Boating in Jupiter, Florida
At the intersection of the Loxahatchee River lies the quiet town of Jupiter. An apt denouement to Hobe Sound, any casual visitor will notice straight away that Jupiter's demeanor has little in common with the flashier bits of Florida. Low-lying residencies adorned with pink and yellow hues have gently refused to give way to storied highrises of Southern Florida.
Jupiter's first inhabitants were the Jobe people, an aboriginal group of hunters and gatherers who set up camp on a shell mound at the south side of Jupiter Inlet, plying the river in dugout canoes. Their first contact with Europeans came when Ponce de Leon arrived in 1515 looking for dry firewood and drinking water. Ponce de Leon named one of the rivers after the Jobes, as was the custom among Spanish explorers. When the English arrived in 1763, they mistook the name to mean "Jove" and then named it to Jupiter, another name for the supreme god of the Romans.
Throughout its history, the area from Hobe Sound to Jupiter has had many false starts, including a pineapple plantation and a Florida version of Hollywood called Picture City. Into the 1940s, Jupiter Island was largely undeveloped. About 75 island residents decided to form a private equity ownership called the Island Club, which has evolved into America’s most expensive zip code. The late billionaire philanthropist John D. MacArthur created a trust that stipulates large tracts will remain undeveloped to avoid what he saw as “the destruction of paradise.” The convergence of those two histories has made this bit of Florida’s coast uniquely undeveloped and understanding of people who want to be left alone. The area is prime territory for sports celebrities such as Tiger Woods, who recently spent $38 million for one of the private estates that stretch from ocean to Intracoastal.
What to Do
From May to August be on the lookout for sea turtles. Traveling from as far as South America, the turtles lay about 100 eggs at night, then return to the sea, leaving the eggs to hatch in the warm sand. It takes two months for the eggs to hatch. Only one or two out of 100 eggs survives to maturity. The 2.1 square miles of Juno Beach have one of the highest concentrations of turtle nestings in the world at more than 1,000 per mile. Contact the Marinelife Center of Juno Beach (14200 U.S. Highway 1; 561-627-8280) or Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge (188 N Beach Road; 772-546-6141) to participate in turtle walks. Don't go it alone, you might damage the nesting areas.
The 11,000-acre Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Hobe Sound (16450 Southeast Federal Highway; 561-746-1466) was a top-secret radar training facility in World War II, selected for both its remoteness and its elevation. Hobe Mountain rises to 86 feet—nosebleed height by Florida standards. Hikers, bikers and canoeists will enjoy this 11,500-acre park, which includes a hiking trail that is 18 miles long,but there is also a short loop that can be completed in half a day. The park also has canoe rentals for paddling on the beautiful and wild Loxahatchee River.
The Jupiter Lighthouse, built in 1860, was originally white but was soon painted crimson to hide the sooty mildew that grew on its uneven surface. Its color was changed to a more natural “brick” during its renovation in 1999 and 2000. Today, the Loxahatchee Historical Society, (805 U.S. Highway 1; 561-747-6639) operates the lighthouse, which is open for tours Saturday through Wednesday. There is also a park around the base of the light with room for picnicking. You'll need to corral a tour guide to get on the property, so call ahead for hours of operation.
Palm Beach County offers phenomenal coral reef and outstanding wreck diving. Loggerhead Reef off Jupiter often ranks among the top 10 scuba sites in Florida. The waters off of Jupiter have more in common with the Caribbean than the Atlantic, and the abundance of angel fi sh, stingrays and snappers feeding off the coral ledges two miles off shore make for some excellent diving.
Burt Reynolds Park (561-966-6600) is on an island to the east of the ICW between R “10” and the 35-foot Indiantown Bridge at SM 1006.2. Small boats can make daylight use of its boat slips. The Loxahatchee River Historical Museum is on site. Here you can view artifacts from Native Americans and early settlers in a restored “cracker-style” house. Just north of the park is the Burt Reynolds & Friends Museum (100 North U.S. Highway 1; 561-743-9955). Here you can view autographed sports jerseys, the Bandit car, hats from “Mystery Alaska,” and a belt buckle from Gene Autry. How can you go wrong?
Where to Dine
Jupiter cuisine is squarely in the casual category. And sleepy as Jupiter might seem, the evening scene stays lively well into the night. And perhaps best of all, the culinary energy of Palm Beach manifests in this part of the county, so expect some pleasant surprises.
Harry and the Natives (11910 SE Federal Hwy.; 772-546-3061) serves breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as live music. This family-owned restaurant keeps it light starting right from the menu that boldly proclaims acceptable forms of payment: “Cash, Dishwashing, Honeydipping, Oceanfront Homes, Table Dancing, Our Gift Certifi cates, Visa, and MasterCard.”
Catfish—Florida’s other seafood—is the specialty at the Catfish House (11500 S.E. Federal Highway; 772-545-7733) in Hobe Sound. Try Taste of Culinary Adventure (11750 S.E. Dixie Highway; 772-546-1129) for something a bit more up-market. Originally gourmet takeout, Taste is now a fullservice restaurant serving lunch and dinner. In Jupiter, The Crab House (1065 N Highway; 561-744-1300) on the water facing the lighthouse has food as great as the view. Sinclair’s Ocean Grill (5 N Highway; 561-745-7120) in the Jupiter Beach Resort is exceptional. If you’re docked at Loggerhead Marina (2700 Donald Ross Road; 561-627-6358) at Frenchman’s Creek, don’t miss fashionable Ke’e Grill (14020 U.S.
Highway 1; 561-776-1167) or the casual Hurricane Café (14050 U.S. Highway 1; 561-630-2012).
Jupiter Seasport Marina is within walking distance of several eateries. For provisions, it would be best to call a cab for a ride to the Publix on U.S. 1, just under a mile away. The private club at Jonathan’s Landing Marina (SM 1006.8; 561-747-8980) in Jupiter has an onsite café, and it’s less than a mile from a huge Albertson’s supermarket.
Jupiter Inlet is somewhat passable since the navigation district increased maintenance dredging of the “sand trap” for beach renourishment on a yearly basis rather than every two or three years. Still, it should be considered a local knowledge, good weather, daylight-only inlet. The current is fast and unpredictable. Jupiter Inlet has a mean tidal range of 2.5 feet, but in the narrow channel it has been known to reach six knots. There are no marks in front of the jetties and the sand is in constant migration, so it is not of the inlet. Cruising boats should avoid it and instead chart a course to Fort Pierce Inlet to the north or Lake Worth Inlet to the south.
Navigation and Anchorage
Jupiter is a thriving outskirt of the Palm Beach area, wedged between multi-million-dollar waterfront homes and the sparsely populated, anchorage-laden Hobe Sound to the north. To the west, the Loxahatchee River merges with Jupiter Sound, which is routinely flushed by the Atlantic leaving often crystal clear water in its wake. Numerous marinas, the famous Jupiter Lighthouse, and expansive Burt Reynolds Park mark Jupiter as a perfect spot to spend a layover. The anchorage at Peck Lake (SM 992.2) is protected except in a southwest to northwest breeze. Leave the ICW south of Fl G 4s 12ft 4M “19” and head northeast carrying 10 feet near to shore. If your draft can handle it, treat yourself to a day anchored between Jupiter Island and the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge.
Around SM 995 you’ll enter South Jupiter Narrows with its intriguing oxbows, marked at its southern end by the Hobe Sound Bridge. There is a slow speed zone based on boat length to G “35” because of the presence of manatee.
Another good spot to set the hook is south of Jupiter Narrows between R “34” and Harbor Island. This is especially nice if you are ducking a northeast wind.
Shoals begin at Hell Gate R “52,” where Blowing Rocks Marina (561-746-3312) is to the west and Blowing Rocks Preserve is to the east. The shoals continue on the west to R “60” along with a slow speed zone. The current picks up near here as you begin to be squeezed into the narrow cut.
SM 1004 begins a no-wake zone to the opposite side of the inlet at SM 1006. Take note of the current as you approach the pair of Jupiter bridges at SM 1004.1 and SM 1004.8. The strong ebb may get you there sooner than you think. See the Bridge Table section in the front of the book for complete details.
It’s really shallow here to the west, which is obvious on a clear day at low tide, but not so obvious in other conditions, so stay to the channel. If you are entering one of the marinas on the western shore, be sure to call ahead for a careful description of any private aids to navigation.
In the Jupiter Inlet portion of the Loxahatchee River, Fl R 4s 16ft 3M “4” at SM 1005 and Fl R 4s 16ft 3M “8” caution that the ICW makes a 90-degree turn to the southeast to avoid the A1A and railroad bridges. Further south, plan to stop in at the beautiful Admirals Cove Marina (561-745-5930.)
Shoreside and Emergency Services
Airport: Palm Beach International Airport 561-471-7420
Bus: Greyhound Bus Lines 561-883-9636
Coast Guard: Lake Worth Inlet 561-844-4470 or VHF 16
ICW Conditions: 561-627-3386 or www.aicw.org
Police, Fire, Ambulance: 911
Marine Police: FWC 888-404-3922
—Dave’s Taxi 561-743-8642
—Checker Cab 561-741-8999
—Sea Tow 800-4SEATOW or VHF 16
—TowBoatU.S. 800-391-4869 or VHF 16