Gilbert’s Bar House of Refuge is a required stop when visiting Martin County. The House, originally constructed in 1876, is the only remaining house of refuge in Florida.

It served as a lookout for distressed ships and a place stranded sailors could rest. The House was restored in 1976, as part of its 100th anniversary, to resemble the original design. Now operated by the Elliott Museum, it serves as Stuart’s oldest landmark.

This is the meeting point of the sandy beaches to the north and the rocky beaches to the south. Wear shoes or sandals if you plan on exploring.

Because of the rocky coastline, the only people you might see in the water are surfers. The rocks, along with the curving of the coast here, create excellent waves under the right conditions.

If you plan to swim here, use extreme caution entering and exiting. The waves can slam you against the rocks. Also, large schools of baitfish collect close to shore, so avoid swimming at dawn and dusk. Predators feed early and late, so be smart and swim during the day.

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House of Refuge This is the oldest house of refuge in Florida.
Come explore!
The House is operated by the Elliott Museum
Bring your shoes.

History of Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge

Don't swim at sunrise and sunset.
The House was originally built in 1876.
Copyright © 2003 David Stanton   Site Map