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5 Reasons To Live in One of Florida’s Best Small Towns

5 Reasons To Live in One of Florida’s Best Small Towns

Posted on: July 13, 2022
Read Time: 6 minutes

Located along the Treasure Coast of Florida lies the charming city of Stuart. Contrary to its quaint size, Stuart has a renowned reputation and is currently listed as #6 on Southern Living’s list of best small towns in the south. A place where you can immerse yourself in coastal history and explore many sights, Stuart is the type of town where locals know everyone’s name. Given the title of “America’s Happiest Seaside Town” by Coastal Living Magazine, see for yourself the top 5 reasons why locals are in love with their little slice of paradise.

roosevelt bridge after sunset in stuart
Image Credit Courtesy of Martin County Office of Tourism & Marketing

1. A Vibrant Downtown

This quintessential town may be small in size, but it is filled with charm. With much to see and do, Historic Downtown Stuart is a highlight of the area. Located directly off the St. Lucie River, this downtown has a variety of award-winning restaurants for every palate including, Café Martier, an eclectic modern European café and speakeasy, and The Gafford, a sophisticated American bistro offering a mouthwatering menu of fresh and locally sourced specials. Shop till you drop at local boutiques and stores such as, Matilda’s, Gumbo Limbo and O’ Sole Mio. If you are looking for a lively art scene, this downtown has a plethora of art galleries and music venues including the 95 year old Lyric Theater. Stop by this charming downtown on Sunday mornings to explore the local greenmarket, and enjoy music from local musicians at Rock’n Riverwalk, a weekly waterfront concert series. Between fabulous shops and dining, a lively art scene and mile of riverwalk, Downtown Stuart is a gem in this small town.

lookout tower at the house of refugees
Image Credit Courtesy of Martin County Office of Tourism & Marketing

2. 152 Years of History

In the center of Martin County, Florida, Stuart is a city that has a long and rich history. Founded in 1870, this town embodies authentic Florida history and is home to many historic landmarks. Located right on the coastline is The House of Refuge at Gilbert’s Bar, the oldest structure in all of Martin County. This former house once provided shelter for shipwreck survivors but now is used as a museum. Right up the road lies The Elliott Museum and the Historical Society of Martin County. The museum encompasses many local history exhibits pertaining to cars, artwork, baseball and more. Just two of many historical attractions, learn all about the history that makes this town so unique.

pier at hutchinson island during sunset in Stuart
Image Credit Courtesy of Martin County Office of Tourism & Marketing

3. Gorgeous Scenery

Located in the heart of Martin County, Stuart is home to breathtaking waterways and pristine beaches. Connected to the surrounding areas via bridges, there is a surplus of waterfront views. Feeding out to into the Atlantic Ocean, St. Lucie Inlet and Indian River Lagoon have several small islands and sandbars meant for gathering and exploration. The long shorelines of pristine beaches on Hutchinson Island are undoubtedly what draws people to Stuart. Clear waters and sunny weather make every day feel like a vacation. The barrier island also encompasses a wide variety of tropical wildlife, such as sea turtles, manatees, herons and egrets. Its lush landscape consists of gorgeous mangrove forests and untouched estuaries. Stuart is truly a nature lover’s dream. Tropical scenery and seemingly endless waterfront views transform this unassuming town into a scenic resort-style area.

fish swimming in the ocean

4. Sailfish Capital of The World

A hotspot for deep-sea fishing, Sailfish Alley runs from Fort Pierce all the way down to the Palm Beaches. Located right in the middle of this oceanic phenomenon is Stuart, the “Sailfish Capital of the World”. Popular for sportfishing, Stuart has an abundance of sailfish, tarpon, lobster, snook, and more just yards from the shore. Between the St. Lucie River, Indian River Lagoon and Atlantic Ocean, there are a wide variety of places to boat and fish. For those longing for adventure, the Bahamas are only 55 nautical miles away by water. Whether you’re deep-sea fishing for sailfish or kayaking around the river, there are an infinite amount of ways to be active on the water.

worth avenue entrance in palm beach

5. Central Location

Stuart, Florida is the centermost point of Martin County. Surrounded by smaller adjacent cities such as Palm City and Jensen Beach, this area is a suburb for The Palm Beaches. A vibrant area with many attractions, shopping and dining, The Palm Beaches are a gateway to all things luxury. There is something that will pique everyone’s interest whether you’re exploring iconic Worth Avenue, visiting The Breakers Palm Beach, a historic landmark hotel, or taking in the lively and colorful ambiance of this famous area. Approximately an hour away from Stuart, take advantage of all this lively area has to offer while still embracing small-town living.

Located on the shoreline of the St. Lucie River, Harbour Ridge offers the very best of boating and golf course living. The 45,000 square foot Clubhouse is the heart of the community, designed to take full advantage of the stunning panoramic vistas of the St. Lucie River. Residents can also entertain themselves at the Lakeside Lifestyle Center, home to a Peter Burwash International-managed tennis program with nine Har-Tru courts, eight pickleball courts, a spacious fitness center, a full-service spa, barbershop, and physical therapy. Harbour Ridge also features two USGA recognized championship golf courses: The River Ridge, a Pete & P.B. Dye designed course with tropical landscapes and vistas that can be played from any of the five sets of tees, and the Golden Marsh, a Bobby-Weed designed course with tropical charm, swaying palms, and sweeping vistas. Three private marinas on-site provide a combined total of 98 slips for boats up to 80 feet in length.

The wide variety of homes for sale within the Harbour Ridge community offers varying price points and styles to suit every need. All single-family homes and condominiums have stunning views of the St. Lucie River, lakes golf courses, or nature preserves. Move-in-ready rental residences are also available for seasonal residents. Our complimentary digital brochure shares an even closer look at the amenities and lifestyle offered within this waterfront community. Visit HarbourRidge.com or call 772-336-3000 for more information.

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