If you want to visit Jupiter Florida like a local, you’ve come to the right place.
Here are my totally honest tips for the best things to do in Jupiter. This beautiful spot in Palm Beach County on Florida’s Atlantic coast has attracted the rich and famous for decades. But there’s plenty of free or low-cost fun for everyone. Even your dog!
Top 10 Things to Do in Jupiter Florida
- Boat Tour of Jupiter Inlet.
- Dog-friendly Jupiter beach.
- Other beautiful beaches in Jupiter.
- Visit the Jupiter Lighthouse.
- Loggerhead Turtle Rescue.
- Go Wild at Busch Wildlife Center.
- Hike, Bike or Kayak on the Loxahatchee River.
- Live Theater and Concerts.
- Eat Seafood with a Sea View.
- Hang out in a Tiki Bar.
Living the ‘Jup’ Life
Jupiter is less than a two-hour drive north of Miami. People try hard to maintain the friendly vibe of a small beach town. Longtime residents bemoan the influx of upscale homebuyers, drawn by the coastal beauty and top-rated schools. Many celebrities and championship athletes have called this area home, including Celine Dion, Michael Jordan, Olivia Newton-John, and Tiger Woods (and his mom).
Local voters fight attempts by developers to build more high-rises. The results have been mixed, but it’s still more like Margaritaville than Boca Raton. People here aren’t shy about flying the flag or supporting law enforcement.
In short, it’s a great place to live but also a fun place to vacation. Some of the activities listed here spill over into the neighboring communities of Juno Beach and Tequesta, but it’s all part of the ‘Jup’ life.
1. Jupiter Inlet Boat Tour with Flying Lady
It’s amazing how many homes in Jupiter have boat docks. But if you didn’t BYOB (Bring Your Own Boat) a tour of Jupiter Inlet with the Flying Lady is the next best thing. Tours leave from the dock behind Guanabanas Island Restaurant. There’s bottled water on board, and you’re welcome to bring your own drinks and snacks.
But the best part is the commentary from Captain Dave on the mansions and yachts that line the shores. We passed Tiger Woods’ compound on Jupiter Island and countless others. Each property has a story to tell as the descendants of America’s “old money” families are selling out to internet billionaires and celebrities.
2. Dog-friendly Jupiter Beach
If you’re going to the beach in Jupiter the first question is: Dogs? Or no dogs?
If you are on Team Dog, head for the 2.5 mile-long stretch of sand that is north of Marcinski Road to crossover marker #57, south of Carlin Park. Don’t forget your poop bags. Well-socialized, obedient dogs are welcome to frolic off-leash. Friends of Jupiter Beach is a non-profit group of volunteers that works hard to keep the beach clean. Click here for a video of some of my neighbors who enjoy the beach with their dogs every day.
3. More Beaches in Jupiter Florida
Snowbirds and locals enjoy the dog-free beach north of the Juno Pier and south of Marcinski Road. There’s an admission charge to walk on the pier or fish. Farther to the north at the end of Indiantown Road, you’ll find Carlin Park. It has a beautiful stretch of sand adjoining a sprawling recreation area with picnic tables, tennis, pickleball, volleyball and a huge parking lot.
Stranger Danger: Despite a visible police presence, law enforcement can’t be everywhere. Lock your car at the beach and don’t leave any valuables in plain sight.
Dubois Park has a lifeguarded snorkeling lagoon. For a bit of coastal history, take a free tour of the historic Dubois Pioneer Home to see an example of an early example of how self-sufficient pioneers lived here in the days before air conditioning. It is built on an ancient shell mound constructed by the indigenous Jeaga people.
The Blowing Rocks Preserve on Jupiter island is a natural wonder. At high tide, strong waves crash against the rocks and shoot 50 feet up into the air. The most dramatic surf is on windy days in the winter months at high tide. Free parking, requested donation of $2 per person for preservation efforts by the Nature Conservancy.
Visit Jupiter Lighthouse
For a spectacular view, climb the 105 steps to the top of Jupiter Lighthouse. Children must be more than four feet tall to climb on their own, carrying your kids is not allowed. Shoes are required but high heels are not permitted. No tripods or selfie sticks, and no food or drink except water.
Check the website for the current prices and special events. Opening times can be quirky due to a seemingly endless bridge construction project on the inlet. The navigation beam is not visible at the moment because the historic Fresnel lens has been wrapped for protection.
Loggerhead Marinelife Center Turtle Rescue
My favorite fun, free and educational activity is just outside Jupiter in neighboring Juno Beach. Besides injured loggerhead turtles in recovery tanks, there are lots of other species on display. From sharks to seahorses to jellyfish. Don’t miss the very cute gift shop for beachy souvenirs to take home! Opening times, tours and special events are on the website.
Go Wild at the Busch Wildlife Center
Go wild by going inland to the Busch Wildlife Center. Frankly, I was surprised not to find more animals here. But it’s a wildlife hospital, not a zoo. They have recently moved to a larger facility in Jupiter Farms just off Indiantown Road at 17855 Rocky Pines Road. Check the website for the latest info. Admission is free, but donate what you can as you enter through the gift shop. They’ll give you a receipt.
Hike, Bike or Kayak in Riverbend Park
A little farther inland (past I-95 and the turnpike) you’ll find Riverbend Park. You can rent bikes, kayaks or standup paddle boards from the Jupiter Outdoor Center inside the park. Or just walk the 10 miles of historic trails and admire the natural surroundings of “Old Florida” along the Wild and Scenic Loxahatchee River.
Live Theater and Concerts in Jupiter Florida
During season, check what’s on the schedule at the Maltz Jupiter Theater near Carlin Park. To locals, it will always be thought of as the Burt Reynolds theater. The 1970s film star lived in the area for many years, supporting local performers. There is still a waterfront park named after him.
For free outdoor concerts during the season by popular tribute bands, check the offerings at Abacoa Town Center and Carlin Park Seabreeze Amphitheater. Bring your lawn chair and a picnic! The newly reopened Double Roads bar and restaurant pays homage to live music of all kinds.
Eat Seafood with a Sea View
Other scenic dining spots offer marina views along the intracoastal. But you’ll also find some memorable food in strip malls. There are so many worth trying that it’s hard to come up with a definitive list. Locals enjoy the Twisted Tuna and Little Moir’s Food Shack. The Hogsnapper (a fish, not a pig) in Tequesta serves up artisan seafood in the laid-back atmosphere of an indoor tiki hut.
Hang Out at a Tiki Bar
For an outdoor Florida ambience, you can’t beat the Dune Dog. This local institution in a tiki hut on busy alternate A1A highway is known for its hot dogs, seafood sandwiches and cold beer. Nightly specials — and even a kids’ night — keep the regulars coming back.
Living in Jupiter has turned us into early-bird diners. We get up at the crack of dawn to enjoy the breakfast with local ingredients at the Berry Fresh Cafe. Its patio is dog-friendly. Other classic breakfast spots are the Nook, the Juno Beach Cafe and the Lighthouse Diner in Tequesta. And we plan for an early dinner between 4:30 or 6pm to snag happy hour prices and avoid waiting for a table.
The most Florida thing is to visit a Publix supermarket deli counter for a “pub sub.” Take your sandwich and drinks to a picnic table near the beach and enjoy the ‘Jup’ life on a budget!
Terry’s Travel Tips
When to Visit Jupiter Florida: The busiest time is the “season” when snowbirds flock to the Florida Coast to enjoy the mild winter weather. It lasts roughly from late November (Thanksgiving) to April (Easter). If you don’t mind heat and humidity, you can also enjoy the summer months when locals have the place to themselves. For an alternative summer destination, check out my guide to Nantucket.
Stranger Danger: Summer/fall is also hurricane season, which begins June 1. The most active time is late August into September, but as late as Halloween. Jupiter has dodged a direct hit in recent years, but keep an eye on the tropics and be prepared to change your plans.
How to Get to Jupiter Florida: The closest airport is West Palm Beach (PBI). Cheaper flights land at Fort Lauderdale (FTL) and Miami (MIA) airports.
Public transit isn’t very helpful in these parts, so you will need to rent a car. I always check the car rental deals on Auto Europe to compare all the rental companies and get the best price. Yes, they also do rentals in the USA.
Where to Stay in Jupiter Florida
The high end choices are the the Wyndham Grand in Harbourside Place, where you’ll have a choice of nearby restaurants along the intracoastal including Tommy Bahama and Tiger Woods’ steakhouse. The newly renovated Jupiter Beach Resort is dog-friendly but not beloved by locals, due to its mandatory valet parking for a fee. Jupiter Reef Club rents ‘villas’ on the beach with a one-week minimum stay.
For longer stays I can highly recommend a vacation rental at the PGA National Resort in nearby Palm Beach Gardens. I stayed there for two months before moving into my Jupiter home. We loved the access to golf and a top-notch tennis/fitness center. Speaking of golf, the Golf Club of Jupiter and Abacoa’s golf course are open to the public.
Around town, you’ll find outposts of most of the major hotel chains, just nothing that’s on the beach, so again you’ll need a car. The Jupiter Waterfront Inn is considered a good value on the intracoastal waterway.
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