Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Located just 5 miles north of Jupiter is a 10,500 acre natural area that buffers Martin and Palm Beach counties.  This state park has many different habitats and terrain, as well as a wide variety of wildlife. The picture above is Hobe .Mountian, an 84 foot sand dune that looks out over the ocean and park.  This is the highest point in the surrounding area and it's a fairly easy hike to the top from the parking lot.  Other activities include mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing, camping, canoeing, visitor center, and boat tours. 


If you are looking to get on the water and close to nature then renting a kayak for the day might be the adventure for you.  My favorite place is the Loxahatchee River.  Rentals are available off of Indiantown Road at Riverbend Park.  The river flows and winds through cypress and palm trees under a shaded canopy for much of the time after the bridge.  Many species of birds, fish, turtles, and alligators are common along the way.  Keep in mind that the way down is with the current and if you don't have a pick up you will be paddling back upstream.  Another popular spot is John D MacArthur State Park on Singer Island.  This area is surrounded by mangroves in brackish water and influenced by the tides.  There are many types of birds, crabs, and stingrays that can be seen and its common to have mullet (fish) jumping all around.  Because of the open water surrounding the area this is a better trip to do earlier in the morning or on cooler, cloudy day with lighter winds. Munyon Island can only be reached by boat and is a fun place to explore, especially during the week when it's less crowded.  Be sure to plan your kayaking around the high tide, at low tide many of the areas become mud flats or too shallow to pass.  Either trip is sure to be a fun day and a great way to enjoy the outdoors!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Boat parades

Christmas time in our area certainly won't be white with average daily highs in the 70's.  Most people are familiar with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, but have you ever heard of boat parades? Every year, usually around the first week of December, we have the opportunity to watch lighted boats cruise down the intracoastal waterway.  It's a fun way to enjoy the holiday season with friends and family in the tropics.  The evenings throughout the month of December are also a great time to drive around and look a Christmas lights on the houses.  Snug Harbor, The Heights of Jupiter, Hoffman's Chocolates, and Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek will be sure to impress.  There is something special about lighted palm trees swaying in warm breezes!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Grow your own produce

Living in a sub-tropical climate allows the opportunity to grow over 100 fruits and vegetables right in your backyard.  Some of the more common and easier things to grow from my experience are bananas, mangos, tomatoes, longan, mysore raspberries, and starfruit. You don't need a big yard or a lot of space because there are many varieties that can be grown in pots or even hydroponically.  If you are looking for a place that carries every possible plant that can be grown here, you need to check out Excalibur nursery in Lake Worth. With acres of trees you will be sure to find the perfect plant.  They also sell fresh fruit from the mature trees that encompass the property.  Remember that it takes time for trees to become established and produce, so what are you waiting for, put it on your list and start growing your own fresh food that can be enjoyed for years to come.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Tropical eats

Here are some unique spots to eat:

Sailfish Marina:  You will feel like you are on vacation at this island restaurant where you can watch the sun go down over the water.   Visit on Thursday nights and there is live music and craft vendors selling different items with coastal themes.  The numerous fish surrounding the marina are a hit with people of all ages and food is available to feed the fish.

The Seafood Bar: Upscale dining at the The Breakers Hotel on Palm Beach.  The bars are aquariums, top notch food presentation, and windows overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, this one is a must do!

Food shack or Leftovers: Funky surf vibe and the best prepared seafood around with a nice selection of craft beers.

Guanabanas: About as tropical as you can get! This restaurant and bar is completely outside and feels like a lush Costa Rican jungle. It also borders a waterway protected by mangroves where kayaker's. paddle boarders, and boaters cruise by and stop in.

Old Key Lime House:  Not only the largest Tiki Bar in Palm Beach County but the oldest waterfront restaurant in the state.  Laid back Florida keys atmosphere with live bands, great crab cakes, and of course, key lime pie.

When you are running short on time after a long day:

CR Chicks: Get a home cooked meal fast, and at a reasonable price.  With 7 locations across Palm Beach County this local chain cooks their chicken over Brazilian oak logs and serves up delicious sides to go with it.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Manatee encounter

If you are on or near the water it's common to see manatees in the area..
In February 2016, a new center will help visitors view these gentle giants.
Manatee Lagoon – an FPL Eco-Discovery Center, will welcome visitors with engaging opportunities to learn about these endangered & unique creatures. Dynamic exhibits will offer insight into South Florida’s coastal ecosystem and its flora & fauna. On cold winter days, the 16,000-square-foot center will be the ideal spot to view manatee herds basking in the warm-water outflows from Florida Power & Light Company’s adjacent Riviera Beach Next Generation Clean Energy Center. Amenities include: » Free admission » Multi-functional Education Center » Two levels of exhibit & meeting space » Boardwalk » Picnic area and pavilion » Gift shop and cafe » Free parking » Manatee webcam Phone: (866) 252-6049; visit:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Singer Island Snorkeling

If you are looking for a great place to snorkel, look no further than Singer Island. There are multiple places to see lots of fish right from the shore. If ocean conditions are calm there are 3 different places to try.  The first is just to the north of Riviera Municipal Beach.  Just a short walk and right off the beach are large rock piles placed for erosion.  The first groups of rocks start at the shore in very shallow water, but as you swim out there are more areas to explore.  The next is Ocean Reef Park, where most of the beach has natural rocks and ledges right off the guarded beach.  Finally, there is John D MacArthur State Park that has a natural reef just north of the walkway and a short swim from the beach.   Sometimes the state park will offer guided snorkeling on the weekends.

If the ocean is rough all you have to do is check the tides and head to one of three other places.  The first is Phil Foster Park.  There is an underwater snorkel trail with rock piles, sunken boats, and small statues.  You will often find this area shared with divers because the water is a little deeper and the dive shops do their training there.  The bridges that surround the area can hold amazing sea life but the currents can be very dangerous when its not slack tide.  It's also very common to see manatees around this area when the water is cooler from January to March.  Peanut island is the other place to snorkel that the clearest water around 2 hours before and after high tide because of the proximity to the deep inlet.  However, you will need to take a water taxi or sail with Captain Joe from the Riviera Beach Marina to get to this little piece of paradise.  Finally, with some of the largest fish and biggest drop offs are along the jetties.  This should only be done with a great deal of caution because of the strong currents and boat traffic.  Access is also very tough and the closest parking is pretty far away.  The best bet is to ride a bike or be ready for a long walk.  Always snorkel with a buddy, use a dive flag, and don't be surprised by how much you will see!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Rapids Water Park

The Rapids water park is a great place to beat the summertime heat! Locals can still remember when it opened with only 4 slides in 1979.  It has grown over the years and is now the largest in south Florida with a lazy river, wave pool, and 35 water slides.  There is something for all ages and a definite place to visit when you need to cool off and have some fun!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spring Training

Every year in the community of Abacoa the best players in the world come to sharpen their skills before the upcoming season.  Baseballs finest from the the St. Louis Cardinals and Florida Marlins hold their spring training schedules at Roger Dean Stadium throughout the month of March.  This setting provides a small town feel where the fans can watch their teams and get really close to the action.  Plans are also in place to bring the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros to a brand new stadium off of 45th Street in West Palm Beach.  If all goes well with the project it will make Palm Beach County the only county in Florida with two Spring training facilities and baseball enthusiasts will have four major league teams within a 20 minute drive!

Monday, December 22, 2014


You can't go far in Palm Beach County without finding a golf course.  Many communities are completely built around the golfing lifestyle. The options range from par 3, to exclusive private, and even championship courses that host PGA events.  There is a place to play for every skill level and price range.  The dry season that runs from November to April creates ideal weather conditions to tee it up.  With neighbors like Nicklaus, Woods, Els, McIlroy, and Norman its hard to argue that there is a better place for golf.

Friday, October 24, 2014


No, it's not Hawaii, but Palm Beach County does get rideable waves for surfing. With the Bahamas only 60 miles offshore, most of the large ocean swells from the east do get blocked.  However, there is a swell window from the north that pushes down from storms and fronts out in the Atlantic.  Most of the waves occur from September to May and fall into the 2-6 foot range.  The good news is you can usually find waves you like within an hours drive.  One part of the county could be solid 4-6 foot and in short drive it could be 1-3 or even flat. Usually the farther north you drive the bigger it gets. Reef Road, on Palm Beach is capable of holding some of the largest waves on the east coast and has rare days of 10-15+ foot from super storms and hurricanes.

Sunday, October 5, 2014


Wellington, located in central Palm Beach County is a world renowned horse community.  From the Winter Equestrian Festival at the Palm Beach International Equestrian center to the 57 miles of riding trails within the village, this is the place to be for horse lovers.  As a youth, I enjoyed going to polo games with my friends dad.  He worked the scoreboard on the gorgeous Sunday afternoons so we got hang out right behind the goal.  We got close to the action and could feel the thundering horses as they came our way. As the goals were scored we would chase down balls and then sell them after the game, what a blast!  

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Offshore Fishing

Warm, clear Gulf Stream water combined with a quick drop of the continental shelf create a place where you can go fishing offshore and catch an amazing variety of species .  Some of the common favorites are sailfish, mahi, wahoo, snapper, grouper, kingfish, cobia, tuna, and swordfish.  The abundance of marine life is evident every time you go.  It is not uncommon to see flying fish, turtles, dolphin, manatees, or sharks.  If you don't have a boat or friend with a boat there are many local guides who can get you out on the water and have you reeling up fish in no time.  Our favorite boat is the Blackdog out of Jupiter. They always seem to get the pole bending and provide excellent service. There's nothing like spending a day on the water and coming home to cook up a fresh catch with friends and family!

Saturday, August 30, 2014


What would a blog about Palm Beach County, Florida be without a post on beaches?  The only problem is that there are too many great beaches along our coast to tell about all of them!  But here are a just a few for now:

Jupiter Beach aka Dog Beach - currently the only beach in Palm Beach County where dogs are allowed (even off leash AS LONG AS THEY ARE UNDER YOUR DIRECT CONTROL).  This is a fun place to take Fido for swimming, running, and playing with other dogs.  Please respect others on the beach (if your dog isn't under your control he needs to be on a leash) and pick up after your pet (baggies are even provided at the top of the walkways).  This beach allows dogs for a 2.5 mile stretch in Jupiter along A1A from #25 to #59 (just south of Marcinski Road to Jupiter Beach Resort)

Ocean Reef Park (3860 North Ocean Drive, Riviera Beach, Florida - we love this guarded beach. They have a cool little rock ledge right off shore.  During low tide you can often walk on it finding small fish and other creatures.  It is also a good place to snorkel.

DuBois Park - (19075 DuBios Road, Jupiter, Florida) - this park has it all.  It is on the Jupiter Inlet, so you can walk along the inlet and do some fishing, you can go to the beach on the south side of the inlet, or there is a cool little swimming area on the interior of the park.  The water comes in and wraps around to create a protected pool (so usually little to no waves).  There are lifeguards in some of the swimming areas.

Lion Country Safari

Lion Country Safari is a drive through safari and park located in western Palm Beach County in Loxahatchee, Florida.  When you first enter the park you are given a CD and map so you can identify the animals along the drive through safari.  Our favorites are the ostriches (which have been known to peck at our car) and the lions (they are usually sleeping, but on a rare occasion you will see them playing together).

After a leisurely drive through the safari, you come to a large lot where you can park and then enter the walk through part of the safari.  Here you can experience many up close and personal animal encounters (try feeding the lory birds or giraffes; both favorites of ours).  You can also take a paddle boat and paddle around the small lake, hop on a pontoon boat for a closer look at the animals around the lake, play mini golf, and ride an assortment of small rides (ferris wheel, flying elephants, train ride, and more).  And of course on those hot Florida days it is always nice to cool down on one of the 2 water slides or the splash park.  Other than the animal feedings, everything is included in the price of admission (but the animal feedings are well worth the extra money so be sure to have some on hand)!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Peanut Island

Peanut Island is one of my favorite spots in Palm Beach county. It is a 79 acre island located at the mouth of Lake Worth Inlet. To get here, you do have to take a short boat ride, but there are plenty of water taxis around if you don't own a boat. This wonderful place has all sorts of things you can do. From relaxing on the beach, to going on a adventurous hike around the island- there is something for your whole family on Peanut Island. It also has a small coral reef where you can snorkel and see all sorts of amazing fish and critters, pavilions and grills to have a nice barbecue, and even a campsite on the island! You will discover more and more places hidden in Peanut Island every time you go! 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Busch Wildlife

Busch Wildlife is a Jupiter gem.  This wildlife sanctuary is home to many of Florida's native animals. Some are there being rehabilitated, while others are permanent residents due to not being able to be released back into the wild for various reasons.  You can get an up close look at Florida panthers, skunks, raccoons, alligators, and even bears!  They have an animal hospital for injured wildlife, so if you "rescue" a hurt animal you can take it into the sanctuary for rehabilitation.  We've dropped off a baby yellow belly slider turtle we found in our pool that had a cracked shell.   And we know of others that have dropped off baby possums and birds they found injured in their yards.  They also have a great Junior Naturalist program that one of our daughters has been involved with for several years.  They learn hands on about the animals, participate in feedings and cleaning out environments, as well as presenting their chosen animal at their wildlife encounter daily programs.

Loggerhead Marinelife Center

The Loggerhead Marinelife Center is a great local place to visit to view turtles and sea life up close.  We've been going here since our girls were little.  They still love to check in on the turtles!   There are a lot of programs offered there (including fish feedings, story time, guided tours and hikes, and of course viewing turtles and hatchlings). You can follow them on facebook as well to get updates as to when turtles are being released back in the ocean after being rehabilitated at their facility.