Budget Friendly Vacation Ideas in Martin County this Summer

Martin County is known for it’s charming downtown districts, uncrowded beaches, and over 100,000 acres of parks and conservation lands. But a getaway to our little slice of paradise doesn’t need to break the bank! There are plenty of budget-friendly activities and attractions in Martin County to help you enjoy a cost-effective vacation. Whether you’re planning a family getaway, a romantic retreat, or a wellness-focused weekend, we’ve got you covered.

Note: admission prices are accurate at the time of publishing (June 2024) but are subject to change. Please contact respective attractions to confirm the most up-to-date costs. 

Enjoy Our Free Beaches

Martin County is home to more than 22 miles of uncrowded beaches – thanks to our county-wide, four-story building height restriction, which help preserve our sweeping views and small-town charm. Martin County offers four lifeguard-protected beaches and plenty of other secluded stretches of sand. Our public beaches are open 24/7 and all offer free and entry. There are even free rolling beach wheelchair rentals for visitors with mobility needs at our lifeguard-protected beaches. Stuart Beach is a fan favorite and offers a variety of amenities including covered picnic areas, beach volleyball courts, basketball courts, showers, restrooms, murals painted by local artists, and more. It was also just voted the #6 “Best Beach in Florida” in the 2024 USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards.

Join a Free Guided Eco-Tour with Explore Natural Martin

Visitors can now take advantage of Explore Natural Martin! Our award-winning ecotourism program, developed in partnership with Leave No Trace, offers free guided eco-tours led by our team and other community experts. These experiences get people off the beaten path and curious about what makes Martin County so special from an ecological perspective. With expert local guides, these programs also teach participants how to be more responsible when exploring the outdoors, both within Martin County and beyond. Our eco-tours change with the seasons to remain consistently relevant. For example, this summer is very focused on early morning adventures and sea turtle programming, since nesting season along our beaches is at its peak. Additional programs include interpretive hikes, birding excursions, guided kayak tours, and more! Visit ExploreNaturalMartin.com to learn more and register

Explore the Wonders of Jonathan Dickinson State Park

After spending months cooped up indoors, immerse yourself in nature by checking out some of Martin County’s wild parks – after all, our region is home to more than 100,000 acres of sprawling parks and conservation lands. Take a leisurely nature hike through Halpatiokee Regional Park or take advantage of its 7.5 miles of biking trails. The park is also ideal for animal enthusiasts who are seeking some wildlife interaction. It also features stunning artwork and murals as part of Martin County’s Art in Public Places program. Jonathan Dickinson State Park is also a perennial favorite and happens to be the largest park in South Florida! Hike up and down the scenic trails while taking in all 16 of the park’s natural habitats including sand pine, scrub pine, flatwoods, mangroves, and river swamps. Trapper Nelson’s is another must-see attraction located within the park. The former home of the “Wildman of the Loxahatchee,” Park Rangers offer year-round guided tours of the preserved property which dates back to the 1930s. The entry fee for this incredible state park is just $6 per vehicle, making it an affordable option for the whole family.

a sunrise photo at Jonathan Dickinson State Park Forest Sunset feature trees and other foliage

Step Back in Time at the Stuart Heritage Museum

Nestled in charming downtown Stuart, the Stuart Heritage Museum is located in the Stuart Feed Supply, the oldest commercial building in Martin County. Their mission is to help preserve the heritage, artifacts, and history of Stuart and the surrounding communities. The countless relics housed by the museum define the history of the people, businesses, agriculture, and community spirit of the City of Stuart and Martin County. Open 7 days per week, admission is always free, but donations are appreciated.

Beat the Heat at Sailfish Splash Waterpark

Looking for a way to escape the heat that’ll keep the youngsters entertained for hours on end? Then head on over to Martin County’s very own Sailfish Splash Waterpark! Let the kids float around the 1000-foot Lazy River; splash safely in the7,326-square foot water playground; or get their hearts racing as they shoot down the 253-foot closed flume Speed Slide! But have no fear, parents – adults can dodge the waves by snagging a private cabana or one of the many social-distanced lounge chairs while keeping an eye out on the kiddos. There’s even an on-site snack bar full of treats that the whole family will love. The waterpark is free for infants (under 12 months), $18.95 for ages 13-54, and $16.95 for ages 1-12 and 56+.


sailfish splash park attractions martin county

Check Out the Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast

Tired of entertaining the kids yourself? No problem! The Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast offers a variety of spaced-out attractions and events for the kiddos! From being a Publix manager, mechanic, firefighter, veterinarian, or doctor for the day – the kids can do it all! The new fishing exhibit is especially popular with grown-ups and little ones alike. Not only can your children spend the afternoon learning and exploring the museum, but they can also participate in the museum’s ever-changing calendar of events. The museum also hosts special Sensory Friendly Days for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. During these days, the museum limits the amount of guests and modifies their lights, sounds, and other aspects to create a safe and inclusive environment. Needless to say, it’s one of the most popular spots for curious little ones (and big kids, too)! The museum is free for children under 12 months, $15 for children (ages 1-17), and $10 for adults. Military personnel, veterans, first responders, and teachers get free admission with a valid ID every Thursday.

Discover “Old Florida” in its Natural Form

Blowing Rocks Preserve is one of the most beautiful and fascinating stretches of barrier island in Martin County (and all of Florida for that matter), located on Jupiter Island, just south of Hobe Sound. Named for its rocky Anastasia limestone shoreline (the largest on the U.S. Atlantic coast) this magnificently restored sanctuary offers a rare window into Florida’s natural history. During high tide, waves crash through the rock formations, blowing 50 feet up into the air (hence its name). Visitors can get a glimpse of one of our state’s rarest surviving landscapes – an intact Florida dune habitat with beach sunflower, bay cedar, sea grape, and sea oats. Three hiking trails and boardwalks, each up to 1/3 mile long, feature interpretative signs all along the paths. Swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving are allowed from the beach during listed hours. The free Hawley Education Center provides tourists an opportunity to learn about efforts to protect native habitats, plants, and animals in Florida and around the world.

Woman standing near ocean


Rock Out at Rock’n Riverwalk

If you’re visiting over the weekend, don’t miss Rock’n Riverwalk, a free, open-air concert on the Riverwalk Stage in historic downtown Stuart every Sunday from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. The Rockin’ Riverwalk Music Series takes place in a beautiful outdoor setting along the St. Lucie River. Fans can come to listen to great live performances by car and boat and enjoy the show from either the decked amphitheater or from the river in their boat. The Riverwalk Stage is located along the St. Lucie River boardwalk at the end of St. Lucie Ave. Enjoy live music spanning every genre, an eclectic array of vendors, and the beautiful waterfront views. For easy parking, ride the free shuttle!

Visit the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center

Florida Oceanographic Society is a non-profit organization founded in 1964 with the mission to inspire environmental stewardship of Florida’s coastal ecosystems through education, research and advocacy. The Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center is a 57-acre marine life nature center located on Hutchinson Island in Stuart, situated between the Indian River and the Atlantic Ocean. As a leading state and nationally recognized environmental organization, Florida Oceanographic offers educational programs to people of all ages and conducts research and restoration programs that lead to healthy coastal ecosystems. Pet live stingrays, hold hermit crabs, meet the rescued sea turtles, hit the nature trails, or explore the state of the art Ocean EcoCenter (which serves as an incredible eco-museum). Admission is just $18 for adults, $9 for children ages 3-12, free for children 2 and under, and $16 for active and retired military.

Ocean Eco Center at Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center

Stop by the Hobe Sound Nature Center

The private, non-profit Hobe Sound Nature Center is an organization dedicated to environmental awareness and education. The Center is a cooperating association with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and located at the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge, in southern Martin County. Throughout the year, the center offers family-friendly free programs including Night Explorers, Beach Dynamics and weekly naturalist hikes along the trails. A popular summertime program is nighttime interpretive “sea turtle walks,” held from late May to July. These walks begin with a presentation in the Center’s classroom and end with a visit to the Hobe Sound Public Beach to witness the egg-laying of the threatened loggerhead sea turtle. Field trips, arts and crafts, interpretive programs, hands-on experiences, and other activities enable the visitors to learn more about Florida’s wildlife and what they can do to protect it. Admission to the Hobe Sound Nature Center is free for visitors.

Explore the Elliott Museum

The Elliott Museum, tucked away on beautiful Hutchinson Island, is essentially a mecca for all the things America loves most. After all, what’s more American than vintage cars and baseball? The unique museum’s mission is to inspire creativity through exhibitions and programs about art, history, and technology for the people who live in and visit the Treasure Coast of Florida. Named after prolific American inventor Sterling Elliott, The Elliott Museum hosts a dynamic and interactive collection of antique muscle cars, vintage boats, rare planes, and other unique vehicles. Some are on display on the showroom of the sprawling museum, but many are kept in a massive temperature-controlled, on-site garage which operates like a vending machine! Visitors can peruse the “menu” and after making a selection, the mechanical system will retrieve the vehicle and deliver it to the display area for onlookers to appreciate. But the Elliott Museum isn’t just for car fanatics – it also houses one of most comprehensive signed collection of baseball-related memorabilia outside of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. This Treasure Coast gem also includes a deep trove of local history and stories sure to delight all ages. Don’t miss their newest exhibit, Surfing Florida: A Photographic History. And afterwards, hope aboard the Refuge Runner and a catch a ride to another fascinating attraction, the House of Refuge!

vintage cars and rare automobiles on display inside the Elliott Museum

Paddle Over to the St. Lucie Inlet Preserve State Park

They say the ocean is the best medicine. Thrill-seekers looking to reconnect with the outdoors should consider venturing over to the St. Lucie Inlet Preserve State Park, located just off the coast of Port Salerno. The secluded barrier island is only accessible by boat or paddleboard, but it’s well worth the trip. Rent your gear from local outfitters and spend an exciting afternoon exploring the island’s mangrove forests and live oak hammocks. The winding boardwalk leads intrepid navigators to a neatly preserved Atlantic beach, which serves as an important nesting area for sea turtles each summer. Entry to this secluded state park is just $3 per boat.


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This article: Budget Friendly Vacation Ideas in Martin County this Summer has been curated from our friends at Discover Martin County Florida and the original in it's entirety can be found here: https://discovermartin.com/budget-friendly-vacation-ideas-in-martin-county-this-summer/