Though the town of Stuart, Florida doesn’t have the name recognition of some of its neighbors, it’s often referred to as ‘The Sailfish Capital of the World,’ which makes it a hotspot for saltwater anglers from all over the country.
Stuart is located on the section of the state’s Atlantic Coast called ‘The Treasure Coast.’ Though it’s just inland from the ocean, it’s only a few minutes from some amazing beaches in Palm and Vero Beaches.
With a population of just 15,500 at the time of the last census, Stuart is also one of the area’s smallest towns.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Stuart, Florida.
1. Flagler Park
Florida is full of free municipal parks, and many of them are situated on prime pieces of oceanfront real estate that’d be the homes of multi-millionaires in most states.
Located at the south end of the Route 1 Roosevelt Bridge, Stuart’s Flagler Park is set along the north portion of the St. Lucie River and offers active and outdoorsy visitors a variety of recreation options.
Biking, sunbathing, and fishing are popular, and many guests choose to take morning or afternoon strolls when the sun isn’t so strong.
The park is a favorite of photographers keen on capturing the magnificent mixture of the bridge, river, blue skies, and ship traffic.
2. Stuart Airshow
For more than three decades, Stuart has been hosting a combination airshow and Fourth of July festival that’s a big hit with aviation enthusiasts and patriotic revelers.
For those who’ve never experienced a live airshow, they’re amazing spectacles filled with high and low-altitude maneuvers, smoke trails, and screaming engines. When combined with a world-class fireworks show, the event becomes a true icon.
The event’s attractions include live entertainment, arts and crafts, tasty food and drink, and lots of family-friendly activities.
The airshow and Independence Day celebration are held in Flagler Park just a few minutes from downtown.
3. Stuart Boathouse
Most visitors to the Sunshine State make it a point to eat at least one seafood meal on their trip, and for those visiting Stuart, there’s no better place to do it than the Stuart Boathouse.
Previous guests have commented on the restaurant’s pleasant mix of casual comfort and contemporary styling, and it’s popular for its generous portions and reasonable prices as well.
The restaurant features a huge selection of fresh Florida seafood and plenty of land-based fare too.
It’s located inside a restored home from the ‘20s on SW Seminole Street next to the Stuart Band Shell, making it a great pre-concert meal spot.
4. Sailfish Splash Waterpark
With so many stunning beaches close by, many visitors to Stuart tend to overlook Sailfish Splash Waterpark, but it’s the perfect place to frolic in cool water with little ones when the beach’s direct sunlight and salt water get to be a bit much.
The waterpark features modern amenities aimed at a variety of ages; though it’s mostly a kid’s attraction, adults usually end up having a blast as well.
For parents who’d rather watch the action from a dry and shaded vantage point, there are a number of covered seating areas that are close enough to see what’s going on without getting wet.
5. Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center
Comprised of nearly 60 acres of rich marine and coastal habitats, the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center on nearby Hutchinson Island is a popular destination for animal and nature lovers who’d like to get up-close-and-personal with some amazing Florida ecosystems and the diverse animals that live there.
The center lies between the Indian River and Atlantic Ocean and offers several staff-led programs and activities aimed at engaging and educating visitors. For many guests, it’s one of the most memorable experiences of their vacation.
Nature walks and sea turtle breeding and hatchery tours are among the most popular activities, but they’re seasonal, so check online before heading out.
6. Halpatiokee Regional Park
Though its name is a bit of a tongue-twister, Halpatiokee Regional Park is Martin County’s largest park and includes more than 500 acres of both developed land and preserved natural areas.
Soccer and baseball fields, tennis courts, and an outdoor roller rink are big attractions for those looking to burn a few calories. If you’d rather get away from the crowds and immerse yourself in nature, there are a variety of trails open to walkers and bikers.
There are some covered seating areas and larger pavilions that are popular with picnickers and weekend barbecue warriors too.
7. Elliott Museum
The Elliott Museum in Stuart includes several exhibits that touch on the area’s history and economy as well as sports, art, and aviation.
It’s a bit of a hodgepodge that most guests find both unique and informative, and it’s one of the least expensive recreation options in the area, too.
A hefty portion of the museum is dedicated to the state’s rich maritime history as well. They even host a variety of quirky pop-culture events that take visitors on a walk down Memory Lane.
Their website is the best place to keep abreast of what’ll be going on when you plan on being in the area.
8. Shepard Park
Located on SW Ocean Boulevard, Stuart’s Shepard Park is mainly known for the River Walk that winds its way along the shores of scenic St. Lucie River.
It’s also a popular spot for anglers, and there’s plenty of shore access as well as a boat ramp for those who’d rather take to the water.
Especially during the dog days of summer, the sun can get pretty oppressive, so many visitors choose to visit in the morning and afternoon. But there are a number of treed and covered seating areas for those who’ve overexerted themselves and just need a place to cool off.
9. Palm Cove Golf & Yacht Club
Florida is full of exclusive yacht and golf clubs that aren’t open to the general public, but the Palm Cove Golf & Yacht Club is a favorite golf destination. Though it’s not the area’s cheapest, it features a beautiful course that makes for a truly memorable round.
The golf portion of the club is located on SW Carriage Hill Terrace and was designed by legendary golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez.
The par-71, 18-hole course plays about 6,300 yards from the longest tees, but for youngsters and the elderly, there are shorter tees which shorten the length significantly.
Tee times tend to go fast during peak times, so plan accordingly.
10. Jensen Beach Pineapple Festival
Florida is most well-known for citrus, which is its largest agricultural crop, but the state is a big pineapple grower too, and each year Jensen Beach hosts a festival to honor the tasty fruit.
The area’s first pineapple plantation was established nearly 150 years ago, and though the Pineapple Festival isn’t that old, it has been being going strong for almost 30 years and attracts a following from all over the country.
It all takes place over three days at the end of November. In addition to pineapple prepared every conceivable way, there’s live entertainment, a variety of food, and plenty of fun, family-friendly activities.
11. Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens
Located on SE Westmoreland Boulevard in Port St. Lucie, the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens are a free attraction that have been known to occupy travelers for longer than they originally planned.
The gardens are open from Wednesday to Sunday. Though they’re a free attraction, it’s politely suggested that visitors donate a few bucks to assist with the garden’s maintenance.
The gardens are really a variety of distinct cultivated areas that include cacti, palms, succulents, and orchids, to name a few. Though many species are native, there are a variety of exotic ones as well.
Consider a morning or weekday visit if you’d like to avoid the weekend crowds.
12. Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast
During the summer months when the double-whammy of high heat and high humidity often make it unpleasant to be outside, it’s wise to have a few indoor activity options in your back pocket, especially if you’re traveling with little ones who demand round-the-clock entertainment.
The Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast is located on NE Indian River Drive in Jensen Beach and is open every day except Monday.
The museum’s interactive exhibits touch on science and the natural world, history, and technology, and it’s one of those rare places that educates as well as entertains.
Admission is very reasonable, and kids pay half of what adults do.
13. Savannas Preserve State Park
Though there is no shortage of traditional white, sandy beaches along Florida’s Treasure Coast, there are also plenty of park-type beaches that offer acres of undeveloped land as well.
Savannas Preserve State Park is located on Walton Road in Port St. Lucie and is particularly well-known for its labyrinth of trails that stretch for more than ten miles through diverse and pristine environments.
Biking, hiking, and horseback riding are popular activities, as are kayaking and paddle-boarding along the park’s waterways.
The park’s coastal marshes are home to a large number of animals, and many of them are easily seen from the trails, so don’t forget your camera.
14. First Data Field
Florida’s Major League Baseball spring training season is often referred to as the ‘Grapefruit League.’ For budget-conscious travelers who refuse to pay twenty bucks for a beer and a hot dog, First Data Field would be a great place to catch a game or two without breaking the bank.
First Data Field is the New York Met’s spring home, and the stadium is located on NW Peacock Boulevard in Port St. Lucie.
They host a variety of teams from all over the country, and the competition is surprisingly stiff considering it’s not the regular season. Tickets can be purchased onsite or online.
15. Jensen Beach Causeway Park
Jensen Beach’s Causeway Park is a scenic park that’s full of outdoor recreation options like fishing and boating.
The park is at the end of the impressive Frank A. Wacha Bridge. It is an often-photographed location for its picturesque mix of the manmade and natural worlds that aren’t often found together.
For those with their own boat, there’s a boat ramp on site. There is also a playground for the little ones and some covered seating areas that are popular with picnickers.
The park can get busy during peak times, and parking can become scarce.