The sleepy beach town of Jupiter, Florida, is home to only 60,000 people. An hour north of Fort Lauderdale, it feels like a world away from the bars 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 8 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, is one of Florida’s best kept secrets. Here are my 8 favorite things to do in Jupiter FL.
Jupiter’s iconic red lighthouse has guided boaters since 1860! For a bird’s-eye view of the area, kids 48” and taller can climb the 105 steps. 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 WWII Naval housing quarters building. Admission is $12 for adults, $6 for kids.
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. Admission is by donation.
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 their website to make sure and schedule your visit around one of their daily free “Animal Encounters.” Your kids can have a wild adventure learning about and petting skunks, snakes and more.
Another fun thing to do in Jupiter? Stop by this baseball stadium in nearby Abacoa, 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 Miama Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals play here during spring training. The rest of the year, it’s the only stadium in the country home to four minor league baseball teams.
Looking for more fun things to do in Jupiter? Consider an afternoon fishing off this classic Florida pier. These are the family vacation memories that stay with you for life. A day-long fishing permit is $4 for adults, $2 for kids. Fishing poles, tackle and bait can be rented on site. In addition, there’s a gift shop and snack stand.
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.
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.
Their oceanfront restaurant, Sinclairs, specializes in seafood, with a great selection of locally caught fish. A pool table and tv lounge is adjacent to Sinclair’s Lounge. You can easily keep an eye on your kids while enjoying a date night cocktail, 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 brand new 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 their hammocks.
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.
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 the newest addition to Jupiter’s dining scene, 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 crabcake benedicts, 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!