Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- 1. Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum
- 2. Loggerhead Marinelife Center
- 3. Busch Wildlife Sanctuary
- 4. Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium
- 5. Juno Beach Pier
- 6. Surf City
- 7. Loxahatchee River Center
- 8. Kayak the Loxahatchee River
- 9. Jupiter Beach Park
- 10. Carlin Park
- 11. Dubois Park
- 12. Harbourside Place
- 13. Beachfront Lodging
- 14. Waterfront Dining
The charming beach town of Jupiter, Florida, is home to only 65,000 people. An hour north of Fort Lauderdale, it feels like a world away from the pricey real estate and spring break shenanigans of its naughty southern neighbor. Another reason why Jupiter is notable? It’s home to the largest cluster of professional golfers in the country. Perfect weather, quiet beaches, and magnificent golf courses. It’s no wonder 35 PGA Tour pros live there, including Tiger Woods. But you don’t have to be a professional golfer or millionaire to enjoy this family friendly hot spot, 20 miles north of Palm Beach. Here are 14 fun things to do in Jupiter FL with kids.
When it comes to family-friendly vacation destinations, Florida tops the list. Orlando, Miami, Tampa, Cape Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale, the Florida Keys. All popular choices. Yet there’s a lot more to the state than those top tourist destinations. Florida’s filled with hidden gems— sleepy beach and fishing towns that are largely undiscovered. Jupiter, the northernmost town in Palm Beach County and part of The Palm Beaches area, is one of Florida’s best kept secrets. Here are my 14 favorite things to do in Jupiter FL.
1. Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum
The iconic red Jupiter lighthouse has guided boaters since 1860! For a bird’s-eye view of Jupiter, Jupiter Island, and the Atlantic Ocean, kids 48” and taller can climb the 105 steps. There’s a fee for climbing and kids under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Daily guided tours are offered at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. There’s plenty of information in the waterfront History Museum located in the adjacent and restored World War II Naval housing quarters building.
What locals call the “turtle hospital” has a simple mission: “To promote conservation of ocean ecosystems with a special focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles.” This must-see stop for kids includes a permanent indoor exhibit area. Outside, turtles are recuperating in large tanks. Volunteers gladly share information on each of the injured turtles.
3. Busch Wildlife Sanctuary
Curious about the difference between an alligator and a crocodile? Eager to learn more about Florida’s wildlife and eco-system? This refuge and nature center for Florida wildlife has kid-friendly trails through woods & wetlands. Most importantly, call or check the website to plan your visit around one of the daily free “Animal Encounters.” Your kids can have a wild adventure learning about and petting skunks, snakes and more.
4. Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium
Another fun thing to do in Jupiter? Stop by this baseball stadium in nearby Abacoa. It’s named after Roger Houston Dean, a naval officer in World War II and one of the first Ford mega-car dealers in the USA. Catching a game here with a sports-loving kid is sure to be a home run. The Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals play here during spring training. The rest of the year, it’s the only stadium in the country that is home to four minor league baseball teams.
Looking for more fun things to do in Jupiter? Spend an afternoon fishing off this classic Florida pier. These are the family vacation memories that stay with you for life. You’ll need to buy a fishing license, but you can rent fishing poles on the pier. In addition, there’s a gift shop, snack stand and place to buy tackle and bait.
6. Surf City
Known as one of Florida’s surf capitals, one of the great things to do in Jupiter is checking out the surfers at Juno Beach Pier or the beaches of Dubois Park. Jupiter’s home to several surf shops where you can rent a board for the day or hire someone for a guided lesson.
7. Loxahatchee River Center
The Loxahatchee River Center has more than 6,000 gallons of fresh and saltwater aquariums, including touch tanks. Each of the exhibits represents a different habitat located along the Loxahatchee, one of two “National Wild and Scenic Rivers” in Florida. (The other is the Wekiva River north of Orlando.)
8. Kayak the Loxahatchee River
Kayaking the Loxahatchee River is one of the best ways to see Old Florida up close. It can take five hours or more to make the eight-mile trip from Riverbend Park in Jupiter to Jonathan Dickenson State Park, the largest state park in southeast Florida. But there are easy, kid-friendly 1-2 hour paddles as well. The river is lined with cypress trees, ferns, airplants and cypress knees along a narrow, twisty route. Expect to see birds, turtles and alligators along the way. On the longer kayaking trip, stop at Trapper Nelson’s camp to explore and enjoy a picnic lunch. If you prefer to do let someone else do the boating, book a river ride on the Manatee Queen pontoon boat instead.
9. Jupiter Beach Park
The oceanfront beach park has a protected swimming area with lifeguards, sand volleyball courts and picnic sites with grills.
10. Carlin Park
Another beachfront park, this one has a playground, tennis courts, picnic areas, shower, restrooms and the Seabreeze Amplitheater. It’s the place for summer Shakespeare in the park, an annual seafood festival and free summer concerts.
11. Dubois Park
This park at the southern shore of the inlet is surrounded by palm trees. In addition to watching the surfers (see #6 above), DuBois Park has swimming areas, picnic facilities and the DuBois Pioneer home, built in 1898. It’s a fun way to get out of the sun for a few minutes and show your kids how frontier kids lived.
12. Harbourside Place
This shopping, dining and entertainment mecca sits on the Intercoastal Waterway. It offers free music performances and kids yoga classes.
13. Beachfront Lodging
Jupiter Beach Resort and Spa is the only oceanfront hotel in Jupiter. Needless to say, this makes it the BEST option for families. Besides beautiful beaches, the resort has plenty of great things to do. There’s a fun pool where fountains spray water and a sublime waterfall hot tub overlooking the ocean.
The hotel’s oceanfront restaurant, Sinclairs, specializes in seafood, with a great selection of locally caught fish. A pool table and TV area is adjacent to Sinclair’s Lounge. You can easily keep an eye on your kids while enjoying a date night cocktail and drinking in the ocean views.
Looking for more things to do? There’s a tennis and basketball court with complimentary equipment. Families with tweens and teens will also appreciate the complimentary adult size beach cruisers. When Mom needs a time out, there’s a world class spa or just take a nap in one of the hammocks on the beach.
An Uber from the West Palm Beach International Airport to Jupiter Beach Resort costs about $40. Every attraction listed here, except for Busch Wildlife Center and Roger Dean Stadium, can easily be reached on a bike. No need to rent a car! Jupiter is bicycle-friendly, with wide bike lanes and wide sidewalks.
14. Waterfront Dining
Finally, no Jupiter visit is complete without dining on one of the waterways. The Jupiter Inlet is a hub for waterfront dining. Several restaurants line the waterway with views of the lighthouse. While there are plenty of options, we went with 1000 North. Especially relevant for sports-loving kids, it’s partially owned by basketball legend Michael Jordan, who owns a home in Jupiter.
A modern steak and fish restaurant with views of the marina and lighthouse, it’s a great place for a date night or Sunday brunch with the whole family. The chef gives a Florida twist to classics like lobster tail and crab cake Benedict, and shrimp & grits. Since kids might not be as adventurous, they can enjoy the standard eggs and bacon or yogurt and fruit. For a real Florida experience, dine on the outdoor patio.
Where’s your favorite place to take the kids in Florida? What are your favorite things to do in Jupiter? We’d like to know!