I have to admit that Jupiter Beach, Florida was barely on my radar before visiting recently for a “winter warm-up” getaway, one of the seasonal packages offered at the 168-room Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa. What makes this four-diamond property special is its secluded yet convenient beachfront location—it’s the only hotel on a stretch of natural shoreline—and a comfy vibe conducive to relaxed multigenerational beach vacations. It’s also a lovely home base from which to experience a variety of water sports and eco-tourism activities.
ABOUT JUPITER BEACH
Conveniently located close to the West Palm Beach airport yet mellower than its glitzy neighbors, well-heeled Jupiter Beach has an easygoing vibe that is part old Florida and part high-end residential, with gorgeous waterfront homes, upscale marinas, and very good regional fare at local restaurants. It is defined by pristine Atlantic beaches and the Intracoastal Waterways and offers a full spectrum of water activities and eco-tourism options ranging from standup paddle-boarding tours to Pon Tiki party-boat rides. Our group had a great time exploring the beautiful waterways on a morning kayak/paddleboard eco tour offered by Blueline Surf & Paddle, a laid-back local surf boutique. Even those of us with initial fears—about how to safely hop into a kayak from a dock, or about how to stay standing on a paddle board—found the experience to be fun and easy, thanks to our excellent instructor. And we also had a blast on a more sedentary water experience, cruising the beautiful waterways on a sunset Pon Tiki boat ride while enjoying cocktails and appetizers. The sunsets —and sunrises—in Jupiter, whether viewed from a boat or from on the beach, are spectacular.
ABOUT THE RESORT
Sharing a stretch of secluded limestone shoreline with a large population of nesting sea turtles, Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa is cushy and comfy. Oceanfront rooms are so close to the Atlantic that with the terrace doors open, you can hear the soothing rhythm of the surf. The 7,500 square foot spa offers a range of excellent treatments and there are dining options from casual to gourmet. More homey than hip, with dark wood accents and a traditional design hand, the resort offers many cozy places to hang out, including outdoor fire-pit seating on the beach, perfect for sunset cocktails and stargazing.
While tucked away from anything touristy, Jupiter Beach Resort is conveniently located close to good restaurants; an attractive new waterside development called Harbourside Place; and the iconic Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, an 1860 landmark that played an important role in World War 11, is still a functioning lighthouse, and is the area’s most popular visitor attraction.
ABOUT THE FOOD
I was impressed with the fresh, innovative cuisine at Jupiter restaurants, and with their regionally inspired design styles that ranged from quirky to casually elegant. As a seafood lover, I was in heaven. Among my favorite dishes were the delectable specialties at Little Moir’s Food Shack, an artsy, hidden-gem hangout exploding with local color in a small strip mall. My mouth is watering as I recall the yummy Panko-Crusted Fried Oysters, and the delectable Shack Bowl seafood combo with mixed veggies, basil, cilantro, toasted garlic, and noodles with coconut milk and lemongrass lime broth. For dessert at Little Moir’s, don’t miss the raspberry key lime pie.
Then there are the sweetest clams I’ve ever tasted: the Sanibel Steamers served at Guanabana’s. Originally opened in 2004 by Jupiter surfers as a sandwich shop, Guanabana’s has expanded into an area institution, with open-air dining in a laid-back tropical setting of woven tiki huts, towering banyan trees, and hand-chiseled coquina stone pathways.
And I could easily have wiled away an entire afternoon savoring both the view and the melt-in-your mouth sushi at The Dive Bar Restaurant, overlooking the Jupiter Yacht Club Marina along the Jupiter Riverwalk.
A perfect capstone to a Jupiter Beach getaway is a farewell dinner, at the elegant Sinclair’s Ocean Grill at the resort. Jupiter’s only oceanfront restaurant, Sinclair’s cuisine ranges from Lobster Crab Cakes with pineapple fruit salsa and mango chipotle aioli, to center cut New York Strip Steak with tempura onion rings and gorgonzola au gratin port wine bordelaise. The sommelier helps you choose from a robust wine list, and Sinclair’s also offers a “wine doggie bag” for unfinished bottles – a nice touch.
IF YOU GO
I loved the convenience of easy airlift to the West Palm Beach Airport (in my case, nonstop from Boston on American Airlines), and the quick drive to Jupiter Beach Resort just 17 miles away. This accessibility made my three-night trip feel like a real getaway. Be sure to make dinner reservations at the popular local restaurants, as they get packed with locals and tourists alike. If you’re on a tight budget, check out out the off-season rates and special packages at the resort. If you can afford an oceanfront room, it’s amazing to be so close to the ocean and relax on the balcony while listening to the surf. Go to Jupiter information for an overview of what the area has to offer.