Minutes from the inlet’s mouth, Jupiter Inlet Boat Rental’s location offers speedy access to both the ocean and the intracoastal area. Patrons can take to these glittering waterways in their pick from a fleet of cruising boats, deck boats, and offshore fishing boats, which let them cast fishing lines far from the shore’s judgmental sunbathing salmon. Crafted by makers such as Aquasport, Sea Pro and Hurricane, the boats' Yamaha engines putter as they cruise south to waterfront restaurants and mansions, or north to a wildlife preserve where bald eagles, blue herons, and other rare species frolic. Rather than renting a boat, patrons can prepare for future voyages with boating lessons, during which a US Coast Guard–certified captain share tips for anchoring, docking, and following waterway etiquette. Boat tours—which follow the company’s routes or ones custom-designed by the client—and chartered fishing trips both place steering responsibility in the captain’s hands, letting passengers sit back and enjoy the ride.
Mike Johnson knows how to do a lot more than just navigate a boat; with more than a quarter century as a Coast Guard-certified captain and a longtime Palm Beach resident, he has learned where to find the best fishing spots and the most secluded Bahamian islands. In fact, he has taken more than 200 private charters to the Bahamas in the past 25 years, and has a crew that can help clean and bag catches after an offshore or inshore fishing excursion. Clients can also use Mike's charters to host a sunset dinner with friends or to learn how to pilot a trawler themselves.
The Jupiter Seafood Festival blends fish and fun in a three-day event. Vendors sell nautical wares as booths shell out helpings of local, fresh seafood, including crawfish, mussels, crab cakes, and scallops. Kids and adults who have memorized the entire Nickelodeon cartoon lineup can participate in child-friendly activities, and people of any age can boogie to the live music from bands such as Boxelder, the Blues Brothers Soul Band, and a Tom Petty and Billy Joel tribute band, who will play all weekend to keep the party going.
Manatees glide under the silent shade of mangrove trees. Tropical fish flock together in clear island waters. Out in the wilderness, silence abounds, interrupted only by the jovial voices of tour guides as they point out special landmarks, including the historic Jupiter Inlet lighthouse. At Jupiter Outdoor Center, visitors immerse themselves in local ecosystems through watery sports such as kayaking and standup paddleboarding, embarking on guided tours, or heading out to explore on their own.
Group tours take paddlers out to explore local waterways and stargaze or search for marine wildlife. Guides expound on local history as they pass sights such as the Jupiter lighthouse and Dubois Park. On various trips, they can traverse calm waters in protected waterways through Jupiter Inlet Aquatic Preserve and St. Lucie Inlet Preserve, navigating open streams and mangrove-sheltered estuaries. Staffers also supplement their sport-based excursions in classes, during which they lead night or early morning wildlife-photography safaris or teach yoga workouts aboard standup paddleboards.
A lifelong resident of West Palm Beach, Marissa first spotted a paddleboard while thumbing through the glossy pages of a magazine. Intrigued, she scouted her hometown to sign up for a lesson and enjoyed her first experience with the sport so much that she bought her first board the next day. Not long after, Marissa launched South Florida Paddle LLC, a mobile standup paddleboard rental and tour company. Meeting up with clients at designated spots between Lake Worth Beach and Jupiter Island, Marissa leads excursions that range from shoreline ventures through ocean waves to calm glides along intracoastal waterways. Depending on the time of year, eco tours bring paddlers up close to an array of wildlife, such as manatees, spotted eagle rays, or starfish. For independent explorers, Marissa rents Cruiser ACS standup paddleboards for daytime adventures, as well as sunrise, sunset, and full-moon paddles for renters looking to hide their werewolf paws from family and friends.
The five-star, PADI-certified staff at Jupiter Dive Center, a waterside school, mentors divers of all experience levels in progressive PADI courses. In the multiday courses, instructors teach to general open-water certifications and specialized styles, such as wreck diving and night diving. Guides also lead certified divers on guided day or night charters into the artificial shipwrecks and coral reefs blanketing the local sea floor. Though specific sites vary according to daily conditions, excursions drift past herds of sea life, including colorful schools of fish, peaceful anemones, and sea turtles out-swimming hares arrogantly napping in their own scuba helmets. Dive-shop staff outfits divers' bodies with high-end scuba gear, such as Scubapro suits and instruments.