Before the area was settled by Europeans in 1870, it experienced many decades of shipwrecks and pirating. Stuart is part of the state's Treasure Coast, a name that came in part from the Spanish galleons that wrecked here and dropped huge amounts of gold and silver. Early in its settlement history, the area was called Potsdam, a name that was chosen by a resident who'd come from Germany. In 1895, it was renamed Stuart to honor Homer Hine Stuart Jr. who owned more than 150 acres of land around the railroad station. Stuart was incorporated as a town in 1914 and then became a city and county seat in 1925. Today, it's a popular tourist destination due to its great location near the Indian River Lagoon and the 35-mile St. Lucie River.
One of the most well-known historical spots near Stuart is Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge. This site was originally established in 1875 as a United States Lifesaving Station. Located on Hutchinson Island, it's the oldest building in the county and the last remaining station of its kind on Florida's coast. The structure is currently leased to the Martin County Historical Society, which operates it as a museum with dated life-saving devices and keeper's quarters. Stuart's Krueger House, built in 1894, is another nationally recognized historic site on the Burn Brae Plantation.
Don't forget to check out the Tropical Ranch Botanical Garden on SW Ranch Trail. This garden is open to the public Saturday and Sunday free of charge. It has several unusual and exciting plants beautifully placed around its nine themed areas. The owners promote environmentally friendly gardening practices like water conservation and runoff reduction that they hope to instill in local homeowners.
Road Runner Travel Resort in Fort Pierce is a family-oriented campground with a market, restaurant and small golf course. Along with plenty of walking and cycling trails, you'll also have access to the nearby Kennedy Space Center and Disney World. Rates for short-term visitors start at $48 a night. If you're at least 55 years old, you should check out PSL Village RV Park in Port St. Lucie. This site is ideal for daily and weekly campers who are interested in walks along the lake, river cruises and fishing charters. Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Hobe Sound has 147 well-maintained and family-friendly campsites. Enjoy an abundance of recreational activities like geocaching, fishing, boating, mountain biking, kayaking and horseback riding. The sites are affordable and not far from the prominent city of Jupiter.
Jonathan Dickinson State Park opened in 1950 and has since become a popular spot for nature watching, interpretive boat tours and motorboating. The park has two historical sites, a nature center and an ancient dune called Hobe Mountain. The adjacent Wild and Scenic Loxahatchee River is a hotspot for kayaking, canoeing and paddleboarding. Instead of visiting in the summer, plan your trip in the winter to take advantage of excellent deals on local activities and lodging options.
Sebastian Inlet State Park has two museums, a 3-mile beach and a fun multi-use trail. The sandy beach has a convenient boat ramp and is perfect for swimming, building sandcastles, lounging and sunbathing. Experienced surfers don't want to miss out on tackling the First Peak and Monster Hole waves. The Indian River Lagoon, on the other hand, is calm and great for kayaking and canoeing. During the summer, rangers hold a program where you can watch loggerhead sea turtles make their nests.
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park has several endangered species as well as other common Florida wildlife like deer, parakeets and alligators. The park boasts more than 100 miles of trails that allow both hiking and horseback riding. These paths will take you through dry prairies, wetlands and beautiful shady hammocks. Ranger-led buggy tours are available to visitors interested in seeing the park's most remote areas. Beat the heat and make sure you get one of the 35 RV campsites by stopping by in the winter or spring.
Big Cypress National Preserve is responsible for more than 729,000 acres of tropical landscape and estuaries. This preserve provides the freshwater that's essential to the flora and fauna found in the Everglades. Along with having a diverse landscape full of pines, prairies and mangroves, you may also see sand cranes, manatees and other fascinating creatures in their natural habitat. Those looking for a challenge should check out the 29.5-mile Florida Trail. Ranging from moderate to difficult, this path runs over various terrains and even through waist-high waters.
The 25-mile Canaveral National Seashore has an exceptional view of the Kennedy Space Center's rocket launches. This untouched portion of the Florida coast is great for ocean swimming, peaceful paddling and historic exploration. The Seminole Rest Trail, for example, encourages you to learn more about local Native American history and the European settlers that came after. Be sure to head over to the Kennedy Space Center at least once during your trip to see the rocket garden, visitor complex and massive Saturn V Rocket.
Back in 1539, Spanish soldiers traversed the state looking for gold and fortune. The De Soto National Memorial marks a decisive point when the conquistadors arrived and started a long war with the Native Americans. Find out more about the period by visiting Camp Uzita, a living history museum open between December and April. Historic reenactors will teach you about indigenous crafts and culture from the 1500s. The Tabby House Ruins, another historic site in the memorial, is a popular archeological structure made of an intriguing combination of oyster shells, sand and lime.
Ocala National Forest stretches across 387,000 acres in Central Florida. It has four protected wilderness areas, two prominent rivers and over 600 streams, lakes and ponds. The abundant forest is full of foxes, otters, black bears and tortoises. While a majority of this national forest is woodland, there are also swamps, pine flatwoods, oak hammocks, and sandhills. Lake Kerr and Lake George are known to have plenty of bass while animals like panfish are common in the smaller lakes. Stargazing is particularly popular due to the Crosby Observatory over in Orlando, which has a refractor telescope.
History buffs will want to take their time exploring Osceola National Forest, where one of Florida's most significant Civil War battles took place. There are 29 endangered or threatened species that call the forest home, like wood storks and eastern indigo snakes. Osceola allows you to fish from lakes, streams and borrow pits. The 1,760-acre Ocean Point lake is a wonderful spot for crappie, bluegill, warmouth and largemouth bass fishing. While several geocaches crafted to look like lighthouses and submarines were placed in the forest several years ago, many of these have disappeared with time. New geocaches have likely been placed more recently. There's a campground by Ocean Point but you can also primitive camp for up to 14 days.
Apalachicola National Forest offers year-round fishing opportunities, bird-watching, stargazing and camping. Created in 1932, this 632,890-acre forest has more than 1,500 types of plants that include trees like bluejack oaks, palmetto and longleaf as well as six kinds of pitcher species. While many visitors head to Silver Lake to stargaze due to the convenient parking lot, Dog Lake provides a more thrilling and isolated experience. Tallahassee, the capital city of Florida, isn't far from the forest and offers ample camping supplies, entertainment options and premium restaurant experiences. There's no fee to enter this forest, but you may need to get certain permits to camp or stay at the available day-use areas.
Biscayne National Park is a little over two hours away on Florida's southeastern edge. Spanning more than 172,000 acres, this national park is home to a lush tropical landscape just outside of Miami. Many of the park's best features are only accessible via boat like the thriving seagrass ecosystem and snorkeling destinations. Divers can even see shipwrecks in the shallow waters covered with barnacles and sea growth. High humidity levels and tropical thunderstorms are common during the summer months. Consider scheduling your visit in the off-season, and always check the weather on the day of your trip.
Everglades National Park encompasses 1.5 million acres and is the largest wilderness to the east of the Mississippi River. About 150 miles away from Stuart, the Everglades is one of the top three largest national parks in the country. Florida panthers, manatees, American crocodiles and more roam the park's marshes, flatwoods and mangrove swamps. A million people head here every year to bird-watch, backcountry camp, take airboat tours and hike. There are two campgrounds open seasonally that have amenities like dump stations, picnic tables and showers. Be sure to wear light clothing to beat the heat and plenty of bug spray and sunscreen.
You'll have to travel five hours down to Sea West before taking a boat or seaplane over to Dry Tortugas National Park. Unlike other parks, this one is composed entirely of islands and coral reefs in the Florida Strait. Explorers don't want to miss out on touring the awe-inspiring Fort Jefferson from the 19th century. Many scuba divers enjoy watching the sea turtles or checking out the Windjammer Wreck, which is only 20 feet below the water’s surface. You can also boat, swim, paddle, sunbathe or take part in a ranger-led activity. While RV camping isn't an option here, you can still tent camp over at the primitive Garden Key.
Motorhomes are divided into Class A, B, and C vehicles. On average expect to pay $185 per night for Class A, $149 per night for Class B and $179 per night for Class C. Towable RVs include 5th Wheel, Travel Trailers, Popups, and Toy Hauler. On average, in Stuart, FL, the 5th Wheel trailer starts at $70 per night. Pricing for the Travel Trailer begins at $60 per night, and the Popup Trailer starts at $65 per night.Do you need to be a certain age to rent an RV in Stuart?
Yes. The minimum age is 25 to be eligible to get an RV Rental in Stuart from RVshare.Does RVshare have emergency roadside assistance?
Yes. Every RV rental booked through RVshare receives 24/7 emergency roadside assistance.Does RVshare offer one way RV rentals in Stuart?
Yes. Prior to renting any RV, check with the owner since not all will offer this particular option.