The central focus of the town is the Town Square. The town was redeveloped in the 18th Century by Robert Barclay Allardice, whose name the two primary streets bear: Allardice Street and Barclay Street, both of which border the square. Robert Street is also named after him. Many other streets in the town bear the names of his close family - Mary Street, Anne Street, and the like. Stonehaven was also the birthplace of R. W. Thompson, inventor of the pneumatic tyre and the fountain pen, and was a holiday retreat of the poet, Robert Burns.
The town's primary industries are fishing and tourism, with Dunnottar Castle, the local landmark, bringing in a large quota of tourists every year. The castle, perched atop a rocky outcrop, was home to the Keith family, and during the Scottish Wars of Independence, the Scottish Crown Jewels were hidden there. More recently, it was used in the movie "Hamlet" (starring Mel Gibson) in the early 1990s. The castle is a prominent landmark and is normally visible on most leaflets (flyers) advertising Scotland.
The town has a beautiful and very long beach facing the cold North Sea, with large cliffs at either end sheltering small rock pools and inlets. It is also famous for its Olympic-sized outdoor swimming pool, which is heated and uses filtered seawater. Another attraction is the local harbour, which features the Tolbooth, the town's tiny museum of local heritage.
During Hogmanay festivities, the High Street comes alive with crowds watching the annual fireballs ceremony, in which huge balls of fire on chains are swung around the heads of volunteers walking down the High Street, after which they are thrown into the sea.
Stonehaven has grown rapidly since the oil boom in Aberdeen. The increasing demand for new, middle-class housing has seen three new estates being appended to the town, creating a large expanse of suburbs. This may eventually lead to the development of a second secondary school.