Known as “The Sailfish Capital of the World,” Stuart is located along the Atlantic Coast of Florida, north of West Palm Beach and just south of Port St. Lucie. This area of Florida is also known as “The Treasure Coast” because so many ships have been lost here fighting to survive storms over the years.
The area that would eventually become Stuart was once noted as “Gilbert’s Bar” on nautical charts after the famous pirate, Pedro Gilbert. Legend has it that Gilbert would use the large sandbar outside of Stuart to hide his ship before chasing down and looting merchant ships.
In 1893, the area was named Potsdam by local landowner Otto Sypmann, who was originally from Potsdam, Germany. It was then renamed after Homer Hine Stuart, Jr. in 1895, following the completion of the Florida East Coast Railway.
Stuart is a very small town by pretty much anyone’s standards. It reported a population of 15,593 during the 2010 census, and that number was estimated to have grown to 16,462 in 2015.
Out of the 7,220 households recorded in the 2010 census, only 15% of them reported having children under the age of 18. On the flip side, 26.1% of those households contained someone 65 or older. Those numbers are similar for the overall population with 14.5% under the age of 18 and 32.9% over the age of 65.
The median income for a household in Stuart is $35,954, and the cost of living is considered to be slightly lower than the national average.
You aren’t likely to find any Pirates strolling through Stuart these days, but the lifestyle here still starts and ends with the beach and the water. On any given day, you are almost certain to find residents enjoying themselves at Stuart Beach, Sandsprit Park, and Bathtub Reef.
If you are looking to explore some inland waterways or take in some local wildlife, Halpatiokee Regional Park is definitely the place you are going to want to start. And don’t forget about all of the local fishing charter companies that will gladly show you why Stuart is known as “The Sailfish Capital of the World!”
One of the most interesting museums in Stuart is The House of Refuge Museum, which is the former site of Gilbert’s Bar House of Refuge. This historic building has weathered more than its fair share of storms over the years while providing a safe haven for sailors whose ships were not so fortunate.
There are also a collection of artists in Stuart who work out of the Fish House Art Center just a few miles south of town. This is the place where you will find all different types of classes taught by some truly inspiring people.
Like most small towns, Stuart offers a collection of boutique shops and independent businesses that carry a wide range of handmade crafts and other unique products. You can start you shopping trip in City Hall parking lot and head down SW Osceola Street on foot.
You’ll also want to check out the Stuart Green Market in the City Hall parking lot every Sunday from 9 am to 1 pm. Here you will find a complete farmers’ market and more!
As a small town located along the Atlantic Coast of Florida, the dining scene in Stuart is definitely focused around seafood. One of the favorite local spots to grab some crab legs and listen to a live band is Gettin Crabby on SE Salerno Road. They might have the best blue crabs in all of Florida.
If oysters are your seafood of choice, then Riverwalk Cafe & Oyster Bar is going to be your favorite restaurant in town. They offer a great selection of oysters on the half shell, as well as Oysters Romanoff, Oysters Rocka”Feder,” Cornmeal Crusted Fried Oysters, and Oyster Stew.
Another great oyster spot is District Table & Bar. However, you are going to want to order more than just oysters here because the food is out of this world. This is one of those places where the menu is constantly evolving, so you probably want to try whatever special they are currently serving!
Stuart Area Communities
Just outside of Stuart in Port St. Lucie you’ll find Vitalia at Tradition, which offers the ultimate active adult lifestyle. From the welcoming palm-lush and Mediterranean-inspired entrance to the passionate attention to detail in every resident home, Vitalia at Tradition has taken the art and science of resident-centered community planning to new levels.
With bicycles and golf carts as the preferred method of transportation, active adult residents can join friends within the neighborhood or explore the vast 8,300 acres of Tradition. While the scale may be large, the feel is still small town America with a Town Hall, boutique restaurants and shops, spas and salons, along with the town center, Tradition Square. It’s the lively hub where residents gather for year-round events, entertainment, and concerts.
For those who want to stay in to enjoy the quaintness of their own neighborhood, Vitalia unveiled an outstanding 24,000-square-foot clubhouse encompassing everything from tennis and bocce courts to great lawn with fire pits and a putting green to a ballroom, fitness rooms and more! The Captiva Club is a private lakefront facility offering year-round recreation and social activities for Vitalia residents, complementing an active lifestyle.
Whether you are looking for a great little place right in Stuart or a home in one of the nearby communities like Vitalia at Tradition, having access to the lifestyle, culture, shopping, and dining in Stuart is a fantastic way to enjoy life.