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Boating and Outdoor Recreation

The Jupiter Inlet and waterways of the Loxahatchee River-Lake Worth Creek Aquatic Preserve are important natural resources teeming with wildlife that provide an abundance of recreational options for area residents, visitors and nature lovers to enjoy.

The Loxahatchee River-Lake Worth Creek Aquatic Preserve (outlined in red on the map below) includes the three forks and central embayment of the Loxahatchee River, as well as Lake Worth Creek, the waterway that continues south of the Loxahatchee behind the barrier islands. The 9,000-acre preserve was established in 1984 and comprises two sections: Wilderness and Urban.

The Wilderness Preserve,  upstream from mile 5.5 of the Loxahatchee River Northwest Fork, is managed to maintain the existing wilderness and natural beauty. Management goals for the Urban Preserve are to restore and enhance its natural condition.

map of the Loxahatchee River Lake Worth Creek Aquatic Preserve with boundary markers. Please call the District at (561) 746-2223 for a detailed description.

Several miles of the Loxahatchee River's Northwest Fork slowly meander through one of the last vestiges of native cypress river swamp in southeast Florida. In 1985, the federal government designated 9.5 miles of the fork as Florida's first National Wild and Scenic River (outlined in yellow on the map)-one of only two rivers in the state so designated. Large sections of the river corridor and watershed are within Jonathan Dickinson State Park, which contains outstanding examples of the region's natural biological communities.

Visitors enjoy fishing, boating, and watching wildlife, including manatees and numerous bird species in their natural environment. The three forks of the Loxahatchee are freshwater tributaries, characterized by riverine communities such as freshwater and tidal marshes. Near and within the estuary, mangrove communities are predominant with submerged resources including tidal flats, oyster bars and seagrass beds that serve as critically important habitat for a highly diverse group of plants and animals, including; microscopic bacteria to copepods, shrimp, blue crab and juvenile fish.  70% of Florida's marine recreational fish depend on seagrass communities at some point in their lives.  Seagrass beds also help to maintain water clarity and stabilize the river bottom with their root system, while providing a nursery for fish, sea turtles and other animals.  The preserve hosts recreationally and commercially important species such as blue crabs, mullet, snook, and tarpon, as well as unusual fish species such as the bigmouth sleeper and the opossum pipefish, a "species of concern."

BOATING

Boating is one of the most popular recreational activities for local residents and visitors alike.  The Jupiter Inlet provides easy offshore access for fishing and diving enthusiasts, and the Loxahatchee River’s Central Embayment inshore sand bar is a well-known weekend destination for people looking to enjoy the the area.  Traveling further up the Northwest fork, visitors are treated to a taste of old Florida in all its natural beauty.  It boasts one of the last vestiges of native cypress river swamp in Southeast Florida.  Home to an abundance of wildlife and plant species, the historic Trapper Nelson’s site in this area is operated by Jonathan Dickinson State Park.  Direct connections to the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) allow recreational boaters to explore part of the Indian River to North and the Lake Worth Creek to the South.

For more information on safely navigating the Jupiter Inlet and the waterways of the Loxahatchee River-Lake Worth Creek Aquatic Preserve, visit our Navigational Aids page.

KAYAKING, PADDLEBOARDING AND OTHER WATER SPORTS

Kayaking, Stand-Up Paddleboards (SUPs) and other water sports-related activities are also a common site. These options afford visitors a chance to experience our natural resources in a unique and intimate way.  With multiple launch points and commercial vendors providing day rentals, residents and visitors can spend an amazing day out on the water.

FISHING

Anglers are drawn to the Jupiter Inlet, its jetties and the waterways of the Loxahatchee River-Lake Worth Creek Aquatic Preserve for the numerous fish species that inhabit the area.

Saltwater and freshwater fishing regulations can be found by visiting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) by clicking HERE .  It includes permit requirements, harvesting season and bag limit information.  Guidelines for appropriate catch and release are also found on the site to ensure healthy fish populations for generations to come.

Fish common to the area include:

drawing of a dolphin, or mahi mahi, fish

Dolphin (mahi-mahi):
Offshore, especially in Gulf Stream, often under floating cover.   Feeds on flying fish and squid.  

drawing of a gag grouper fish

Gag Grouper:
Usually offshore, on rocks and reefs, but occasionally inshore and in estuaries.

drawing of a king mackerel fish

King Mackerel:
Nearshore and offshore, sometimes from piers and in the surf.

drawing of a mutton snapper fish

Mutton Snapper:
Offshore wrecks and reefs. Inshore sea grass beds, mangrove shore, and canals. Check latest regulations for size and season limits. .

drawing of a bluefish

Bluefish:
Near shore, inlet, and surf. Migratory; best in winter. Be careful with sharp teeth and strong jaws.

drawing of a sheepshead with zebra stripes

Sheepshead:
Near shore, inlet, and surf. Migratory; best in winter. Be careful with sharp teeth and strong jaws.

drawing of a snook with pointed snout and black pin stripe down side

Snook:
Usually inshore in coastal and brackish waters, along mangrove shorelines, seawalls, and bridges; also on reefs and pilings. Check latest regulations for size and season limits. 

drawing of a jack crevalle fish with rounded head

Crevalle jack:
Beaches, inlet, estuaries, rivers, into freshwater. Generally not prized for the table, but challenging and fun to catch and release

drawing of a spotted sea trout with spots on back and tail fin

Spotted Seatrout:
Inshore and/or nearshore over grass, sand, and sandy mud bottoms; move into slow-moving or still, deep waters in cold weather.

person net fishing off rocks beyond jetty concrete deck with PVC fishing line disposal container in foreground

MONOFILAMENT RECYCLING

Monofilament fishing line can last for centuries in the water, out of the sun's ultra-violet rays. Each year, thousands of animals and many boat propellers become tangled in discarded fishing line. Shorebirds, sea turtles, and manatees can starve to death, lose limbs, or drown because of entanglement. Human divers can also become tangled in line.  

Please deposit used fishing line in designated recycling containers.

 

JUPITER BEACH PARK AND DUBOIS PARK

Jupiter Beach Park and DuBois Park are both operated by Palm Beach County Department of Parks and Recreation. 

Jupiter Beach Park provides public access to pristine beaches and waters of the Atlantic Ocean, as well as access to the South Jetty, picnic areas, a picnic pavilion, and volleyball court.  For more information, click HERE.   

Image of boardwalk walkway with palm trees and yellow blue sunset in background

DuBois Park also provides the general public with access to a beautiful tidal lagoon and snorkeling area with guarded swimming areas for the whole family to enjoy.  Visitors will find picnic areas, a picnic pavilion, a small playground, boat slips and a boat ramp, and a canoe and kayak launch.  Home to the DuBois Pioneer Home, built atop a native American shell rock midden in 1898 and one of the last remaining historic homesteads of its type in unincorporated Palm Beach County, docent-led tours are offered Tuesdays – Thursdays.  For more information, click HERE.  

 

JUPITER INLET LIGHTHOUSE AND MUSEUM & JUPITER INLET LIGHTHOUSE OUTSTANDING NATURAL AREA

Steeped in a rich history, the iconic, brick red Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Oil House was constructed in 1860 and is maintained and preserved by the Loxahatchee River Historical Society (LRHS).  The lighthouse, 1982 George Washington Tindall House, 1929 Lighthouse Keeper’s Workshop and 1940 WWII Naval Housing Building that houses the on-site museum are all situated within the 120-acre Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area that welcomes more than 80,000 visitors annually. 

red lighthouse surrounded by trees with waterways in background and moon silhoutte

The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area (JILONA) was federally designated by Congress in May 2008 to “protect, conserve, and enhance the unique and nationally important historic, natural, cultural, scientific, educational, scenic and recreational values of the federal land surrounding the lighthouse for the benefit of present and future generations for the people in the United States.”

Here you will find 25 special status species, cultural evidence of 5,000 years of human inhabitance and a north-side hiking trail to a lagoon overlook through three Florida habitats.  The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area (JILONA) was designated as a unit of the Bureau of Land Management’s National Conservation Lands – one of only three Outstanding Natural Areas in the country.

The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area (JILONA) offers visitor a scenic hiking trail on the north and south side of Beach Road.  Meandering through Florida Scrub habitat, tropical hammock and a mangrove swamp, the trail leads to an observation tower overlooking a quiet manatee refuge surrounded by red mangroves.  Visitors can also enjoy a small playground in Lighthouse Park, soccer fields, tennis courts and recreational activities that include fishing, paddleboarding and nature watching. 

In 2021, the Jupiter Inlet District partnered with the Bureau of Land Management and the Loxahatchee River Historical Society (LRHS) to build a living shoreline and public observation pier, complete with a series of nearshore limestone breakwaters to stabilize a portion of the site's rapidly eroding shoreline.  Native limestone breakwaters provide habitat for fish and wildlife, and native plantings along the shoreline help bind sediments to reduce erosional forces while enhancing habitat for species that thrive in the diverse Loxahatchee River estuary.

For more information on the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum and the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area (JILONA), click HERE.