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.
Every day, Cynthia, manager of Jupiter Pointe Paddling, opens her hibiscus-adorned rental hut to let adventure seekers set sail from the sandy banks of a crescent-shaped private beach. A complimentary lesson accompanies every kayak or paddleboard rental, letting beginners get their bearings before they glide toward a nearby sandbar to spot sea turtles, manatees, and majestic stingrays. More experienced water skimmers can paddle up to the Jupiter Lighthouse, which grants a glimpse of 120 palm-studded acres punctuated by 25 special-status species of wildlife and one boring labrador. The staff of water warriors also mixes up the aqueous activities with Mommy and Me sessions, standup-paddleboard-yoga classes, and kids' lessons, along with exalting the outdoors with full-moon celebrations and sealife-spotting tours.
Insider tips on tidal patterns and secret surf spots, borne of a lifetime in local waters, are part of the intangible edge offered by Singer Island Surf Camp Inc., in operation for the past 15 years and run by a born-and-raised native of Palm Beach. As a Palm Beach County native, camp founder and owner Paige Parker doesn’t remember a time she wasn’t closely tied to the water. When she and her neighborhood pals were kids, she recalls, “The ocean was our playground and our babysitter.” And though it's probably true that anyone with a lifeguard certification could lead snorkeling tours and sportfishing charters, Parker knows that her inborn understanding of the local tidal patterns makes a difference.
A staff of surf-seasoned EMTs and firefighters who are also certified in ocean rescue, lifeguard, CPR, and first aid help Parker lead private and group surfing lessons for all ages and experience levels as well as provide paddleboarding and kayaking instruction. And when school’s out, kids aged 6–16 years old can dive into summer camps and surf along Singer Island's reef-and-sandbar system or paddleboard to Peanut Island. A full rental shop, meanwhile, fills out its stock of standard surf gear with standup paddleboards, kayaks, water trampolines, and inflatable water wheels.