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.
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.