Though known as the Sailfish Capital of the world, Stuart is a town in South Florida that was generally not on the tourist radar.
Only recently did it become popular, making it a recent favorite hotspot for local tourism.
It offers a wide range of activities, such as outdoor concerts, and has beautiful beaches and attractive restaurants.
Situated on the Treasure Coast, in Martin County, it has the old Florida, small-town feel to it.
Being one of the smallest towns with a population of just over 16,000 people, it is the perfect gateway from the hustle-bustle of city life.
Now, let's look at the 21 best things to do in this small yet beautiful town:
Witness the Amazing Stuart Airshow
Visitors can only witness this if they happen to be in Stuart around November, the most beautiful time of the year in the town.
You should not miss this three-day event, where they present several types of aircraft and military vehicles.
The Air Force puts on an absolutely breathtaking performance.
They put a limelight on the significance of aviation and the service of Veterans.
It is a fundraiser for non-profits.
Each year they donate thousands of dollars to area foundations and veteran affairs.
Visit the Elliott Museum
This museum houses many exhibits, highlighting the region's economic past and its connection to art, aviation, and sports.
Made up of unique display features, the museum is a delight for visitors of all ages.
Children, especially, would love The Treasure Coast stories and the history associated with them.
Being a coastal town, this museum devotes a significant portion to the maritime history of Florida.
The museum also hosts several events that aim to provide a unique experience for the guests.
Discover Historical Facts at Stuart Heritage Museum
The name explains a lot.
This museum aims to preserve Stuart's heritage, history, and culture.
Situated within the oldest commercial building of the town and Martin County, it introduces visitors to exciting places, events, and people from the past.
The building dates back to 1901 and remains one of the fine examples of the historical remains of the town.
The museum is open every day from 10 am to 3 pm for visitors, except for important holidays.
Catch Fun Activities in Halpatiokee Regional Park
It is the largest park in Martin County, covering an extensive area of five hundred acres that includes both preserved and natural land.
This is the perfect destination for people who want to find a quiet spot away from crowds, as it offers opportunities for biking, paddling, and hiking.
The park also has several natural campsites and lovely picnic spots, including large pavilions and covered seating areas.
Visitors can also enjoy a quick game at the tennis courts, baseball fields, or soccer fields, in addition to making use of the outside roller rink.
Take a Walk in the Tropical Ranch Botanical Gardens
The Tropical Ranch Botanical Gardens were opened by Jim Haines and Diane Rexroad in 2006.
They wanted colorful gardens surrounding the community to inspire them about learning how to place the right plant in the right place.
Located along Ranch Trail, it is the only botanical garden in Martin County.
Visitors can explore a variety of themed gardens.
They are also a popular wedding venue because of the natural aura that surrounds the place.
Interact With Nature at State Park
Keeping the available time in mind, you can find different ways to explore this beautiful park.
The views from the top of Hobe Mountain Tower are just breathtaking.
Visitors can also take a guided tour boat to spend some quality time with nature.
Children will also love the playground in the park, where the water forms a gorgeous background.
Visitors can also go biking along the trails or rowing in the Loxahatchee River, though one should beware of alligators and turtles.
Learn About Oceanic Life at Florida Oceanographic Society
This society is a nationally distinguished pioneer in environmental research, education, and advocacy.
Spread over an area of 57-acre, this aquatic life nature center houses a stingray touch tank (both with regular feeding arrangements) 750,000-gallon game fish lagoon.
In addition to that, it also has nature paths with guided tours and informative programs for all ages.
It also leads investigation and rehabilitation programs intended to sustain healthy coastal ecosystems.
Catch a Show at The Barn Theatre
What makes this theater interesting is that it is the oldest non-profit community theater in Martin County.
With the aim to involve the local population and beyond in theater arts, the theater presents five main stage productions every year.
It is a 169-seat community theater, the only option for theater between Jupiter and Fort Pierce.
In addition to the main productions, it also presents a showcase series consisting of one-act plays every year.
Have a Good Time at the Lyric Theatre
Lyric Theatre was constructed as a theater for silent movies in 1926 and had been so until the depression.
Then it was closed and sold and underwent changes.
Today, it is used as a venue for music and arts.
The National Register of Historic Places also lists the theater in their records.
Having undergone many renovations over the years, it now has a full bar and top-quality sound system.
Explore Artworks at The Geoffrey C. Smith Galleries
Named after Geoffery C Smith, this place showcases many of his works, including the famous bronze sculpture, the Stuart Sailfish.
This sculpture is considered a symbol of Stuart and was also kept in the middle of the town's Sailfish Circle in 2003.
Geoffery Smith has been creating award-winning works of art for over forty years as a photographer, painter, sculptor, and naturalist.
His works depict the vast wildlife diversity and leave the viewers with a sense of action and deep emotion.
Visitors can also find his artworks across the country in many galleries.
Look at Fine Photography at Gallery 36
This gallery features fine art photography and has become a new favorite hotspot.
The exhibits capture the local vibe of Florida and the Treasure Coast.
The gallery is open for tourists and locals from 10:00 am until 5:30 pm, Tuesday to Saturday.
Visitors can also make appointments to explore the brilliant photographs.
The gallery is unique because it perfectly blends small-town charm with the urban sophistication found in metropolitan cities.
Taste Italian Cuisine at La Forchetta
This place is for visitors who would like a taste of Italy.
The menu ranges from various pasta options to seafood, chicken, and veal dishes.
Operated by a local family, it serves traditional Italian dishes with a more contemporary flair.
The ingredients they use are authentic and imported from Italy to give the visitors a true taste of Italy.
Visitors will feel at home here with the attentive personal service and the effort they put in to make every meal exceptional.
Explore the House of Refuge Museum
In 1876, the United States Treasury department built ten houses as a safe retreat for shipwreck victims along the coast.
This museum is one of the ten houses left, becoming the oldest structure in Martin County.
The visitors can experience the rich American maritime history and relive the old coastal lifestyle.
Guided tours are available for guests.
However, visitors can also explore the place on their own with the help of well-designed signage.
Feel at Home in The Berry Fresh Cafe
This café was inaugurated in 2009 in Port St. Lucie, Florida, by Tim Timoteo.
Another family-owned restaurant, Berry Fresh Cafe, has since introduced new café locations in Stuart and Jupiter.
The menu also includes many healthy, gluten-free, vegetarian dishes.
They showcase the talents of their chefs through the seasonal dishes featured in the What's Fresh menu.
The café stays true to its core principles: service with a genuine smile, a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere, reasonable prices, and great food.
Have a Quiet Evening With Tiki Taxi and Cruises
This cruise is a recent attraction on the Riverwalk.
It is basically a tiki bar-themed boat.
Visitors can experience this only for ten dollars.
The starting point is the dock behind Mulligan’s Restaurant and the Tide House Restaurant.
Visitors can relax and have a peaceful time overlooking the sea and enjoying live music and sipping island drinks from their full bar.
It is especially beneficial if you have a large group because you can charter the boat for 3 hours for $55.00 per person, including the open bar.
Experience a Tour of Florida Waters
Visitors can experience the beauty of Florida waters by driving a Catarman and exploring the region.
Naturalists guide the guests, informing them about the region's flora and fauna.
There are various options for the tour, such as a 60-minute, 90-minute, or 2.5-hour eco-tour.
In addition to that, you can also experience the coastal beauty through the 3.5-hour twilight coastal tour.
Visitors will also get a chance to explore the waters by getting off the boat.
The boats are safe, and you can easily take your children along.
The design gives it the perfect maneuverability of an airboat.
Shop at B&A Flea Market
It is located in the quaint Martin County, where you find everything from antiques and collectibles to fun beach supplies.
It is a shopping extravaganza that offers you a wide range of products with more than four hundred vendors.
Visitors can also catch fabulous live entertainment on the streets.
The B&A also has some great live entertainment at times.
You will also find an appeal for your taste buds in delightful kettle corn, funnel cakes, and sandwiches.
The market is open each Saturday and Sunday from 8 am till 3 pm.
Take a Walk Through Stuart's Main Street
This is not any ordinary street.
With a unique Old Florida vibe, Stuart's Main Street history goes back to the 1800s when it was built on the remains of the town’s first railroad stop.
Just like the flea market, you will also find a range of products and services here.
With over fifty locally-owned restaurants, boutiques, and entertainment venues, this makes a perfect stop for an evening stroll.
Interact With Marine Life at Bathtub Reef Beach
This is a beautiful place to interact with marine life because you can find over five hundred marine animals around the fragile reef.
Very tiny tun building sea worms called Sabellariidae are responsible for creating the reef.
They create an extensive network of tubes by cementing grains of sand together, thus building the reef.
It is also safe for children because the reef breaks the waves, protecting the beach.
Have Fun at Santa Lucea Beach
Being a coastal area, it is no surprise that beaches would be major tourist attractions.
Santa Lucea Beach is one of the most stunning beaches on Stuart's Hutchinson Island.
Visitors can find plenty of free parking spaces and showers to rinse off water.
The beach is unguarded and uncommercial.
There are no restrictions on pets.
However, you should keep them leashed and tidy up after them.
There is also a park spread over 5 acres of the beach area, making it a fun addition for children.
History buffs will also find this place interesting, as it contains a prehistoric Native American village.
It was inhabited by the Ais for up to 2,000 years, ending around 1,000 AD.
Enjoy Learning Activities at Ground Floor Farm
Ground Floor Farm is the town’s first urban farm, cafe, and local market located at South East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
It was founded in 2014 by Stuart residents aiming to create a lively, strong town community through food and art with, of course, a lot of fun.
Learn practical know-how and get immersed in cultural and artistic experiences.
The one-acre urban farm grows a variety of fresh vegetables, fruits, different herbs and spices, and floral blooms all chemical-free.
You’ll be served excellent lunch and dinner fare with ingredients straight from the farm; you’ll also get a taste of traditionally-made foods like fermented pickles, yogurt, cheese, condiments, sourdough bread, and more.
Visit and enjoy at Ground Floor Farm!
View Artifacts and Displays at Road To Victory Military Museum
The Road To Victory Military Museum is located at South East Stypmann Boulevard at the south entrance of the Veteran's Memorial Park.
This museum is specifically dedicated to veterans, highlighting their noble achievements and celebrating American freedom.
It’s open to the public every Saturday or by appointment for small groups of visitors.
Browse through various artifacts and memorabilia on display from World War I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam Conflict, and the Persian Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan Wars.
You’ll find a showcase of uniforms, military objects, photos, and even military vehicles displayed here.
Pay tribute to war heroes at Road To Victory Military Museum.
Drop by The Fish House Art Center and Marina
A unique art community in South East Desoto Avenue, The Fish House Art Center and Marina is a spot you need to visit.
Explore the art stops at the boardwalk and drop by Aya Fiber Studio which features the traditional Japanese Shibori on Indigo and Fiber Workshops.
See the Elizabeth Esther Williams Weaving Studio and the Havanna Beads, along with artworks at the Danuta Studio and William Selesnick Studio; likewise, get to see works by ceramicist Gail Kosowski and attend classes at Clay Space.
You can also rent a bike and get bike accessories at Kraken Bikes and Boards or enjoy the waters on a paddle board from Liquid Aloha Paddle Board Co.
Bring your kids and enjoy the Seafood and Pirate Festival hosted by Twisted Tuna and the Fish House Art Center with live bands, arts and crafts, free kids zone, and rides for everyone.
Enjoy local beers on tap or try assorted ice cream flavors while enjoying the sights on the marina at Craft & Creamery.
The Fish House Art Center and Marina also offer an available AirBnb space you can book for your family vacation.
Get Creative at Stuart Ceramics Walk-In Stress-Free Art Studio
If you’re in the mood to make something creative, Stuart Ceramics Walk-In Stress-Free Art Studio is the place to get your hands working.
Located at South East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, this studio offers ceramic painting, mosaic-making, pottery wheels, resin frames, and charcuterie boards you can paint.
They’re open daily and also hold Bring-Your-Own-Bottle on Wednesdays and Fridays with live music for entertainment.
Catch the monthly art activities for resin candle plates and charcuterie boards, turkey and clay leaf votive painting, handprint platters, and many more.
If you want a unique private celebration, you can book private events and parties, too.
You can also buy to-go kits if you prefer making your art piece at home.
Drop by the Stuart Ceramics Walk-In Stress-Free Art Studio.
Get Water Gears at Zeke’s Board Sports: Surf, Skate and Paddle
For your paddle boards and skateboard needs, you can head off to Zeke’s Board Sports: Surf, Skate and Paddle.
Come by their shop at South West Federal Highway and check out their complete stock of skateboards; you can even have your boards customized or upgraded.
Into paddleboarding? They’ll help you find the right fit and board for you and give you some technical lessons on your purchase.
You can also get cool and exclusive merchandise like shirts, tank tops, and more.
Zeke’s Board Sports: Surf, Skate and Paddle also offer Hamboards for land paddling and surfing.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Tour the Town With a Carriage Tour
Visitors can experience downtown Stuart through a private horse-drawn carriage trip with Wind Chase Farms.
The children would love the beautiful horses that pull the carriages.
The driver also acts as a guide, informing the travelers of several interesting historical facts.
They also describe the murals seen everywhere in the town and tell tales from history.
Architecture enthusiasts can notice many architectural details along the way.
The price for this thirty-minute tour starts at $120 for up to four passengers and provides you with a unique perspective about Stuart that you won’t find anywhere else.
The Town of Stuart is becoming a popular tourist spot being discovered by more and more tourists.
It has an array of pristine beaches, notable restaurants, scenic spots, and historic sites.
It may be a small town but it’s a great location for a family getaway.
So get excited to do the best things in Stuart, Florida.