The balmy April air seems warmer as sonic webs of reggae and island music weave their way throughout the Martin County Fairgrounds. Backed by a laid-back symphony of live steel drums and vocals, visitors to the third-annual fete wend through merchant stalls and scope out displays of marine-themed art and new and used fishing or boating equipment, including rods, kayaks, and lures flavored like medium-rare worms. A public boat auction draws bids on new and used watercrafts, while an antique boat show recalls seafaring days of yesteryear. A host of sage boating and fishing gurus helm workshops and seminars throughout the festival, waterlogging attendees’ neurons with nautical topics. To prevent growling stomachs from interrupting precious boat-gazing time, festival chefs whip up toothsome seafood to remind eaters of their love for the sea and quests to eat every inch of it.
Sculpted on a 28-acre estuary between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, Jupiter Dunes Golf Club presents a short par 3 course that features prominent water hazards that come into play on 12 holes. Coastal trade winds routinely knock approach shots off course on their way onto small paspalum greens, a challenge only mitigated by careful shot selection or digging wind-free fairway tunnels. Even with these obstacles, the course's truncated length lets beginners make an enjoyable foray into the game, and more experienced players can work on short game acumen.
Jupiter Dunes’ resident golf pro Jeff Leishman strives to make golf a pleasant pursuit for all players, including juniors. Jeff creates an instructional regimen that best fits each player, helping adults to lower their handicaps during lessons and showing juniors how to make a golf-cart booby trap at summer camps for kids aged 6–14.
The 18 holes of Palm Beach Gardens Golf Course slither through the natural marshes and wetlands of the Loxahatchee Nature Preserve, testing golfers' mettle with frequent changes in fairway direction and lots of water. Players scoot about the Roy Case-designed layout aboard golf carts equipped with GPS systems, which help them ascertain exact distances to greens and around sunbathing caddies. The fairway of the par 5 ninth hole -- dubbed "Mucho Agua" -- lies on an isthmus between two large bodies of water, leaving little room for error as players try to reach the green in two. The fairway of the 13th hole, also a par 5, doglegs twice into a unique Z shape, earning it the name of "Zorro's Revenge." Before players may turn in for the day, they must deal with two shots over water on the last hole, named "Swamp Thing" for its proximity to marshland and proclivity for early '80s horror movies.
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.
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.
The pro instructors at Jupiter Equestrian Center welcome every opportunity to blend their two passions: horseback riding and the gorgeous scenery of the gated Ranch Colony community. Along the facility’s 20-acre expanse, equestrians demonstrate horseback-riding and handling skills through lessons, trail rides, camps, and competitive shows. During lessons, riders master basics such as grooming and trotting or more complicated skills such as leaps and elective hoof surgery. At day camp, kids ride horses for part of the day and spend the remaining hours with an array crafts, games, hikes, and time aboard boats or in pools. Guides from the center's sister program, Sandi Trails, captain adventures into nearby wilderness on trail rides, some venturing into the sun-drenched depths of state park forests. Birthday parties stay on site, unleashing revelers and school-aged horses in a petting zoo or picnic area.