10 Reasons to Take the Family to Jupiter

The white sand beaches of Miami, the crazy theme parks of Orlando... when it comes to attractions, Florida has an overwhelming abundance of them. It is after all, one of the most traveled-to destinations of the US, hosting a whopping 80 million tourists every year. 

However, beyond the beaten touristy path is some of the most breathtaking, picturesque towns and rural communitiesto explore. One of these is Jupiter, Florida, which has been named by Coastal Living in 2012 as the Ninth Happiest Seaside Town in America. 

Thinking of taking a family vacation? Here are the top 10 reasons to make Jupiter, Florida a must stop on your trip to South Florida:

 

1. Jupiter Lighthouse

Also called the "Jupiter Inlet Light", this local landmark is a must-see for history buffs. For thousands of years, the land where the lighthouse stands was used by ancient Indian tribesmen as a meeting place. This is understandable since the site, located at the intersection of Jupiter Inlet and the Indian River, was strategic, military-wise. The US Army took note of this fact, and preparations were then made in 1854 to construct a lighthouse on a 6.5 acre site on Fort Jupiter. The tower was finally completed on 1860.

Today, families can take climbing tours on the lighthouse as well as visit exhibits in the museum located on-site.  Beautiful breezy vistas are your reward for the climb.  Be sure to wear proper foot wear for the climb.

2. Busch Wildlife Sanctuary


Kid-friendly trails galore! For outdoorsy families with small kids who love to go trekking and hiking, the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary is the place-to-be. Not only can kids get their fill of fresh air and the great outdoors, they also get to learn more about Florida's native flora and fauna. The sanctuary is both a nature center and wildlife hospital after all. Along the nature trails are pine flatwoods and cypress wetlands. There are also wildlife habitats of bears, eagles, panthers, snakes and all other kinds of interesting animals. A trip to this place is a sure treat for both kids and adults alike. Everything is manageable even for visitors with shorter legs.  Donations are appreciated but otherwise no admission charged.

3. Burt Reynolds Park & The River Center


Burt Reynolds Park is where all the boating enthusiasts in Jupiter congregate. The park, which has a land area of 35.5 acres, is located alongside the Intracoastal Waterway. There are six available ramps for boat launching that the public can use freely (though a Boat Trailer Parking Permit is required for those who want to launch boats on the Waterway). For those who prefer to boat-watch instead, there are picnic areas with grills at the park, as well as a playground and a volleyball court. Burt Reynolds also houses the popular River Center, which plays host to educational aquarium exhibits and special programming year-round. The River Center is an excellent place to go to learn about Florida’s First National Wild and Scenic River.

4. Palm Beach International Raceway


For those who want a bit more action in their family vacation, they can go head out to the Palm Beach International Raceway, located west of Jupiter. While not exactly a well-known tourist destination, the Raceway is a great fun to visit. Both professional racers and spectators alike can go and race their vehicles on the quarter mile race trip, no matter how slow or how fast their car is. However, only those who are aged 18 and above can enter the hot pit. For those who prefer to watch the races instead, they can easily get hold of tickets online or on their website.

5. Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park


As the location of the final great battle of the Second Seminole War, the Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park is a destination that is steeped in rich history. Though the park was originally part of the larger Riverbend Park in Jupiter Farms, the non-profit organization Loxahatchee Battlefield Preservationists moved to separate 64 acres of the battlefield and turn it into a park of its own. And thus, in 2010, the Loxahatchee River Battlefield was born. The Battlefield Preservationists are still in charge of its restoration and upkeep; there are picnic spots, and kayak rentals, as well as bike and walking trails. Best of all, admission to the park is FREE.  Try to schedule a visit for when you can take one of their docent-led history tours.  Fall Muster and their reenactment of the 2nd Seminole War Battle in January are also wonderful ways to bring Florida history to life,

6. Carlin Park


As far as family-friendly parks go, Carlin Park is easily among the best ones in Jupiter. It is easily accessible, there are lifeguards everywhere, restrooms are sparkling clean, and the beach is free of debris and dirt. And the admission is free! It's a great place for the family to beach bum, or to just enjoy the serenity the ocean. With tons of amenities (picnic areas with grills, exercise course, bocce courts, playgrounds, and amphitheater), plus the fact that admission is totally free, Carlin Park is a must-see. 

7. Dubois Park


Dubois Park has long been a tourist attraction in Jupiter for over fifty years. And fortunately enough, the pristine condition of the beach and its surrounding waters has practically remained the same since then. There is a small, shallow lagoon that is perfect for kids to splash around in. There are plenty of open fields wherein families can go on picnics or walk their pets. And near the boat slips, one can often find manatees swimming lazily in the water. Dubois Park is a great place for anyone to just chill, relax, and forget their cares in the world. 

8. Jupiter Outdoor Center


Ever wanted to try your hand out at watersports? Then head on over to the Jupiter Outdoor Center! Billing itself as "South Florida's 1st choice for outdoor eco-adventures since 1997," the Outdoor Center is the go-to place for people who want to learn snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding. There are a variety of guided tours and lessons for people of all ages, so that the whole family can go on a paddle party through Jupiter's amazing waterways.

9. Manatee Queen Excursions


Those who want a glimpse of Jupiter's rich and famous can go on a relaxing cruise on the Manatee Queen. The boat navigates through a portion of the Intercoastal Waterway near the extravagant houses and mansions of Jupiter's richest residents. The captain, with his deep knowledge of Jupiter's history, also acts as an impromptu guide and provides a running commentary as the tour goes along. It's a nice way to spend a couple of hours and well worth the price.
 

10. Abacoa Town Center

Conceived by the MacArthur Foundation in 1993, Abacoa is a relatively new community on the located on Palm Beach County. Though there are sparse natural attractions in the area, the main reason why a lot of people flock to this site is due to the fact that this is where a great number of dining, entertainment, and shopping establishments can be found. Most of the shops and restaurants are concentrated around Town Center. Overall, this is a great place to unwind with a little bit of retail therapy and good food.

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