garden, a children’s pavilion, a visitor center, a gift shop and more.
Open daily: Mon-Sat 10am to 5pm; Sun noon to 4pm, Admission: $12.00 for Adults, $6.00 for Children between 3-12 years.
890 NE Ocean Boulevard Stuart, FL34996 772-225-0505 Visit Website
Hobe Sound Nature Center
Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge is a 1000-acre coastal refuge bisected by the Indian River Lagoon. Nature trails allow for hikes on estuaries, barrier islands, and the sand pine scrub. The sea turtle walk program is a summer favorite, and is held on warm nights from the end of May through mid July. Reservations are required.
13640 SE Federal Highway Hobe Sound, FL33455 772-546-2067 Visit Website
The Environmental Studies Center
At the Environmental Studies Center, students can explore the St. Lucie Estuary, Indian River Lagoon, Hutchinson Island beaches, mangrove swamps, and freshwater ponds and wetlands. The Center is home to a wide variety of marine life and other species, like a loggerhead sea turtle, gopher tortoises, a juvenile American alligator, freshwater turtles, saltwater aquariums, and a touch tank containing various marine organisms from the Indian River Lagoon. The center is open to the public during school hours, and tours are available.
2900 NE Indian River Drive Jensen Beach, FL 772-219-1887 Visit Website
Jonathan Dickinson State Park
Located just south of Stuart, this park teems with wildlife in 13 natural communities including sand pine, scrub pine, flatwoods, mangroves and river swamps. The Loxahatchee River—Florida’s first federally designated Wild and Scenic River—runs through the park. Ranger-guided tours of 1930s pioneer Trapper Nelson’s homestead are available year-round. You can also enjoy hiking, biking, boating, camping and freshwater fishing.
16450 SE Federal Highway Hobe Sound, FL 772-546-2771 Visit Website
Blowing Rocks Preserve
This magnificently restored sanctuary offers a rare window into Florida’s natural history, and is named for its rocky Anastasia limestone shoreline—the largest on the U.S. Atlantic coast. A preservationist’s paradise, the restored preserve reflects what South Florida barrier islands looked like a century ago. At Blowing Rocks, visitors can glimpse one of the state’s rarest surviving landscapes: an intact Florida dune habitat with beach sunflower, bay cedar, sea grape, and sea oats.
574 S Beach Road Hobe Sound, FL 561-744-6668
If you’re interested in Eco-Adventures, you should check out our Beach recommendations. Locals and tourists agree: Martin County’s quaint shorelines are the perfect place to disconnect. With miles and miles of peaceful beaches, beautiful water, and natural sand dunes, there’s no better time to turn off your cell phone and soak up the incredible ambiance of Old Florida.