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52 Things to Do Next Year

Sunset cruise on the St. Lucie River

Sailing during season, the historic Schooner Lily departs from the Riverwalk pier three times a day. The two-hour adventure includes music and laughter with newlywed Captain Fred Newhart and First Mate Jamie Miscoski. $35 for adults, $15 for children. Call 772.267.7076 to reserve your spot.

Call: 772.267.7076

Catch a wave

You’re never too old or too young to paddle out into the surf! Call Ohana Surf Shop at 772.287.0041 and schedule a private surf lesson for $80 (surfboard included) with one of their gnarly surfers, brah, and you’ll be up in no time.

Call: 772.287.0041

Feel the beat

A couple hours before the sun sets on Sundays, head over to Shepard Park in Stuart off West Ocean Boulevard to join in on the groovy beats of the weekly community drum circle. Borrow a drum, dance or try spinning a hula hoop as the sun sets!

Yoga on water

Let osprey and dolphin watch as you try a new combination of stand-up paddleboarding and Yoga on the Indian River Lagoon. It’s a workout that’s relaxing and fun. Focus or you’ll make a splash! $20 for a 1.5-hour class. Call TCPaddle at 772.232.6362 to reserve a board.

Call: 772.232.6362

The ride of your life

Explore the backwoods of Jonathan Dickinson State Park with the gentle trot of horseback. The guided one-hour tours cost $25 and are easy enough for all ages. Call 561.746.1466 for more information.

Call: 561.746.1466

Flea market finds

Have you been to the B&A? Find used books, crafts and more at the Treasure Coast’s largest flea market off U.S. 1 and Indian Street. Open on the weekends from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. with free parking and more than 500 vendors.

Enjoy the dog days

Join the Treasure Coast Retriever Club, which is dedicated to training and testing retrievers in canine sports, including hunting. During the 2015 season, the club will host several public events at the Dempsey Ranch.

A brew named after you

There are many new craft beer bars in Stuart. At Longneck Brew House on Indian Street and Willoughby Boulevard, you can brew your own. Grab your friends and bottle your own with a personalized label. Or, visit the Crafted Keg to sample its massive selection of crafted beers, wines, ciders and sodas from throughout the world. New beers are brought in daily.

Get your hands dirty

Local, organic vegetables are about as healthy as you can get. Stop by Shadowood Farm, a community-style garden on Martin Highway in Palm City, to pick up ingredients for dinner and learn how to grow your own. Email is the best way to reach them:

This ain’t our first rodeo

Where else can you see a bucking bronco? Held at Timer Powers Park in western Indiantown by the Chamber of Commerce, the annual rodeo highlights our area’s cowboy heritage in October. Tickets cost $15 for adults, $8 for children.

Learn local history

If you haven’t been to the new Elliott Museum on Hutchinson Island, 2015 is the year to do it. Learn local history and enjoy Martin County’s largest art gallery and car collection. Admission is $12 for adults, $6 for children. 772.225.1961

Call: 772.225.1961

Aviary Adventure

Tucked off Palm Beach Road is Possum Long Nature Center, the headquarters of the Audubon Society of Martin County. With five acres of preserved urban forest, this is a great sanctuary to see local birds and butterflies. 772.288.2637

Call: 772.288.2637

Be a kid again

Call your fun-loving friends and head over to 76 Golf World on Kanner Highway. Look for Friday night unlimited specials to play mini-golf, race go-karts and more. Loser buys ice cream! 772.220.7676

Call: 772.220.7676

Get artsy

Scheduled for March 27-29, ArtsFest is a celebration of the arts in Stuart. In Memorial Park and along East Ocean Boulevard, this weekend is a fundraiser for the Arts Council of Martin County with live entertainment and some of the best artists in the nation.

Yacht dreaming

With such beautiful local waters, boating is a must! Fuel your yacht dreams at the Stuart Boat Show, scheduled for Jan. 9-11. Admission is $10 for adults, free for kids to see hundreds of vessels on display.

Get dirty

The St. Lucie Mud Jam offers up 500 acres of camping and wild and muddy drag races. It’s a good thing the campgrounds have showers! Date to be announced – stay tuned to for more.

Watch fireworks

There’s not much that can beat the Star Spangled Stuart July 4th Celebration, with fireworks shooting over the St. Lucie River. Come early to Flagler Park to get a good vantage spot.

Celebrate the season

Get a jump on the 2015 season of song! Martin County High School’s OPUS choir will perform on Dec. 16, 2014 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15, and the event will be the first concert under the new choir director, Shane Thomas.

Antiquing in Fort Pierce

Spend a day cruising the antique stores in northern St. Lucie County to find some fun treasures. Start on Midway Road in White City, then head north on U.S. 1 to the Treasure Coast Antique Mall, Pineapple Patti’s and more. You never know what you’ll find.

Schedule a stay-cation

Be a tourist in your own town. Stay at a local hotel – like Inn Shepard’s Park Bed and Breakfast or the Old Colorado Inn in downtown Stuart for a weekend. It’s the best way to remember how charming our town truly is!

Watch a sea turtle nest

During the late summer, loggerhead, leatherback and green sea turtles come ashore to lay nests. This magical moment can only be seen legally with a state permitted turtle walk. Check with the Florida Oceanographic Society, the Environmental Studies Center and the Hobe Sound Nature Center for a schedule.

Chill at the sandbar

Grab a six-pack of beer and a sandwich and cruise over to the sandbar, a popular spot near the mouth of the St. Lucie Inlet to spend the day in the sun, see old friends and relax

Bike over the Veterans Memorial Bridge

It’s only a little over a half-mile in each direction to Palm City and back to Stuart, but that elevation can create a challenge for biking. Best to reward yourself with a cocktail at one of the fine restaurants on Indian Street near Willoughby Boulevard.

Progressive dinner by boat

Have a boat – or a friend with a boat? Plan a night on the water, traveling from one waterfront restaurant after another. Spoto’s, Sailor’s Return, Dolphin Bar, The Deck … the list goes on and on!

Get electric!

Yes, there’s a nuclear power plant on Hutchinson Island – so how does that create power to turn on our lights? Learn all about energy at FPL’s free Energy Encounter! Call 877.FPL.4FUN to schedule your visit.

Take a guitar lesson

Have you seen guitarist Jerry Tillman jamming on stage with the Nouveaux Honkies and Fresh Catch, along with other bands? Time to learn from the master. Schedule a lesson ($25/30 minutes) at Jerry’s Guitars N More at 772.215.7070.

Call: 772.215.7070

Go flying!

Jump out of a perfectly good airplane at Skydive Sebastian. A tandem sky dive (let’s face it, we need an expert along for the fun) with a video and photography is $295 and well worth it when you arrive on the ground alive and exhilarated! Reserve your parachute at skydiveseb.com.

March with your mutt

This fundraiser for the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast includes a walk in Memorial Park with your poochie, along with breakfast, races and games. It’s held at the beginning of November and costs $20 per person and dog. Learn more at hstc1.org.

Listen to local music

There’s nothing better than supporting local artists! So plan a night out to Terra Fermata on Sixth Street in Stuart or the Rockin’ Riverwalk to listen to a group of musicians who may someday make it big! Check the schedule at terrafermata.com.

Take a hike

Off Skyline Drive in Jensen Beach is Hawk’s Bluff, a one-mile loop in the Savannas Preserve State Park that brings you to the water and up into sandy dunes, where you can breathe in scenic views and fresh air.

Paint a masterpiece

We can’t all be Van Gogh, but we can have fun painting pottery. Stuart Ceramics Painting Studio on Martin Luther King Boulevard is a perfect place to bring friends and get creative. Call 772.287.7000 to book your party.

Call: 772.287.7000

Eat Ethnic

There are some delicious new restaurants opening in Stuart. Have you tried Indian, Thai, Japanese, Middle Eastern and Mexican? Try a new spot and order something you’ve never heard of!

Learn about the marine world

Spend the day at the Smithsonian Marine Station in Fort Pierce, where visitors can explore six Florida marine habitats, including a large aquarium model of a Caribbean coral reef. Get up close with living models of seagrass, mangrove, coral reefs and more, and greet some local marine creatures at the touch tank.

Befriend a manatee

Visit the waterfront, environmental education center in Fort Pierce, The Manatee Observation and Education Center. The facility overlooks the Indian River Lagoon and Moore’s Creek, often frequented by manatees. From your spot on the boardwalk or the second-story observation tower, you might just spot one of these gentle giants.

Buy a killer

Are you a choc-o-holic? Even if you are not, you’ll want to try TooJay’s Killer Chocolate Cake. There are four types of chocolate, and it’s rich and delicious. No wonder they sell 150,000 slices a year. Stop by on U.S. 1 just south of Monterey Road.

Pet a stingray

Stingrays are really soft. Not the barbs, mind you, but their little mouths that gobble up bits of shrimp you can feed them at the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center. You can learn about the stingrays (and even name one after a family member!) and the local ecosystem while you’re there. Admission is $12 for adults, $6 for children. Call 772.225.2300 for more information.

Call: 772.225.2300

Stroll along the water

Order an ice cream cone from Kilwin’s and stroll along Stuart’s Riverwalk pier overlooking the lights of the Roosevelt Bridge – it’s the perfect end to a date!

Drive under the trees

Three beautiful tree canopies make for special Sunday driving: One on St. Lucie Boulevard near Sandsprit Park, another on Bridge Road heading to Jupiter Island and one on Martin Highway heading west to Okeechobee.

Eat a gator

A meal at Harry & the Natives, on the corner of U.S. 1 and Bridge Road in Hobe Sound, is worth it for more than the fun décor and menu. Friendly faces and crazy menu items like a gator burger makes this spot a local favorite.

Learn about our community

To learn about the inner workings of Martin County, sign up for Martin County CARES (Citizen Academy & Resource Education Series). This free program meets weekly for six weeks and offers great opportunities for asking questions about local government. 772.220.7129

Call: 772.220.7129

Visit Lake Okeechobee

We hear a lot about the canals connecting local waterways to Lake Okeechobee, so you might as well see what the fuss is. Charter an airboat with four friends for $160 from Florida Airboat Charters. Call 863.697.1084.

Call: 863.697.1084

Sniff out something new

Have a dog? Let him get off his leash at the City of Stuart’s Poppleton Creek Dog Park on Central Parkway. Watch the members of the Stuart Model Sailfish Club race their mini vessels on Sunday afternoons there, too.

Enjoy the little things

The 100 bonsai trees in the James J. Smith gallery at the Heathcote Botanical Gardens is one of the largest such exhibits in the nation, and it’s right in our backyard, at 210 Savannah Road in Fort Pierce, heathcotebotanicalgardens.org.

View one of the largest cypress trees

Explore 400 acres of plant and wildlife species from the boardwalks at Barley Barber Swamp. The freshwater wetland has an array of ecological treasures, including one of the largest ancient, bald cypress trees in the United States.

Get swinging

Fore! You don’t need to be a member to play at some of the area’s great golf courses, including Eagle Marsh Golf Club, Martin County Golf & Country Club, The Florida Club and more.

Ride the wind

Know the difference between a jib and a tack? Learn the answer at the U.S. Sailing Center with adult sailing classes. A 12-hour course is $250 and provides skills that last a lifetime. Log on to usscmc.org for a registration form.

Stretch at the seventh inning

Take ’em out to a spring training baseball game at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie to watch the New York Mets. Tickets typically go on sale in January and go as fast as a box of Cracker Jack.

Fish on!

Stuart is the sailfish capital of the world, so get out on the ocean to hook a bite. The Lady Stuart is a 65-foot, deep-sea fishing boat that provides gear, license and crew for a five-hour trip. $40 for adults. Call 888.LADY.788 to reserve your charter.

Go to the ballet

Every year, the historic Lyric Theatre has a lineup of national talent on stage throughout the season. One favorite is the St. Lucie Ballet’s production of the “Nutcracker” in December. Buy tickets at lyrictheatre.com.

Photo shoot at the House of Refuge

One of the best places to snap a photo is on the Anastasia limestone rock outcroppings along the shoreline at The House of Refuge at Gilbert’s Bar. While you’re there, learn about how the house saved shipwrecked sailors bringing treasure back home. Museum admission is $8. houseofrefugefl.org.

Make a splash

Squeal down the four-story-high water slide or lounge about on the 1,000-foot-long lazy river of the Sailfish Splash Waterpark, at 931 SE Ruhnke St. off Willoughby Boulevard. It’s the perfect way to cool off during the muggy summer months. Buy a pass at sailfishsplash.com.

Spend a Sunday downtown

Come downtown early to browse crafts and goodies at the Stuart Green Market, in the City Hall parking lot, then stay all afternoon along the river to tap your toes to free live music at the Riverwalk stage from November through May. Check the schedule at historicdowntownstuart.com.