The Florida Manatee

During South Florida’s mild winter months a grayish brown lump with thick wrinkled algae-stained skin gets a ton of attention. The Florida manatees return from their summer homes along the rivers of the Carolinas, Louisiana, and sometimes even from as far north as Massachusetts. Some with calf in tow, others on their own, gather in shallow warm waters to graze on seagrass.

manateeIt’s estimated that about 6,000 manatees live in the shallow rivers, bays, estuaries and coastal waters in the U.S.—and they all come to Florida for the winter. They are gentle beasts, slow-moving, and often playful. When stressed or excited, they squeak at one another. But usually, they simply eat and rest.

Places to see manatees in and around Martin County include the Manatee Lagoon. Owned by Florida Power & Light, the wild manatees gather, sometimes by the hundreds, near the warm-water outflows of FPL’s Riviera Beach Next Generation Clean Energy Center.

Manatees can be spotted along the Treasure Coast in most of Martin County’s inland waterways, near docs, waterside restaurants, bridges, and rivers during the winter. A short drive to north to Ft. Pierce is a great way to learn about these fascinating winter visitors. The Manatee Observation and Education Center in Fort Pierce is a waterfront environmental education and wildlife viewing center. Closer to Floridays, the Hobe Sound Nature Center leads walks along the intracoastal waterway to look for manatees gathering between the Center and Jupiter Island, and Jonathan Dickinson State Park (JDSP) [https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Jonathan-Dickinson ] offers canoes, kayaks, and guided tours in comfortable, dry pontoon boats—all great ways to spot manatees in their natural environment.manatee

Beyond the Treasure Coast, in central Florida, the manatees gather in shallow clear waters in Crystal River. Thousands visit Crystal River in January to celebrate the manatees’s return. By now, the crowds have thinned and vendors shuttered and gone…the perfect time to rent a kayak or go on a snorkel tour at the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. Whether you do it up fancy at the Plantation at Crystal River, or go local at JDSP, the manatees are waiting.

Martin County Fun

Hobe Sound Xmas ParadeIt’s that time of year when our hearts and minds turn to the high holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and what we call around these parts, “High Season”! If your RV lifestyle is happening now at Floridays or anywhere in Martin County, or if your’e “on the road” planning to pass through Martin County, we thought you’d like to make a note of a few upcoming events in Hobe Sound and nearby.

November 22—Thanksgiving Eve Toga Party

Dance off a couple of pounds so you can put it all back on the next day with the Toga Party at Notes Music Room and Wine Bar, 872 Colorado Ave, Stuart, at 6:30 p.m. Toss on a colorful tablecloth or sheet and toga up to discounted wine and beer specials, Sake-tinis, and $2 iced coffees. Live music with all the popular songs. Learn more »

November 24—Downtown Stuart Tree Lighting Festival

Music, performances, and a host of family-friendly activ­i­ties like a “liv­ing manger” pet­ting zoo, and cook­ies and milk on the patio at Duffy’s Sports Grill. Begins at 4:00 PM. Then just after sun­set the lights go on on the offi­cial Down­town Stu­art Hol­i­day Tree. About Stuart »

Ongoing through December 31—Rock’n Riverwalk

A free open-air concert on the Riverwalk State every Sunday from 1:00 – 4:00 PM with music, vendors, and just walking around taking in the sights and sounds of the waterfront. Schedule »

November 30 to Sunday, December 3—Singing Christmas Tree

Free event at Hobe Sound Bible College at 11925 Gomez Ave, Hobe Sound, features 75 singers in a beautiful Christmas tree of 50,000 colored lights, a 25-piece orchestra, children’s choir and a drama cast of 50. See flying angels, kind and shepherds, holy family, and a spectacular message of the season. Learn more »

December 2—Santa Paws Holiday Pooch Plunge

The Humane Society’s annual dog-friendly celebration at Sailfish Splash Waterpark at 931 SE Ruhnke Street, Stuart. A fun day whether you own a pooch or not. Admission information »

December 2—Annual Hobe Sound Christmas Parade

Grab your lawn chair and line the street on Old Dixie Highway or Bridge Road to watch over 80+ entries and thousand of adults and kids strut their stuff with cars, floats, trucks, marchers, bands and surprises. This genuine old-fashioned Christmas parade and Art and Crafts Stroll along Dixie is a great opportunity to get in the holiday mood and do a little early Christmas shopping.

Hobe Sound—Shh! Don’t Tell Anyone!

Hobe Sound MapThose of us who work and live in Hobe Sound like things just the way they were yesterday. Somehow, this sleepy town has been able to restrain growth, keeping this small piece of Martin County nostalgic of Old Florida.

The folks at Discover Martin have recently released a new video with a focus on Hobe Sound.

Unique in so many ways, Hobe Sound sits in the most environmentally sensitive area of southeastern Martin County. Here you can discover an understated elegance. With its collection of antique shops, funky eateries, art galleries, and nature parks, Hobe Sound embodies the definition of small beach town charm.

It’s a long video—over 20 minutes—so pour a cool one, lean back, and take a chair side tour of the place Floridays calls home.

Watch the video »

Sea Turtle Walks

Hobe Sound has a special place where anyone can join a trip to the beach, after dark, to experience the wonder of life through the eyes of the female Loggerhead Sea Turtle.

loggerhead turtleThe Loggerhead Sea Turtle is the largest sea turtle in the world. Adults can weigh between 200 and 350 pounds and reach 3 feet in length. Ninety percent of Loggerheads nest in five counties on the eastern seaboard of Florida and their nesting activity is highly monitored.

Female Loggerheads return to land to lay their eggs at night between February and September each year. She lugs her heavy body onto the beach and makes her way to a spot to nest. First she digs a pit, using her powerful flippers to move the sand aside, then deposits up to 120 eggs. Once finished, sand flies as she covers the eggs before returning to the ocean.

From May through July 21st, the Hobe Sound Nature Center at 13640 SE Federal Highway offers specially permitted walks by the US Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission and US Fish and Wildlife Service so kids and adults can learn about these endangered reptiles and experience a female Loggerhead lay her eggs in the sand. The center is a mere 5 minute drive south of Floridays RV Park.

Walks begin with a short educational talk, then everyone drives themselves to a nearby designated public beach where spotters guide the group to an area with an active female Loggerhead. The Turtle Walks are immensely popular in the summer months, and they are always fully booked. But cancellations do happen and there’s a waitlist you can join by calling (772) 546-2067 or by making a reservation online. There’s a donation of $5 per person requested and highly appreciated.

If you go on one of the Turtle Walks, share your adventure with others by posting your photos on our Facebook page.

What’s Up in Hobe Sound

We’re a bit biased, but our new bathroom and laundry facilities at Floridays aren’t the only good news for Hobe Sound RVers this winter of 2017.

For Foodies & Furries

Feb 3rd Saturday3rd Saturday Gourmet offers unique food trucks from all over south Florida and local craft vendors in downtown Hobe Sound every 3rd Saturday from January through April from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. along Dixie Highway. Hosted by the Hobe Sound Chamber of Commerce, this fun and festive event allows you to peruse the local shops and vendors located on Mars and Apollo Streets as you struggle to decide which food truck will satisfy your hunger pangs. Pets are welcome, and the Hobe Sound Veterinarian Clinic will even have surprises for your furry friend.

For Mardi Gras Celebrators

Mardi GrasCrawdaddy’s N’awlins Cafe & Raw Bar and French Quarter is serving up a week-long festival in downtown Jensen Beach. If you love N’awlins food, live music, costumes, and purple, gold and green flags, Crawdaddy’s is the place to be from February 23 through the 28th.

For Art Enthusiasts

Stuart FL artIf you missed the Hobe Sound Art Festival in early February, you can still get your art vibe on up the road in Stuart on the weekend of February 25th and 26th for the Stuart Art Festival. During the Festival, Stuart comes alive with on Osceola Street in Stuart’s historic downtown area. From art, to sculptures, jewelers, and photography, it’s a great way to meet the artists, sample scrumptious food, and explore this amazing seaside town. Check it out!

For Nature Lovers

HSNCIf morning hikes along waterways, through swamps and wetlands, sand dunes and hammocks are your bag, check out the Hobe Sound Nature Center’s events schedule. For the less adventurous, the curious may be interested in the Thursday Lecture series. For most events, reservations are not required. There are even sedate programs offered at area libraries and some interesting volunteer opportunities to check out.

Martin County is brimming with activities for the spring season, so be sure to follow our Facebook page where we’ll post other local events and goings-on around the county and here at the park.