Stuart, FL, is a historic and eclectic city filled with beaches, museums, historical sites, family friendly activities, outdoor adventures, shopping, dining, art and culture, and more.
There are so many FUN things to do in Stuart FL and the surrounding Martin County area that you’ll want to plan an entire week! Especially since most of them are FREE or extremely affordable.
Stuart is located along Florida’s renowned Treasure Coast, north of Palm Beach and south of Vero Beach. We stayed in Downtown Stuart, but explored all the best this county has to offer. Here are our favorites, and why we think your family will love this small town in Florida as much as we did.
Coolest Places To Stay In Martin County, FL
- Best Tiki Bar: We thoroughly enjoyed our adventure at Old Colorado Inn so this gem is worth repeating! All rooms at the inn are fitted with a seating area, a flat-screen TV with cable channels and a private bathroom with a hairdryer and a shower. The Tiki Bar here is super fun.
- Best Pools: The Marriott Hutchinson Island Beach Resort, Golf & Marina is located on Hutchinson Island Beach and is within 6 minutes’ drive of Stuart city center. The property offers a 3 outdoor pools and rooms with a seating area. With two Tiki bars and an awesome restaurant (Baha Grill), this is a great spot.
- Best Tried and True: This Stuart, Florida Hampton Inn is located near the Northwest Federal Highway. It has an on-site convenience store and serves a buffet breakfast every morning. Downtown Stuart is less than a mile from here. St. Lucie Inlet Preserve has 2 miles of sandy beach and is 15 minutes away.
DOWNTOWN THINGS TO DO IN STUART FL
THINGS TO DO IN STUART FLORIDA – DOWNTOWN
- Downtown Stuart Tram. A fun way to tour the city with the kids is on the open-air, solar-powered Stuart Tram. It’s FREE and looks like an elongated golf cart. You can ride the entire route in about 45 minutes, or take it here and there as you explore the shops and restaurants in the downtown area.
- Riverwalk. Follow the boardwalk along the St Lucie River, taking in a great breeze, beautiful water, plenty of boats, and shops, restaurants, and parks along the way. For us, it was a relaxing opportunity to have some “downtime.” We even found a fun playground along the way, and stopped to chat with a few fisherman catching saltwater catfish – a species new to us. If you are in town on Sunday, be sure to visit the Rock’n Riverwalk live music celebration.
- Stuart Heritage Museum. The Stuart Heritage Museum is a FREE way to learn more about Stuart. For example, did you know that it’s the sailfish capital of the world?
- Stuart Green Market. FREE to the public, the Stuart Green Market opens in the downtown district at 9am on Sundays. Posted hours say they close at 1pm, but we noticed many vendors staying even later. There were food vendors (we found an amazing paella,) artisans, fresh flowers and more.
- Splurge: Carriage Tour With Wind Chase Farm. Take a private horse-drawn carriage tour through downtown Stuart with Wind Chase Farms. The boys adored the beautiful black Clydesdale, Lily, that pulled our carriage. Our driver told us a number of interesting historical facts along the way – explaining the murals seen throughout the city, pointing our architectural details, and more.
MUST EATS IN DOWNTOWN STUART
- Stuart Boathouse. On one of our “downtime” walks along the Riverwalk, we stopped at the Stuart Boathouse for a snack, and really enjoyed it. We sat outside on the deck, taking in the view of St Lucie. We enjoyed oysters (best we had in Martin County) and sushi – with a drink of course. The boys noshed on fries and worked diligently on the puzzles that came with the kids’ menu.
MUST STAY IN DOWNTOWN DISTRICT
- Old Colorado Inn. With multiple accommodation options, Old Colorado Inn is ideal for families or couples. We stayed at The Oasis Suite on the Ernest Lyons Compound, which was perfect for our family.
Book It: Old Colorado Inn | Read More: Old Colorado Inn: 5 Reasons You Should Not Miss This Stuart Hotel
STUART’S BEACHY KEEN SIDE
- Elliott Museum. All my boys (including hubby) loved the Elliott Museum! My oldest called it the “transportation” museum. The highlight was seeing so many antique cars in one location, with the coolest display imaginable. An 1886 Benz, a 1925 Rolls Royce, a 1930 Model A Taxi…and dozens and dozens of other cars are ushered to the front of the display cabinet via a sort of “conveyer belt,” and then showcased for several minutes before the next car is pulled from inventory.
We also saw motorcycles, boats, even bicycles constructed by Sterling Elliott for whom the museum is named. We also loved the baseball display and the elaborately hand-carved circus art.
- Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center. Do not miss the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center! Start with the stingray feeding program. It is weird and awesome! You’ll hold a small piece of food between your fingers, with your hand on the bottom of the tank…and the stingrays will come along and suck it up. It is unlike anything we’ve ever done before!
After that, you can see a program about the large sea turtles they have, and watch them be fed….followed by the game fish feeding. Don’t miss the short nature trail, and the children’s interactive play area.
- House of Refuge. Built as one of ten houses of refuge, this is the only one left AND it’s the oldest building in Martin County. The House of Refuge Museum at Gilbert’s Bar was a haven for shipwrecked travelers, and now serves as a museum showcasing historical lifesaving equipment and the Keeper’s living quarters as they were in 1904.
- Sailfish Splash Waterpark. Sailfish Splash Waterpark features an interactive splash playground, swim lessons, cabanas, water slides, and more.
- Splurge: Riding The Waves Catamaran Tour. This had to be one of the highlights of our trip!! You can NOT miss this adventure!! Take a tour of the Florida waters as you drive a Catamaran – guided by naturalists who can tell you all about the flora and fauna of the region.
The boats are so fun and safe — it’s not physically possible for them to flip. They also offer the maneuverability of an airboat. We were smiles the entire time! They provided life jackets of all sizes, a cooler with water, and a dry spot to store your phone, keys, and wallet. Your guides will take pictures of you while you’re exploring and make them available (no extra charge) after your ride.
MUST EATS ON THE BEACH
- The Magic Oyster Bar. We loved The Magic Oyster Bar! Who doesn’t love a place with a special oyster menu, $6 kids’ menu, and killer drinks! The Horseradish Crusted Grouper is delicious, and Honey Garlic Chicken is ideal for non-seafood family members.
- Jan’s Place at Jensen’s Beach. OK – I’m cheating a little here. Jan’s Place is on the other side of the bridges in Jensen, but you can use that to your advantage…take them up on a hearty breakfast before heading to the island. And when I say hearty, I mean HUGE.
MUST STAY BEACHSIDE OPTION
- Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa. Hutchinson Shores Resort and Spa is beautiful! You’ll love its location right on the Atlantic Ocean, and they’ve got two outdoor pools, an onsite restaurant, and lots of water activities.
Book It: Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa
THE HOBE SOUND AREA: IDEAL OUTDOOR ADVENTURES FOR FAMILIES
MUST DO IN HOBE SOUND
- Jonathan Dickinson State Park. There are multiple ways to explore Jonathan Dickinson State Park, depending on how much time you have to spend. We only had about an hour so we climbed to the top of Hobe Mountain Tower for spectacular views of the surrounding areas, then hustled over to where the guided tour boats take off. Consider biking the trails or paddling the Lokahatchee River – keep a look out for alligators and turtles.
- Blowing Rocks Preserve. Visit during high tide to see the most impressive ocean sprays against the rocky Anastasia limestone at Blowing Rocks Preserve. The Nature Conservancy reports that, “during extreme high tides and after winter storms, seas break against the rocks and force plumes of saltwater up to 50 feet skyward.” Whew! Bring your snorkel, and you’ll need shoes for the short hike.
- National Wildlife Refuge Nature Center. With sandy trails and plenty of critters to see, kids will love this interactive learning stop. Be sure to check out the events at Hobe Sound Nature Center during your stay.
- Halpatiokee Regional Park. Halpatiokee Regional Park in Stuart is the largest park in Martin County. You’ll find hiking, biking, paddling, campsites, sports fields, picnic pavilions, a roller-hockey rink and more.
MUST EATS IN HOBE SOUND
- Harry and the Natives. Harry and the Natives is an eclectic restaurant that’s a favorite of the locals, and you’ll like it too. They serve all three meals – except on Sunday when it’s breakfast all day. The boys chowed on bacon and pancakes and ate everything on their plate! The menu is vast, with plenty of options for everyone…even gator hash. Yes, it’s real gator!
INDIANTOWN: WHERE COWBOYS WERE BORN
We were so so so lucky to be visiting during the annual Indiantown Rodeo. This is one of the most prominent rodeos in the United States, and if you can time your visit to overlap it, I highly recommend doing so!
We watched bronco riding, steer wrestling, roping and barrel racing…but the bull riding was by far our favorite! My littlest guy just melted my heart because of how intently he watched each event. The entire program is VERY family-friendly. In fact, during “half-time” intermission, they invite all the kids to the center of the area for a Find Your Shoe race and contest!
We also loved going a little early and checking out the vendors – Western jewelry makers, cowboy hats, kettle corn, corn hole and so much more!
MORE MARTIN COUNTY FLORIDA LODGING OPTIONS
About 25 miles away from Stuart, you’ll find J&S Fish Camp, located on the beautiful Lake Okeechobee in Florida. Enjoy lakeside views in one of their charming cabins, or stay by RV with their spacious sites. This fun atmosphere features a Tiki bar, live music, food trucks, and Southern hospitality!
THINGS TO DO IN STUART FL FAQ
Is Stuart FL worth visiting?
We had the best time when we visited Stuart, FL, and we’re sure you will too! This pedestrian-friendly town is full of great things to do, with water activities, family friendly adventures, great restaurants, and so much more.
What is Stuart FL best known for?
Stuart, FL, is best known for its sail fishing and other types of sport fishing. You’ll also find plenty of other water activities here.
Does Stuart, Florida, have a downtown?
Yes, Stuart, FL, has a great downtown area! The downtown area has been renovated to look as it did in the 1920s, so it’s full of charm. The anchor for the downtown are is the legendary Lyric Theatre.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO FLORIDA
- YOUR FLORIDA VACATION
- WEST PALM BEACH: 20 Family-Friendly Things To Do in West Palm Beach
- CAPE SAN BLAS: A Vacation Guide To The Forgotten Coast
- MARCO ISLAND: 16 Amazing Things To Do In Marco Island, Florida
- MIAMI: 27+ Things To Do In Miami With Kids
WHERE TO STAY IN STUART FL
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