Jensen Beach marks the northern point of your Martin County beach trek. Enjoy breakfast from the concession area; then prepare to play. Lifeguards and volleyball nets stand by, and you’re as likely to see beach-goers flying kites as you are to see them kite-surfing. Locals love traditional surfing, fishing and paddle-boarding, and area outfitters can equip you to blend in.
Surrounding its full-service beaches, Martin County beach accesses emphasize natural over manmade amenities. Purists gladly trade ample parking and dawn-to-dusk lifeguards for quiet communes with wildlife along these artfully-cragged shores. Near Jensen Beach, find your slice of solitude at nooks like Bob Graham, Beachwalk Pasley or Bryn Mawr.
South at this something-for-everyone beach, you’ll find concessions, picnic pavilions, lifeguards, fishing access and surfing (locals frequent a sweet spot near Hutchinson Island Marriott). There are even basketball courts and the Elliott Museum, with baseball memorabilia, vintage cars and local history on display. About two miles down the beach stands the country’s last remaining house of refuge, the Gilbert’s Bar, House of Refuge (circa 1876). See it today as a museum, or dive/snorkel the Georges Valentine wreck 100 yards off-shore, tended to in 1904 by the refuge’s keeper and town volunteers.
Fletcher and Chastain beach accesses are favorites close-by. Drop in with anglers and surfers, as well as leashed pets and their owners.
There’s nothing like hobnobbing with the locals in these low-key towns. Balance your beach time at any of these community festivals: