Jupiter is a quiet beach town tucked along Florida’s east coast, just about an hour and a half north of glitzy South Beach and Miami. Though it’s quiet and more eco-oriented than its sizzling sister to the south, Jupiter is big on fun, delectable food and ample opportunities for relaxing and soaking in the warm Florida rays. And I’m lucky enough to have spent a few days doing just that – all of that!
I met a few girlfriends in Jupiter, and we spent our time enjoying the warm, fall Florida sun.
There’s just one AAA Four Diamond oceanfront hotel in Jupiter, and we were fortunate to have rooms to use as home base while exploring the area. The Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa is a boutique property with just 168 rooms, including 34 suites. If you want to really up the ante, reserve one of the one- or two-bedroom penthouse suites and really be on top of the world; well, the hotel, anyway. My ocean view room was very comfy and cozy, and perfect for my stay.
The resort offers a fun package, “Get Up, Stand Up” featuring stand up paddling (SUP) right from within the property, through the mangroves and into the calm waters of the Intracoastal Waterway. I’d been SUP a few times before, and couldn’t wait to get back on the board. Instead of leaving from the property, we decided to take a tour with Rick from Jupiter Outdoor Center, the outfit that partners with the resort to offer the SUP package. A few in our group had been SUP before, and a few hadn’t. In a matter of minutes, we all looked like pros.
Rick effortlessly guided us through the area waters, telling us about the rich history and the wildlife we may see. Sure enough, a couple of us saw a manatee come up for a breath. Fun! The best part of our SUP trip? No one in our group fell into the water! I heard about the full moon tour offered by the Jupiter Outdoor Center, and I definitely want to come back and check that out, but in a kayak. Not sure I could do SUP at night!
I was thrilled to learn that the resort offers complimentary beach cruiser rentals. Just sign a bike out at the front desk and you’re ready to roll! If you’re willing, you could park your car and not move it until you’re ready to depart! The girls and I rode about two miles to the nearby Jupiter Lighthouse and took a guided tour, during which we learned more about the area’s history, as well as toured historic buildings. The lighthouse sits within Coast Guard property, so it’s mandatory that you take a guided tour, and stay with the group.
The climb up to the top of the lighthouse consisted of scaling 150 stairs. Now, I work out and I like to think I’m in relatively good shape, but stairs are another case all together. That, and that they’re slatted and patterned and you can see all the way down. Looking up and beyond, we made it to the top and were rewarded with a 360-degree view of the area, even if the day was a bit cloudy.
All of this activity really whetted our appetites, and we were thrilled to find an incredible variety of dining options close to the resort. For breakfast one morning, we rode less than half-a-mile away to Duke’s Lazy Loggerhead Café, a beachside spot that’s a locals’ favorite. The menu is pretty straightforward, but be warned – the portions are huge.
The lobster quesadillas – one of the day’s specials – at Guanabanas were a group favorite, as were the strawberry Caiprinhas. Besides the incredible menu and delicious drinks, one of the key draws at Guanabanas is its waterfront location, not to mention the entire restaurant is outside – no walls to speak of! Another highlight: we walked the mile from and to our resort, just enough to help burn off what we consumed!
Believe it or not, Jupiter could be considered a foodie’s paradise. At least, that’s what I surmised after our dinners at the Food Shack (less than a mile from the resort) and Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar (about 30 minutes from the resort). The menus at each are quite impressive, and then when you hear the daily specials, you’re really thrown for a loop.
Our group ordered quite a few appetizers at the Food Shack, along with cocktails, and we should really have stopped there. Instead, our entrees arrived and we dug right into fresh seafood prepared in a variety of ways, including sweet potato-crusted, or served over angel hair pasta. There was absolutely no room for dessert afterwards!
The same thing happened when we were at Rocco’s Tacos! All the appetizers left little room for the tacos – the shrimp came with high recommendations – and enchiladas we ordered, but somehow we managed. Especially when it came to the drinks: don’t miss the Blood Orange Margarita, or the Prickly Pearita (if it’s in season). And if you’re the tequila-sipping sort, Rocco’s has more than 250 from which to choose!
Of course, if you don’t want to leave the resort to eat, there’s really no reason to. Breakfast is served in the newly- and beautifully-renovated Sinclair’s Ocean Grill, which also doubles at the dinner dining spot. The soft hues combined with the wood ceilings and whites all make for an elegant yet beachy look. We loved it! For lunch, it was fun to dine from our pool- and beachside chaise lounges via the Sandbar. Ample salads – try the Island Cobb with lump crabmeat! – and sandwiches satiated our hunger, but didn’t leave us feeling heavy – perfect for enjoying the rest of the day in our bathing suits!
There are many things to enjoy about the resort, including The Spa. Book an appointment and you will be unbelievably pampered, starting with the sipping dark chocolate. WOW. Sure, there’s a plate of crudité and fruit if you want to try and be healthy, but why bother! I loaded a small plate with strawberries, blackberries and blueberries and dipped, dipped, dipped into the smooth chocolate. Bliss! And that’s before (and even after, if you’re like me!) the treatment!
For my treatment, I chose the Warm Stone Massage with LaToya. She started by dry brushing my body, and then applying coconut water to ready my skin for the stones. The scent I chose – star fruit – was mixed with coconut oil and used in combination with the warm stones ease my muscles. Those 50 minutes were heavenly!
We were in Jupiter for just three days, but it felt like we were out of this world. And we can’t wait to get back to our little spot in the sun again sometime soon!
Susan B. Barnes is a travel writer and photographer. A proud Army brat, she was born on a military base in Belgium and has been on the go ever since. While Susan has traveled across the United States and into Canada, she has also managed to visit such European cultural hot spots as Paris, London, Ireland, Athens and Rome, and has even explored the second largest reef in the world off the coast of Belize and the cloud forest of Venezuela, among many other exotic locales. Having learned to rock climb in Yosemite National Park, surf in La Jolla and swim with whale sharks in Mexico, she’s always looking forward to her next adventure.