Stuart, Florida, often referred to as the Sailfish Capital of the World, is a charming small town located along Florida’s Treasure Coast. Conveniently located just North of Palm Beach County, it offers the ideal South Florida lifestyle minus the hustle and bustle. Stuart boasts a wealth of history showcased in city-commissioned museums and educational centers, pristine beaches and water-centric activities, many dining options, and an amazing sense of community.
House of Refuge: Stuart, Florida
But don’t just take our word for it – Stuart earned its reputation as the second-best coastal town in the USA in 2023, was named the sixth-best small town in the South by Southern Living, and even earned the title of America's Happiest Seaside Town from Coastal Living Magazine in 2016. Coastal Living also described Stuart as an "old-Florida treasure." With this many accolades, this "old-Florida treasure" must be worth a visit! Ready to plan your next beach vacation? Join us as we explore the best things to do in Stuart, curated by the lifestyle professionals at Waterfront Properties and Club Communities.
Museums and Historical Sites
Stuart was first settled in 1870 by local landowner Otto Stypmann, who named the town Potsdam after a city in Germany. The area was officially incorporated and named Stuart by Homer Hine Stuart, Jr., following the establishment of the Florida East Coast Railroad. Since it's establishment, the city has made remarkable efforts to preserve its rich heritage, and educate locals and visitors on all levels. When visiting Stuart, it's imperative to visit a few museums, but it won't be difficult since you'll probably see one while you're out and about anyways! No matter what your interests are, you’re sure to learn something.
The Stuart Heritage Museum
- The Elliot Museum has an excellent collection of art, history, and innovation, showcasing vintage cars and an extensive collection of Americana.
- The Florida Oceanographic Society allows you to get up close and personal with marine life through interactive exhibits and outdoor aquariums.
- The House of Refuge takes you back in time to the era of shipwrecks and rescue missions and offers fascinating insight into maritime history.
- The Stuart Heritage Museum chronicles the town's evolution, from its roots as a fishing village to the vibrant community it is today.
With Stuart often being called the “Sailfish Capital of the World”, it's no wonder it offers incredible coastal dining options, with everything from gourmet seafood caught fresh off the Northern Atlantic Ocean to international dining cuisine. It's downtown environment offers lively vibes and a tight-knit community making you feel welcome as well as beautiful views of the St. Lucie River or the Atlantic Ocean. Many dining options also feature live music for you to enjoy while dining and taking in the views and enjoying the culinary masterpieces. There are many restaurants to choose from, but here a few that we love!
Restaurant on the Stuart Boardwalk
- The Black Marlin: A seafood gem in Stuart, serving fresh, locally sourced dishes with a coastal flair.
- Stuart Boathouse: A waterfront restaurant offering a diverse menu with scenic river views, perfect for a relaxing meal.
- Gilberts Coffee Bar: A charming Stuart Cafe known for its inviting ambiance and exceptional coffee and tea, accompanied by light bites such as cheese boards, a variety of toasts, and healthy smoothies. Located at the Sunset Bay Marina.
- The Gafford: A High end bistro in dowtown stuart that offers seafood and southern inspired dishes with a modern flair.
Stuarts historic downtown, set against the backdrop of the St. Lucie River, doesn’t just boast fantastic restaurants, but it also showcases many locally-owned boutiques. The Boutiques offer everything from surfboards and suits to handcrafted jewelry and artwork. Support local businesses and explore these unique shops. Here are a few that caught our eye:
The Stuart Sailfish Fountain
- Nautical but Nice: A downtown treasure in Stuart, offering coastal-themed decor and unique souvenirs to capture the essence of the coast.
- Gumbo Limbo Gifts: A Stuart boutique where you can discover handcrafted jewelry, artwork, and home decor created by local artisans.
- Ohana Surf Shop: Your go-to destination for surf gear and beachwear, catering to surf enthusiasts in Stuart.
- GypSea Cottage: An eclectic boutique in Stuart known for its bohemian-inspired clothing and accessories.
If you are itching to visit a few high-end stores during your visit, you can make the quick 45-minute drive to Lake Worth Ave Shopping on Palm Beach Island or The Royal Poinciana Plaza in West Palm Beach.
Stuart’s prime location near the St. Lucie River, Indian River Lagoon, and the Atlantic Ocean makes makes it a hub for fishing, water sports, and beach relaxation. For thrill-seekers, you can book a catamaran or a chartered-deep-sea fishing adventure. If relaxation is more your style we have plenty of beach recommendations:
Bathtub Reef Beach: Stuart, FL
- Stuart Beach, a local favorite, offers a wide expanse of shoreline ideal for swimming and beachcombing.
- Bathtub Reef Beach, known for its unique reef system, provides excellent snorkeling opportunities.
- Sailfish Splash Waterpark offers thrilling water rides and a lazy river, making it a hit with families and thrill-seekers alike.
- Treasure Coast Sailing Adventures provides romantic sunset voyages and exhilarating full-day charters, allowing you to discover Stuart, Florida from the deck of a sailboat.
- Tiki Taxi and Cruises: Experience Stuart's waterways uniquely with tiki-style boat cruises, ideal for leisurely rides and private events, featuring beer, wine, cocktails, and music.
- Stroll along the scenic Stuart Boardwalk and enjoy panoramic views of the St. Lucie River.
Stuart, Florida, is a must-visit small town along Florida's treasure coast. It is the perfect blend of history, culture, and social and outdoor activities. If you're considering making this charming place your permanent home or touring a few properties while you are in town, call Adam Brown, Waterfront Properties Stuart Area Specialist at (772) 485-2039. Your dream coastal residence is just a conversation away!