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Best Things to Do in Stuart, FL: Your Ultimate Guide to Martin County’s Gem

Best Things to Do in Stuart, FL: Your Ultimate Guide to Martin County’s Gem

Tucked away on Florida’s scenic Treasure Coast, the quaint city of Stuart is your escape into blissful adventures without the hustle and crowded sidewalks you might expect. Just a stone’s throw from West Palm Beach and a scenic drive southeast of Orlando, Stuart will surprise you with hidden nooks and stunning scenery waiting at every turn. Here are the best things to do in Stuart, FL, that I’ve experienced over the years.

Dubbed the Sailfish Capital of the World and once celebrated as the “Happiest Seaside Town” by Coastal Living in 2016, this gem in Martin County woos with its vibrant ecotourism and affordable escapades.

best-things-to-do-in-stuart-florida

A Coastal Haven for All Seasons

Picture California’s Big Sur’s captivating coastlines married with the tranquil vibe of the Caribbean—that’s Bathtub Reef Beach for you. Stuart gifts you tranquility with beauty as infinite as the horizon. Adjacent, Ross Witham Beach beckons snorkelers and divers to its coral reef treasures just offshore.

bathtub-reef-sunbathers

Cultural Pursuits and Pleasures

For curious minds, the Elliott Museum unravels local history and Florida culture in a whirlwind of exhibits that span classic cars to baseball legends. Prepare to be amazed at what’s inside this Stuart treasure. The three-story 100+ car electronic exhibit brings the car you select to the front, then to the first floor, for a closer view.

Adult tickets are $18, and children (6-12) are $10.

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Not too far, the House of Refuge stands as a time capsule on the coastline, stocked with displays narrating tales of shipwrecked sailors and lifesaving bravery. It is one of the only ten remaining and the oldest building in Martin County.

house-of-refuge-stuart-florida

Are you seeking more creativity? The Fish House Art Center in nearby Port Salerno offers an authentic slice of artistic living in a 3,000-square-foot gallery with resident artists sharing their crafts. A stone’s throw from the water is Craft & Creamery, perfect for ice cream cones (24 kinds!), beer, and wine. 

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Indulge in exploring the land and sea with rentals from Liquid Aloha for paddleboards and Kraken Bikes and Boards for longboards, skateboards, bikes, and much more.

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Strolling Along Stuart’s Charm

The Stuart Riverwalk unfolds scenic views where the St. Lucie River is your companion for leisure walks or vibrant stops at local haunts like Mulligans—famous for its Bloody Mary or the indulgent and fun 21 ounce bowl drink. And in the heart of the historic downtown, indulge in a sip of sophistication at La Grande Martier that echoes the town’s leisurely mood.

Why not whisk away to Jensen Beach? Just a short ride from Stuart, it’s another coastal slice of paradise where cool vibes ripple through the streets.

girl-walking-on-stuart-riverwalk

Arts Alive in Martin County

Curtain calls for the arts enthusiasts at the Lyric Theatre. This local treasure, an ode to the silent movie era, now croons with performances from the laugh-inducing Steven Wright to the rhythm of Spyro Gyra. Upcoming shows include The Weight Band, Alison Brown Quintet, BoDeans, The Fifth Dimension, and several tribute bands.

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And for capturing great photographs of downtown Stuart, hop on the free open-air tram—which can also give you a glance at shopping and dining opportunities.

Even if you’re just passing by, the boutique Old Colorado Inn teases with the Sneaki Tiki bar—because the 5:00 somewhere spirit is 24/7 in Stuart.

old-colorado-inn

Stuart’s Vibrant Market Life

Sundays in Stuart are a treat with the Market on Main Downtown Stuart, previously the Stuart Green Market. Here, local goods, from handcrafted soaps to artisan crafts, are more than just items; they are also stories and local passions. A fun offering is the ‘Kids Market,’ dedicated to vendors under age 16 to nurture blossoming young entrepreneurs on the last Sunday of the month. 

The Flagler Park located market (201 SW Flagler Ave) is open year-round, with summer hours 9 AM – 1 PM and season hours 9 AM – 2 PM.

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Photo from Stuart Market on Main IG page.

Following the market, Rock’n Riverwalk stages local musicians to fill the air with music as inviting as the water’s edge every Sunday from 1-4 PM.

A few local shops you will want to check out are Gumbo Limbo Coastal Chic (coastal-inspired home decor and apparel), GypSea Cottage (gifts and treasures), Matilda’s (everything fabulous! O’Sole Mio (men’s and women’s resort wear), and Rare Earth Gallery (paintings, pottery, local and regional glass).

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Discover this Lesser-Known Gem

Come for the sun, stay for the soulful encounters. Stuart, on Florida’s Treasure Coast, is where the coast is an anecdote, and every visit is a well-deserved memory.

jagged-rocks-at-bathtub-reef-beach

Check out these other East Coast Florida articles:

Where to Eat in St. Augustine

Guide to Visiting Melbourne

Exploring Fort Pierce

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Rohini

Friday 11th of May 2018

This looks like a nice weekend getaway . The food scene looks awesome as well :) Hope you had a great time ...

Taylor Hardy

Friday 11th of May 2018

It is the perfect weekend getaway!

Mel Butler

Thursday 10th of May 2018

I have never heard of Martin County, Florida but it definitely sounds and looks like a great place to visit and I am definitely keen to add it to my list next time I am in Florida catching up with my friends. I would be heading straight to Sailfish Splash Waterpark to use the two four-story waterslides.

Taylor Hardy

Friday 11th of May 2018

It looks like so much fun! :)

Erica Edwards

Thursday 10th of May 2018

This is such a complete guide! And it looks like there's plenty to see and do there, from beaches and boats to yummy seafood! I'd especially like to visit the Jonathan Dickinson State Park to learn a bit more about the local habitat and wildlife. Wouldn't mind an eggs benny from Jan's Place either!

Taylor Hardy

Friday 11th of May 2018

Mmm breakfast from Jan's Place sounds delicious! :)

Kreete

Thursday 10th of May 2018

I am loving that you have chosen to introduce locally owned businesses like the Old Colorado Inn and all the amazing places to eat! My mouth started watering over the watermelon pizza! I think the music festival in November would be when I'd time my visit! One day.. :)

Taylor Hardy

Friday 11th of May 2018

I hope you get to visit!

Susanne

Thursday 10th of May 2018

A very informative article, thank you! So far I had not heard anything about this corner of Florida. But it seems like it's really worth a visit.

Taylor Hardy

Friday 11th of May 2018

Martin County definitely has a lot to offer!

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