Jupiter has quickly become a destination for the water warrior. With the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Intracoastal Waterway and the Jupiter Inlet in the center, and the serpentine Loxahatchee River winding its way through the west, water is simply a way of life up here. Want to get wet? One of the best ways to explore this watery expanse is by paddle power.
For a stand-up paddleboarding adventure, the Jupiter Inlet District (561-746-2223) has become a SUPer’s mecca. The Intracoastal Waterway and the southern stretches of the Indian River Lagoon are the perfect places to paddle away. For those new to the sport, Blueline Surf and Paddle (561-744-7474), located just across the street from Guanabanas, and the Jupiter Outdoor Center (561-747-0063), located just west of Square Grouper Tiki Bar, offer hourly rentals and tours for beginners and novices alike.
1 The manmade “dredge-spoil” island sitting across the Intracoastal Waterway from Burt Reynolds Park recently had a makeover. Known as Fullerton Island, this 12-acre island was totally reimagined by Palm Beach County’s Environmental Resource Management department, excavating nearly five acres for sea grass beds, removing invasive species while restoring upland hammock, and preserving vital mangrove habitat, making for ideal habitat for a number of aquatic and bird species. What this means for you? Fullerton is a great place for paddlers to become one with nature. The inner lagoon is reserved for passive (non-motorized) vessels, while a picnic pavilion offers a shady respite. Boaters are also welcome, with six newly minted slips for docking near a rocky jetty.
A group of paddlers from the Jupiter Outdoor Center.
2 Nestled between Fullerton Island and Alt A1A, Sawfish Bay is a shallow estuary brimming with sealife, and the perfect place for beginners to get their feet wet. Either launch your SUP or kayak at the park, or make the trek from the rental launch points, and enjoy a tranquil, protected paddle. If fishing is your game, the sea grass beds and mangrove fringe in and surrounding the islands and sea wall make for a pretty great place to drop a line.
Paddle Tip: Know thy tides. The currents can by quite strong in this portion of Intracoastal, making for rather strenuous paddling when the tides are turning. Check the local tide chart before heading out, and, if possible, consult with a local on the best paddle times – local knowledge is always best.
Railroad Bridge at Sunset by Bob Gibson
3 If you’re looking for a party on the water, head west…west of the Old Dixie Highway Bridge that is. At low tide, a large sandbar, mostly known as the Jupiter Sandbar, emerges from the water at the mouth of the Loxahatchee River just west of the bridge, attracting hundreds of boaters and paddlers on the weekend. Large enough to accommodate both the party bunch, who tend to congregate on the east end, and families, anchoring along the western portion, the sandbar is the very definition of Sunday Funday party destination.
4 Jupiter Island’s southern mainland connect, the drawbridge known as Cato’s, is pretty popular paddleboarding destination, especially for those looking to explore things below the surface. At high tide, when the Intracoastal is flushed with clear water from the Atlantic, snorkeling at the western bridge stanchion can be quite dynamic. Accessible by foot or by boat/paddle, snorkelers can dive along the pylons and rocks, where hundreds of tropical fish, squid, rays, manatees and more are constantly coming and going.
Snorkel Tip: Cato’s Bridge is a high tide snorkel destination, with some rather tricky currents. Dive flags are mandatory, and adult supervision strongly advised—this is a pretty active bridge, especially on the weekend with some rather heavy boater traffic.