The clear, warm Atlantic waters off of Jupiter, Florida are home to many natural and artificial reefs, making the area a magnet for sea creatures and popular among snorkelers. In most locations a boat is not needed to reach the reefs – simply wade or swim out to them. Wildlife ranges from colorful fish to dolphin pods, along with stingrays and jellyfish. Take note that most area beaches have lifeguards, but always be careful when in the water. Wearing water shoes to protect from sea creatures that can sting, for example, is a definite must.
The Easy to Reach Reef at Carlin Park
Carlin Park is popular among snorkelers for its variety of colorful fish and its 3,000-foot guarded beach. The snorkeling area is 50 feet out, but still within the designated swimming area. During low tide it is possible to walk almost all the way out to the reef, meaning it’s safe for children and convenient for standing and cleaning the mask between viewings. Here it is possilbe find a reef full of blue angels, butterfly fish, rays and grunts, as well as multicolored underwater rocks. Dolphin pods are also common offshore. Divers and snorkelers don’t need to worry about bringing flags to Carlin Park, as boats are not allowed in the area.
A Relaxing Reef at Dubois Park
The 19 acres of beachfront at Dubois Park provide a relaxing area to snorkel in, and plenty of opportunities to explore a reef without crowds. There are several places to snorkel here, situated mainly south of the guarded swimming area. The coral, mostly of the clubbed finger and groove-brained variety, is teeming with fish. Don't miss the manatees, often seen under the docks amid yellow damselfish. The park is equipped with a lifeguard and large picnic area.
Learning to Snorkel at Coral Cove
The reef at Coral Cove Park, accessible by a short swim, is commonly known among locals as "the place" to learn to snorkel because of the calm water and plentiful wildlife. There is an abundance of tropical fish to see, if particularly lucky, it may even be possible to spot a few purple eel, nurse sharks, loggerhead turtles, or barracuda. Boats do drop anchor here, so utilize a dive flag for safety purposes. The 15-acre beach is lifeguard protected and has a large picnic area with grills and tables, as well as a playground.
The Out of the Way Reef at Peanut Island
Peanut Island is one of the few places in Jupiter that can only be reached by boat or water taxi. Although slightly more inaccessible than other spots, it’s a popular snorkel location due to its large variety of tropical creatures. It is possible to come across fish of every color and size, from yellow tangs to butterfly fish and lobster. The area is also known for its jellyfish and stingrays, so it’s a good idea to protect the feet. By boat, take the inlet from the Intracoastal Waterway. If without a boat, it is possible to hire one from Lake Park, or take a water taxi from Singer Island, located about 10 miles from Jupiter.
A Reef Sanctuary at Blowing Rocks Preserve
The shallow water right off the beach at Blowing Rocks Preserve is great for snorkeling because of its craggy limestone rocks, which offer plenty of hiding places for fish. As a government-designated sanctuary, the natural beauty and wildlife habitats are well protected, so the chance of spotting unique sea creatures is higher here than in other areas. The water here is so shallow that even small children can snorkel, and the rocks are scattered with coquina shells that can be collected as souvenirs. The preserve center, with its restrooms, drinking fountains and picnic tables, is open for tourists.