When visitors vacation in Florida, typically they set their GPS track for tourist-friendly destinations such as Orlando, Daytona, or the Keys. While these beautiful places are well worth a visit, consider spending some time in Jupiter, a quaint seaside city between Stuart and Palm Beach. Still considered a sleepy, suburban town, Jupiter locals graciously welcome guests and politely point out the area’s best attractions. With an unpretentious smile, “Jup” residents are well aware that their secret paradise is one of the most desirable addresses in South Florida luxury real estate. Whether visiting Jupiter in the warm winter or sizzling summer, be sure to add these fun activities to your itinerary.
Ready to explore the top things to see and do in Jupiter?
Completed in 1860, the Jupiter Lighthouse is perhaps the most recognized and revered landmark in Jupiter. Congress initially authorized construction for the lighthouse in 1853, but an unexpected malaria outbreak and Third Seminole War prolonged its progress. Today, the lighthouse remains a beacon of light for ships and is only one of thirteen 1st Order Fresnel Lenses in the nation. Guided tours are available daily, and current ticket prices are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and veterans, and $6 for children under the age of 18. Please note that children must be at least 48-inches tall to be allowed to climb up the lighthouse tower. In addition to tours, the Jupiter Lighthouse hosts a variety of weekly and annual events including Twilight Yoga, Wild & Scenic Film Festival, Sunset Tours, and Storytime for kids.
The site of the Loxahatchee Battlefield during the Second Seminole War, Riverbend Park in Jupiter offers a wide array of outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy. Located along the pristine Loxahatchee River, a designated National Wild and Scenic River, Riverbend Park spans across 665 acres and offers numerous on-site amenities such as 10-miles of hiking and biking trails; seven miles of equestrian trails; and five miles of canoeing, kayaking, or paddle-boarding along the river; and dock areas for freshwater fishing. Additionally, the park has three, expansive picnic pavilion areas, all equipped with grills, tables, and restrooms. Guests enjoy exploring the Indian middens, hiking the lake-to-ocean portion of the Old Florida Trail, and spending quality family time with each other in a beautiful setting.
A public facility, Carlin Park boasts 3,000 feet of guarded beachfront property. The gentle salt breezes, crystal blue water, and white sand shoreline at Jupiter Beach create an ideal environment for both recreation and relaxation. Park amenities include covered picnic pavilions, restrooms, playgrounds, bocce courts, softball fields, tennis courts, and an exercise trail. The beach itself is the perfect place to practice surfing, paddleboarding, or snorkeling. In fact, the northern end of guarded beachfront, near the Jupiter Civic Center, is one of Jupiter’s best snorkel spots. Here, the row of Anastasia rocks creates a natural reef that attracts a plethora of tropical fish, loggerhead turtles, and other types of marine life.
If you want to learn about Florida’s indigenous aqualife sans the sand and saltwater, visit the Loxahatchee River Center. Located at Burt Reynolds Park, the River Center is an outreach program of the Loxahatchee River District, a waste-management facility dedicated to keeping this designated Wild & Scenic River clean and clear of caustic chemicals and pollutants. Patrons can plan to spend approximately one hour touring the River Center, exploring its exhibits, learning about marine life, holding sea critters from the touch tank, and shopping in the nature gift store. The River Center hosts regular events such as a weekly story time, monthly homeschool outreach, fishing clinics, boat safety classes, environmental lectures, outdoor movies, summer camps, and volunteer programs.
With a direct focus on the conservation of Florida wildlife, Busch Wildlife Sanctuary aims to protect and rehabilitate wild animals, birds, and reptiles. The outdoor venue features temporary and permanent residents such as black bears, panthers, bobcats, alligators, crocodiles, opossums, foxes, turkey, deer, raccoons, otters, snakes, owls, parrots, hawks, and Bald Eagles to name a few. After rehabilitative care, temporary residents are released back into the wild. Most of the permanent residents, many of whom were kept as domestic pets and then neglected, are now unable to assimilate back into the wild. Busch Wildlife Sanctuary offers guided tours, education programs, summer programs, weekly storytime for toddlers, daily animal encounters and interactive seminars. Located off of Indian Creek Parkway, the non-profit organization operates with contributions and public grants. While the sanctuary does not charge guests an entry fee, donations are appreciated.