Vis­it­ing Jupiter (FL)

For­est Trails to Fly­ing Fish

Snowbirds & RV Travelers - - Contents -

We landed in Jupiter on a hot, hu­mid af­ter­noon as rolling thun­der from Cu­mu­lonim­bus clouds threat­ened over­head. A typ­i­cal sum­mer day in Jupiter, Florida, lo­cated at the north coastal end of Palm Beach County, and where we planned to en­joy life to the fullest.

Af­ter the long drive we had only one goal in mind, get to the ocean. Car­lin Park was highly rec­om­mended, so af­ter we were set­tled, we piled into the car with a loaded cooler. Af­ter park­ing in the ex­pan­sive lot, we crested the palm and fern-cov­ered berm to find a seem­ingly end­less ex­panse of soft sand that stretched north and south to the hori­zon, with an azure ocean gen­tly ca­ress­ing the land with soft rollers. The wa­ter tem­per­a­ture in July is a balmy 27°C. En­ter­ing the ocean I dis­cov­ered that the sand doesn’t stop at the waters edge, but extends an­other 30 me­tres from shore where the wa­ter

is still only chest high.

There are cov­ered pic­nic ar­eas par­al­lel to the beach, west of the berm, each with run­ning wa­ter and a char­coal BBQ. Af­ter a long swim with the kids, us­ing boo­gie boards to body surf, we set­tled in to one of th­ese lit­tle ca­banas to en­joy grilled steaks, baked pota­toes and Cae­sar salad, then back to beach for a twi­light swim be­fore bed.

Jupiter In­let Light­house and Mu­seum stands watch at the en­trance to the Lox­a­hatchee River, where Juan Ponce de Leon re­port­edly searched for the fa­bled foun­tain of youth. In­stead he found the Na­tive Amer­i­can Jeaga tribe, who

Clock­wise from top: Juno pier fish­ing at dusk, look­ing for a wave at Car­lin Park Beach, Gua­n­a­banas Restau­rant, Jupiter In­let Light­house and Blow­ing Rocks Pre­serve Beach.

shot at him with bows and ar­rows. Vis­i­tors now re­ceive a warmer wel­come than Florida’s first Euro­pean ex­plorer.

You can only visit the light­house and grounds with a guide, and tick­ets are $12/adult. The tour in­cludes a hike up the 105 steps of the light­house with views from the top, then a visit and short video in the cen­tre next to the light­house, and a tour through the mu­seum at the en­trance to the at­trac­tion. It’s in­trigu­ing to dis­cover the his­tory of the area while wan­der­ing the light­house, build­ing and grounds.

A six-minute drive north of the light­house we dis­cov­ered Blow­ing Rocks Pre­serve, which is man­aged by the Na­ture Con­ser­vancy. At high tide and dur­ing win­ter storms, the waves smash against the Anas­ta­sia lime­stone shore and send plumes of wa­ter up to 15 me­tres sky­ward. On our visit they just reached the oc­ca­sional one me­tre height, but the beach is still a spec­tac­u­lar sight to see. Travel tips - No food, al­co­hol or large cool­ers are al­lowed but you can, and should, bring wa­ter and a cam­era. The char­coal grey sand also gets quite hot in sum­mer so bring your best san­dals to walk the beach. There are trails cut through the 73-acre area so you can eas­ily hike through the dense jun­gle-like man­grove swamp, through trop­i­cal hard­wood ham­mock for­est and along the coastal strand. This is the Florida that Na­tive Amer­i­cans called home and which greeted the early Euro­pean ex­plor­ers.

The most af­ford­able and best fish­ing ex­pe­ri­ence we found was with Blue Heron Fleet Drift Fish­ing. We boarded the Blue Heron 101, a 101 ft ves­sel for a four-hour fish­ing ad­ven­ture. They pro­vide the bait, rod and reel, how­ever you can bring your own, and ex­pe­ri­enced lo­cals did. The very en­ter­tain­ing crew puts bait on your hook as of­ten as nec­es­sary, and they haul your fish aboard. You won’t have to touch any­thing. They pro­vide all the in­struc­tion you need, so any­one who has never fished be­fore can feel com­fort­able. Some guests re­peat­edly cre­ated the prover­bial birds’ nest with their fish­ing line, tan­gled with each others lines, got caught on the bot­tom, lost hooks, sinkers and bait, and yet ev­ery mem­ber of the crew in­clud­ing the cap­tain were al­ways there ea­ger to help so guests could be­gin fish­ing again. But be­fore you think this is a begin­ner’s charter. Let us re­mind you about those re­peat ex­pe­ri­enced lo­cals who boarded be­cause this crew knows where to go to catch fish.

Along the way we saw fly­ing fish, and sharks, all while haul­ing in yellowtail snap­per, mut­ton snap­per, mack­erel, Bluefin tuna, bonita, co­bia, drum, grouper, and grunt. We landed a cou­ple of yellowtail snap­per, which the crew fileted for us, and we re­turned home to pan-fry them with salt and pep­per for a de­li­cious lunch.

Travel tips for this ad­ven­ture is bring sun­screen, sun­glasses, and a small cooler with some snacks. Wa­ter and pop was avail­able for just $1. Ticket price for an adult was just $45 and kids un­der 13 for only $35. We re­ally en­joyed this ad­ven­ture.

You can also fish from land at Juno Beach Pier. For four dol­lars, you can en­ter the gated 300-me­tre pier for ter­rific salt­wa­ter fish­ing or en­ter for just a dol­lar to em­brace the scenic views. The Pier House has bev­er­ages, sou­venirs and snacks to ac­com­pany fish­ing pole rentals, and bait and tackle sales. What makes it es­pe­cially in­ter­est­ing is that it is across the street from the Log­ger­head Ma­rine Life Cen­ter and part of the Re­spon­si­ble Pier Ini­tia­tive. This

pro­gram is de­signed to work di­rectly with fish­er­men and fish­ing piers to pro­mote a healthy en­vi­ron­ment for sea tur­tles and other ma­rine life.

If you only eat out once in Jupiter, it has to be at Gua­n­a­banas. From hum­ble be­gin­nings as a surfers sand­wich shop, this open air wa­ter­front restau­rant has be­come a lush gar­den din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Free valet park­ing out­side sets the tone for great service as you en­ter the large trop­i­cal rooms pro­tected by high wo­ven Tiki roofs. Ocean and surf para­pher­na­lia dec­o­rate the walls to com­pletely im­merse you in the equa­to­rial am­bi­ence. All ages live mu­sic starts on stage at 4 pm with no cover charge, and then adults can come out to play as the 21 and over con­certs start at 9pm – most of­ten with no cover as well. The Florida bands along with in­ter­na­tional acts stop here to play rock, reg­gae, funk, jazz and vir­tu­ally ev­ery other style of mu­sic. Check out their events cal­en­dars you can match your au­dio palate to ac­com­pany your taste sen­sa­tions.

Jupiter is a vi­brant, yet re­lax­ing city to set­tle in for all, or part of the win­ter, mak­ing it a great home base to ex­plore south­east Florida. There’s so much more to do here from rent­ing a boat so you can safely cruise the Intracoastal Waterway to tak­ing a wide-eyed air­boat tour, vis­it­ing the out­door mar­kets in Fort Pierce, to shop­ping the out­let mall in West Palm Beach.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.