Martin Grade Scenic Highway: A Journey Through Florida’s Nature

Martin Grade Scenic Highway
Martin Grade Scenic Highway

Martin Grade Scenic Highway, a captivating 12-mile stretch in the heart of Florida, offers a serene and picturesque drive through the state’s lush countryside. This enchanting route connects the towns of Stuart and Okeechobee, presenting a delightful blend of natural beauty, historical landmarks, and cultural attractions that will captivate any traveler.

Where is Martin Grade Scenic Highway located?

The Martin Grade Scenic Highway runs through the lush Martin County landscapes in southeast Florida. The highway runs from the town of Stuart, which is close to the Atlantic coast, to the town of Okeechobee, which is located close to the well-known Lake Okeechobee. The road travels through a variety of landscapes along the way, including thick forests, expansive ranchlands, and peaceful wetlands.

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Martin Grade Highway Facts

What is the history of the highway?

The origins of Martin Grade Scenic Highway can indeed be traced back to the early 20th century when the road was first established as a vital transportation link between the towns of Stuart and Okeechobee. However, it’s important to note that the highway was initially a dirt road, primarily serving the local agricultural and ranching communities in the region. Moreover, over the years, the road underwent gradual improvements and was eventually paved, undergoing a transformation into the picturesque drive it is today.

In 2010, the Martin Grade Scenic Highway received official designation as a Florida Scenic Highway. This recognition not only acknowledges its unique natural beauty but also its historical significance and cultural attractions. Moreover, this designation has played a crucial role in preserving the highway’s charm and fostering sustainable tourism in the area.

Ongoing efforts are being made to maintain and enhance the scenic beauty of the highway. Local communities and organizations are working together to protect the region’s natural and cultural resources, ensuring their preservation for future generations.

What makes it special?

The highway is undoubtedly one of Florida’s most scenic drives. It presents visitors with a rare chance to appreciate the diverse natural beauty of the state. The road itself is lined with majestic oak trees adorned in Spanish moss, which creates a captivating canopy of seclusion and tranquillity.

One of the primary attractions along this highway is the Allapattah Flats Wildlife Management Area. Spanning across vast expanses of wetlands, prairies, and forests, this area provides a habitat for a diverse array of wildlife. Here, you can spot deer, wild turkey, and various bird species. Engaging in outdoor activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and even hunting is highly encouraged in this breathtaking location.

Additionally, another destination that is a must-visit along this route is the DuPuis Management Area. This 22,000-acre reserve showcases a wide variety of ecosystems, including pine flatwoods, cypress domes, and wet prairies. This remarkable area offers a range of recreational activities for nature enthusiasts. You can enjoy hiking, horseback riding, and even camping in this enchanting setting.

Are there any unique flora and fauna to discover along the highway?

Yes, Martin Grade Scenic Highway is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna. Furthermore, the region’s unique ecosystems support various plant species, such as live oak, cabbage palm, and saw palmetto. Wildlife enthusiasts can spot a variety of animals along the highway, including white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and gopher tortoises. Moreover, the area is teeming with numerous bird species, such as the red-shouldered hawk, barred owl, and woodpeckers, to name a few.

How to get to Martin Grade Scenic Highway?

Visitors can easily access Martin Grade Scenic Highway from major highways, such as Interstate 95 and Florida’s Turnpike. The highway is also accessible from nearby towns, such as Stuart and Okeechobee, by following local roads and signage.

Most likely, your trip to the road will start in Miami. The route from Miami to the scenic highway is straightforward and easy to navigate. From Miami, take either Interstate 95 or Florida’s Turnpike northbound toward Stuart. Once you reach Stuart, follow the local roads and signage to access the Martin Grade Scenic Highway.

If you want to discover other roads in Florida, you can drive the Key West Drive.

You can have a preview of the itinerary on the map below :

What to do along the road?

Along the highway, you will find an abundance of activities to enjoy, from hiking and birdwatching to exploring historical landmarks and local culture.

  • Visit the Allapattah Flats Wildlife Management Area for hiking, birdwatching, and wildlife viewing opportunities.
  • Explore the diverse ecosystems and recreational activities at the DuPuis Management Area, including hiking, horseback riding, and camping.
  • Discover the rich history and culture of the region by visiting local museums, such as the Stuart Heritage Museum and the Okeechobee Historical Society Museum.
  • Enjoy the scenic beauty of the highway by stopping at picturesque spots for photography and picnicking.

Is Martin Grade Scenic Highway open?

Martin Grade Scenic Highway is typically open year-round, but it’s always a good idea to check for any road closures or restrictions before embarking on your journey. Keep in mind that road conditions can change quickly due to weather, accidents, or other factors, so always double-check before you set out.

The highway is a well-maintained, two-lane road that offers a leisurely and enjoyable drive. The road is relatively flat and straight, making it suitable for drivers of all skill levels. However, be prepared for occasional wildlife crossings and changing weather conditions, particularly during Florida’s rainy season.

To ensure a safe and enjoyable drive along Martin Grade Scenic Highway, follow these tips:

  • Observe posted speed limits and be on the lookout for occasional wildlife crossings.
  • Keep an eye on the weather forecast and be prepared for changing conditions, especially during Florida’s rainy season.
  • Make sure your vehicle is in good working order, with sufficient fuel and properly inflated tires.
  • Bring along a map or GPS device to help navigate the route and locate points of interest.
  • Take breaks at scenic overlooks and rest areas to stretch your legs and enjoy the surroundings.
  • Respect the environment by not littering and adhering to Leave No Trace principles.

Preview of the road :

Embark on a memorable journey along Martin Grade Scenic Highway, Florida’s charming route that showcases the state’s lush countryside and natural beauty. To catch a glimpse of this captivating drive and gather itinerary inspiration, check out this YouTube video.

In conclusion, anyone traveling through Florida’s picturesque countryside must stop at Martin Grade Scenic Highway. The highway presents visitors with an exceptional chance to get up close and personal with the state’s natural wonders thanks to its breathtaking landscapes, diverse wildlife, and rich cultural heritage. Martin Grade Scenic Highway is certain to make an impression, whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history nerd, or just someone who enjoys scenic drives.


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