Jupiter

Jupiter is one of the best small beach towns in Florida. Jupiter is known for its beautiful white sand beaches, clear blue water, miles of waterways and the historic Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse.

Jupiter is a lovely place to visit, and residents say the area offers an extremely high-quality of life for those who live there.

Location

The town of Jupiter is located on the east coast of Florida, approximately 87 miles north of Miami. 

Jupiter sits on or near the banks of several waterways, including the Intracoastal Waterway, the Jupiter Inlet and the Loxahatchee River.

Several other waterways are also nearby, including the Tequesta River and the Atlantic Ocean.

Jupiter is located in Palm Beach County, and is considered to be one of the best places to live in Florida. 

Neighboring towns near Jupiter include:

  • Juno Beach
  • Jupiter Inlet Beach Colony
  • Palm Beach Gardens
  • Tequesta

Airports Near Jupiter Florida

Several airports are located near Jupiter:

Airports Near JupiterDistance
West Palm Beach/Palm Beach (PBI) airport17 miles from Jupiter
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International (FLL)60 miles from Jupiter
Miami International (MIA)80 miles from Jupiter

How Did Jupiter Get Its Name?

Many people wonder how Jupiter, Florida got its name. Most assume that the name Jupiter is a reference to the nearby “Space Coast”, or Florida’s space industry.

The name actually comes from a series of misspellings, mispronunciations and translations from Spanish to English.

Most historians agree that the name Jupiter came from the British, who controlled Jupiter from 1763-1783.

Before the British controlled Florida it was controlled by Spain, who mapped the area using Spanish words and names.

Under its Spanish name Jupiter was named “Rio Jobe”, or “Rio Jove”, after the local Jobe tribe. 

Coincidentally, Jove also means “Zeus” in Spanish, the Roman god of the sky and thunder.

When the British came to power they translated Spanish names into English words. “Rio Jobe” , or “Jove” became Jupiter, which was the English name for Zeus.

When Americans later settled the area they continued the Roman god naming theme. 

American settlers later named a neighboring town “Juno”, another Roman god often associated with Jupiter.

History

The area known as modern-day Jupiter has a long and fascinating history.

The area around Jupiter has been inhabited for more than 12,000 years by indigenous people. It’s been home to many native American tribes over time.

The area was first “discovered” by western explorers in the 1500s, beginning with the famous voyage by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon.

Local native American tribes, including the Jobe and Jeaga tribes, dominated the area as recently as the 1700s.

Both native American tribes were known for their dugout canoes. The canoes were carved from large tree trunks and were used for transportation throughout south Florida.

Tragically the local native American civilizations were lost because of war with settlers and the spread of disease.

Many artifacts from the local indigenous people have been carelessly destroyed. Some historical shell mounds were even bulldozed, and used to build roads.

Modern History

Along with all the rest of Florida, Jupiter grew quickly when railroads came to town. 

Trains allowed easy travel over Florida’s endless wetlands and through dense forest, which were previously impenetrable.

In 1889 a train service began serving Jupiter; the “Jupiter and Lake Worth Railway”. 

The railway was also called the Celestial Railroad because it linked several railway stations which were all named after planets, or Roman gods. Other stops on the Celestial railway included Venus and Mars.

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The railway served as a land link for Henry Plant’s steamships, which were Florida’s major mode of transportation at the time. 

The town of Jupiter was an important stop for the railway because its port linked the railway to the steamship line.

The Jupiter railroad only operated for seven years. It stopped running in 1896 when it was replaced by Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway. 

Things to do in Jupiter 

There are many things to do in Jupiter, including many outdoor activities.

Jupiter is surrounded by natural beauty, especially its natural waterways. 

The area around Jupiter has almost 40 miles of waterfront, including beaches and riverways. It’s a perfect place for paddleboarding, snorkeling, boating and more.

Tequesta Sandbar

The Tequesta Sandbar is one of the best sandbars in Florida, and one of the most popular things to do near Jupiter. 

The Tequestsa sandbar is located just inland from the highway A1A bridge, where the Loxahatchee and Tequesta rivers meet. 

The sandbar is an extremely popular spot for local boaters to gather for sandbar parties, especially at low tide when the sandbar is exposed above water. 

The Loxahatchee sandbar may be called by several names, and is often called the “Jupiter Sandbar”, among other things.

Cato’s Bridge

One of the most popular things to do in Jupiter is to snorkel and scuba dive at Cato’s Bridge. 

Cato’s bridge crosses the intracoastal waterway and links Jupiter with Jupiter Inlet Colony. 

In this area the ICW floods with clean, clear water at high tide. It is a fantastic local snorkeling spot. 

Snorkelers often see exotic tropical fish, starfish and many other species, along with coral which grows on the bridge pilings.

Busch Wildlife Sanctuary

The Busch Wildlife sanctuary is another of the best things to do in Jupiter. The sanctuary is a great place to see exotic Florida’s wildlife up-close. 

The non-profit sanctuary rescues vulnerable Florida native wildlife, rehabilitates them, and returns them to the wild when possible.

Depending on which animals are in-house at the time, visitors can see a variety of Florida birds, deer, snakes, a Florida panther, Florida bears, and other species.

Most visitors say that the sanctuary is well-worth a visit, and that 1-2 hours is a good amount of time to spend in the sanctuary.

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse

The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum is one of the top things to see in Jupiter. 

The lighthouse was built in 1860, and is protected as a historic landmark. 

The lighthouse offers both guided and self-guided tours, including lighthouse climbing tours, outdoor exhibits, and more. There are programs for both adults and children.

The suggested visit time to enjoy the lighthouse and surrounding area is 2-3 hours.

Besides tours, the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse also hosts weddings and other events.

Dubois Park

Dubois Park is a great place to visit for outdoor fun. The park offers a small sand beach and swimming area. 

Visitors should know that the beach is located on the ICW, and not the ocean. 

Many visitors like to visit Dubois Park when the ocean is rough or wavy because the swimming area is protected. 

Dubois Park has nice picnic facilities, restrooms and outdoor showers for rinsing off after swimming.

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There is also a boat launch for non-motorized watercraft, including paddleboards, kayaks and canoes. 

Roger Dean Stadium

The Roger Dean Stadium is a baseball stadium located in Jupiter’s Abacoa community. 

The stadium is home to several minor-league baseball teams, including the Jupiter Hammerheads, Palm Beach Cardinals, and others. 

The stadium also hosts spring training for the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals.

The baseball stadium is a favorite spot for both locals and visitors.

Surfing in Jupiter

Jupiter is one of the best places for surfing in Florida. The interaction of wind, wave and current from the Jupiter Inlet all combine to form great, surfable waves. 

There are several surfing schools in Jupiter which offer surfing lessons, surfboard rentals and tips for finding the best surfing spots.

Beaches near Jupiter

Jupiter is a unique place on Florida’s Atlantic coast because it’s one of the only beach towns located on the Florida mainland, as opposed to a separate barrier island.

There are a number of nice beaches, including:

  • Carlin Park
  • Jupiter Beach Park
  • Ocean Cay Park
  • Jupiter Dog Beach
  • And others

All of the beaches in Jupiter are located south of the Jupiter Inlet.

Guided Tours in Jupiter

There are a number of popular guided tours in Jupiter. 

Guided tours are often more expensive than self-guided alternatives, but they often offer opportunities that visitors would struggle to find or do by themselves. 

One of the most popular tours in Jupiter is the Clear Kayak Tour, which is a fun way to explore local waterways. 

Kayaking tours usually last about two hours, and explore the beautiful rivers and waterways around Jupiter. 

Visitors are often excited to see manatees, dolphins and many other forms of marine life.

Fishing Tours

Fishing in Jupiter is excellent and is an extremely popular thing to do. 

Jupiter offers a variety of fishing experiences, including in-shore, near-shore and off-shore fishing tours. 

Private fishing charters are available, along with shared charter trips. Fishing trips are usually a minimum of four hours long, depending on fishing type and destination.

In-shore and near-shore fishing trips are usually shorter, while offshore fishing trips may last all day, or even longer than a full day.

Places to Eat in Jupiter

There are many options in Jupiter, including options for seafood, American, French and Caribbean cuisines. 

The most highly-rated restaurants in Jupiter include:

  • Guanabanas Restaurant
  • Tommy Bahama Restaurant
  • The Parisian Restaurant and Wine Bar
  • Food Shack
  • Dune Dog Cafe
  • Ke’e Grill
  • Little Moirs Leftovers
  • Lazy Loggerhead Cafe
  • Berry Fresh Cafe
  • Portobello Cucina Italiana
  • Lynora’s Jupiter
  • Dive Bar Restaurant

The Loxahatchee River Center

The Loxahatchee River Center offers indoor and outdoor fun for learning about conservation and environmental stewardship.

The center has different exhibits of habitats located in Florida, including fresh and saltwater aquariums. 

Is Jupiter A Nice Place To Live?

Jupiter is a very nice place to live, and is often featured on lists of the best beach towns in Florida.

Living in Jupiter provides a safe, pleasant suburban feel with many attractions, things to do, restaurants, parks, and a very nice sense of community. 

Jupiter offers a variety of outdoor activities, including:

  • Numerous golf courses
  • Surfing
  • Snorkeling and SCUBA diving sites
  • Beautiful beaches
  • Historic landmarks

Most residents in Jupiter own their homes. Many residents purchased their homes when real estate values were much lower.

Many Jupiter residents are retired, although there are also young families who enjoy the good local public school system.

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The population of Jupiter, Florida was 61,047 as of the 2020 census. The population rose from 55,156 as of the 2010 census, which is an increase of approximately 10.6%

What famous people live in Jupiter?

Many celebrities live in Jupiter, have lived in Jupiter in the past, or own homes in Jupiter. Famous examples include Celine Dion and celebrity actor Burt Reynolds, among others. 

Several dozen professional golfers also live in or near Jupiter and are often seen at area golf courses.

Tiger Woods has a sprawling mansion on Jupiter Island, and has a restaurant in Jupiter, “The Woods”.

Why is Jupiter, Florida famous?

Jupiter is mildly famous for a classic Florida HOA dispute which morphed into a national scandal.

The case prompted a high-profile political circus, and ended with a new national law being passed to protect the right to fly an American flag, irrespective of HOA rules.

Is Jupiter a rich area?

Jupiter is a very wealthy area. Jupiter’s real estate tends to be much more expensive than other areas because of the area’s desirability and limited amount of land area, which limits outward expansion. 

Jupiter has not always been such an expensive and exclusive place though; it was once an affordable place to live.

According to the 2021 U.S. census:

  • The median home value in Jupiter is $384,800. 
  • The median gross rent in Jupiter is $1,684.

Downsides of Jupiter

As with any place, there are several downsides to living in Jupiter. 

Depending on your perspective, many of the “downsides” could also be considered attractive upsides.

  • Jupiter could be considered “old and boring”
  • Although many restaurants have bars and there are fun things to do, there is very little “nightlife”. Most restaurants in Jupiter tend to close early. 
  • The population is skewed towards older adults. Approximately 51% of Jupiter residents are 45 years or older. 
  • Jupiter has a relatively shallow job market. There are not many major employers in Jupiter, or the area.
  • Jupiter is not located immediately near any large cities or population centers.
  • High rates of tourism which is considered a downside by some residents.

One of the biggest downsides to living in Jupiter is the cost of living. Jupiter is an extremely sought-after place to live, and real estate is expensive. 

Expensive housing is made even worse by the relatively low earning potential in Jupiter. Many of the local jobs are low-paid service and hospitality jobs.

After the high cost of living, another major downside to living in Jupiter is the threat of hurricanes, flooding and rising sea levels. 

Florida’s hurricane season lasts from June 1st until November 30th, and provides a constant threat to residents. 

Jupiter is particularly vulnerable to hurricane damage because of its coastal location and because it’s surrounded by waterways.

Jupiter’s hot weather is also a notable downside. Florida’s summer is extremely hot and muggy. 

Many Jupiter residents are “snowbirds”, and flee to northern homes to avoid the oppressively hot and humid summer season.

Final Thoughts

Jupiter, Florida is one of the best beach towns in Florida. It’s a wonderful place to visit, and a lovely place to live.

Cover Photo by Chase Baker