Cattails and knotty trees shake themselves in the breeze drifting off waterways, where gentle wakes spread behind Riverfront Kayaks’ colorful vessels. The staff presides over a range of single and double kayaks, as well as paddleboards, which let one stand upon the surface of the water. Their gears purring in the sun, bikes also cruise from the shop with easy speed. During eco-tours and other activities, the crew introduces guests to Florida's rippling rivers, fishing hot spots, and official state fishing story.
Pirate's Loft Restaurant overlooks a vast natural manatee habitat and hooks in hungry guests with fresh seafood and prime meats. The tender littleneck clams are a gulf-grown specialty ($10). The crab-stuffed shrimp swims in citrus beurre blanc ($17), and the rack of barbecue ribs backstrokes in tangy house-made sauce ($14 half, $23 full). Around lunchtime, the popular Reuben sandwich reinvents itself with seaside flavor by wedging batter-dipped, fried grouper between coleslaw, swiss cheese, and crispy rye bread before running as lieutenant governor of the ocean ($15). The daytime menu also presents smaller portions of dinner fare, including fresh-netted fried fish platters ($12–$19) and a six-ounce Angus reserve sirloin ($13).
Featured in TC Palm, Treasure Coast Sailing Adventures’ schooner, Lily, is one of the few of its kind left sailing. Since 1999, Captain Fred Newhart has overseen care of the vessel, which hauled lumber between Martha’s Vineyard and Maine in the '70s and '80s, joined by First Mate Jamie Miscoski in 2010. Today, the barge takes up to 35 passengers on scenic tours and private charters that cruise down the Saint Lucie River. Each passenger can choose to help with tasks on deck, such as raising the sails, or simply sit back and sip from a glass of wine.
Nestled in the placid Manatee Pocket of the St. Lucie River, Premier Boat Club maintains a 15-strong stable of eminently pilotable watercraft for members and renters. Their canopied pontoons, deck boats, and dual-console vessels serve the needs of day-cruisers and fishers alike, granting easy access to the boundless ocean or inland waterways beneath boundless sunshine.
While Premier’s boats are available for full- or half-day hires for anyone, club members benefit from a sweetened seafaring experience. The club’s staff of expert boaters welcomes inductees with a personalized orientation before handing over the reins to the entire fleet. Experienced captains, meanwhile, are always on-hand for free training sessions, towing in the event of an emergency, or giving tips on siren avoidance.
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.
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.