As destinations go, Florida is really hard to beat.
Seriously, what is not to like about a state that is practically wrapped in pearly white sand beaches and dense mangroves, offers an ideal climate and an expansive list of sporting and cultural opportunities.
And then there’s Sailfish Point.
A little more than two hours north of Miami, Sailfish Point is a private community situated at the south end of Hutchinson Island — a narrow strip of barrier island facing the Atlantic.
Vast public beaches and lush vegetation fill the peripheral as A1A splits the island down the middle before turning west to the mainland.
For the uninitiated, Sailfish Point has long been one of Florida’s most exclusive private communities. Just minutes from the seaside town of Stuart, the community offers well appointed homes, a tennis complex, a 7,088-yard, par-72 Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course and captivating views of the Atlantic Ocean, Indian River and St. Lucie Inlet.
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Sailfish Point also boasts one of the finest private yacht clubs in Florida, and a launchpoint of year-round fishing adventures. The full-service, deepwater marina offers 77 slips and can accommodate vessels up to 125 feet in length.
For Giselle and John Sexsmith, Sailfish Point has been home for 27 years. They’ve raised a family here, and it continues to grow.
“Our oldest [son], Jeremy, met and married his wife, our neighbor’s daughter,” said Giselle Sexsmith. “Our youngest has had a boat in the marina since he was nine. The easy access to deepsea fishing is unparalled.”
And did we mention this area is the sailfish capital of the world?
Not just Florida or the nation, but the world. Many a fishing story has originated from this storied region. It’s enough to wonder why Ernest Hemingway ever bothered with Key West and didn’t plant a flag near Stuart.
Sailfish, long and muscular with a tall dorsal fin, are one of the most powerful fish in the ocean, and range in size from 5.7 to 11 feet in length. They can reach speeds up to 68 miles per hour and are difficult to catch for two reasons. Not only must a fisherman bait the fish, but once on the line, reeling a sailfish in is no easy task.
The initial hit is ferocious. The reel makes a high-pitched whine as line leaves the spool at a rapid rate. Then the sparring begins. The winner between man and fish is often the one who wears the other out first.
At Sailfish Point, fast access to water is an amenitiy. The Bahamas are only 75 miles away, and give members a fun cruise to the islands. Sailfish Point’s staff can arrange anything from private cruises to fishing tournaments.
“For the fishing here from Sailfish Point, you couldn’t pick a better location,” harbormaster Stan Giesey told Sailfish Point. “Our access to the Gulf stream is second to none.”
Sailfish Point sits smack dab in the heart of Sailfish Alley along the Treasure Coast — an area along Florida’s east coast made up of quaint towns and public beaches. The name comes from a Spanish treasure fleet that lost its bounty in a 1715 hurricane.
While the winter months mean prime fishing, sailfish are caught year around. And when pompano, tarpon, mahi mahi and snook aren’t running, there is Nicklaus' 18-hole course to play. Ranked third among residential courses in south Florida and 47th nationwide by Golfweek in 2017, plush fairways hug the contours of the island.
“You have the Atlantic Ocean on one side, the St. Lucie on one side and the river on the other side, so the wow factor is huge,” Victor Tortorici, director of golf, told Sailfish Point. “You have no place on the east coast of Florida that’s as close to the ocean as we are.”
Up for big game fishing with a little golf thrown in for good measure? This is the place.
Patrick Rhyne has spent the last 20 years building luxury and private community brands across the United States, Mexico and Caribbean. He lives in Asheville, N.C.