When people think of a Florida vacation, they tend to think of swapping winter snows for sandy beaches and college coeds on spring break. But if that’s all you think of Florida, you may be missing it at its best. Like an orchid, life for locals unfolds in the summer months. Restaurants empty out, giving chefs free rein to experiment and play, which is probably why dinner series, kitchen takeovers, and pop-up restaurants become the norm. But culinary daring isn’t all you can expect from Jupiter in the summer.

Activities & Attractions

Taste the Best of Southern Florida

The last four dinners of Swank Farms’ annual Swank Table Dinner Series occur in March and April in Loxahatchee (20 miles from Jupiter), so be sure to savor one of these themed dining experiences before they go back into hibernation until the following December. Each dinner features a different top southern Florida chef who creates a multicourse meal using the state’s best farmers, ranchers, artisanal producers, micro-brewers, distillers, and organic wine makers. But you don’t just dine and dash: The alfresco meal is served after a tour of the hydroponic farm’s growing houses and fields accompanied by Swank chef liaison Simon Stojanovic.

Sip Summer in a Can

Since opening their doors three years ago, Civil Society’s favorite summer brews, Pulp American wheat ale and Fresh IPA, have been much sought out by locals, but could only be found in their Jupiter-based tap room or in a handful of local restaurants. This year, all of that changes, with both brews becoming available for purchase in cans on June 2 in local beer stores (find it in Craft Beer City). Stock up and head out on a sunset BYOB cruise on the Hakuna Matata catamaran, offering spectacular views of the West Palm Beach skyline and plenty of off-season elbow room.

Find a Delicate Flower

This region of Florida offers the perfect climate for orchids, particularly the Cattleya, with its many color variations. These flowers require the utmost care, thanks to their demanding nature: Too much or too little water or sunlight or an unexpected drop in temperature can kill them, but their beauty makes it worth it. This genus of orchid blooms from late July to the start of December. Keep an eye out for them at GreenMarket at Palm Beach Gardens every Saturday.

Cattleya Orchid

Scope out the Perseid Meteor Shower

Every August, Earth’s atmosphere is bombarded by debris from a comet so far away we can’t see it, but the meteor display it creates is one of the most anticipated annual astronomical events. All month long, the sky lights up with “shooting stars,” but the best days to see them, according to astronomers, are August 11 and 12, when the moon is only a thin crescent, meaning its light doesn’t interfere as much. To get the best view of the 60 to 200 meteors that shower the skies each hour during peak times, book a tour with Jupiter Outdoor Center. Kayak tours start with a sunset view as you paddle away from the city lights and into the heart of the Jupiter Inlet Aquatic Preserve.

Dine in a Manhattan Manner in Palm Beach

New York City celeb chef Daniel Boulud’s northern restaurants travel for the summer, including his Manhattan-based Boulud Sud, which lands in Palm Beach. From July to early September, his team of world-class chefs will be whipping up highbrow interpretations of Mediterranean favorites. Reservations aren’t just encouraged; they are required, as there is a limited amount of seating each night and Chef Boulud’s seared sea bass and frozen grapefruit givré are in high demand.

Boulud Sud in Palm Beach

See a Rare Release

It’s no secret that sea turtle nesting season begins in March, with babies hatching some 60 days after being laid to crawl back into the sea. However, some don’t make it to the ocean – either because they are too weak to make it past the wave break, they head in the wrong direction, or are attacked by local wildlife. Which is where the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach (five miles south of Jupiter) comes into the picture. After being rescued and held at the facility for a couple weeks, the baby turtles are released back into the open ocean by the center during its annual August Hatchling Release program. Every evening during this month, a series of hatchlings are released by a staff member at the beach for the public to view – a rare experience, so we suggest you reserve in advance.

Festivals & Events

Plein Air Festival, 3/3–11

For five days, 35 award-winning artist converge on Palm Beach to paint picturesque scenes of Florida in the warm sunshine. People are encouraged to watch the artists at work and to interact with them through a series of meet and greets. At the end of the five days, this year’s judge (and last year’s winner) Nancy Tankersly chooses the new winner. In conjunction with the professional competition, Lighthouse Arts is also hosting workshops, artist demos, kids’ painting events, and a gallery showing and sale of the completed paintings.

Palm Beach Plein Air Festival

Turtlefest, 3/24

The Loggerhead Marinelife Center hosts the area’s largest conservation event each year: Turtlefest, bringing together the local food and craft beer scene with local musicians to create a day of live music, games, drinking, and dining to raise money and awareness for the center and the plight of the loggerhead turtles.

Wild & Scenic Film Festival, 4/14

This film festival is on tour internationally throughout the year and hits Jupiter in April, thanks to Jupiter Lighthouse Museum. The festival features environmentally focused short films that cover a range of topics. Titles include Conservation Nation, Blue Ventures, and Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Chris Hedges’ American Psychosis. The outdoor seating is BYO but food and drink is provided by Whole Foods and Burrito Bros.

Sunfest, 5/3–6

Themed food courts, a “ChillZone” equipped with a sea of hanging hammocks, and an “art district” hosting 80 artists, crafters, and vendors complement this three-day music fest, where 50 bands play across three stages along the downtown West Palm waterfront. Past performers have included Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Weezer, Fitz and the Tantrums, and Hozier.

Sunfest

Friends of Jupiter Beach Food & Wine Festival, 5/19

At the Jupiter Plaza Down Under, over 45 different local vendors of food, wine, and craft beer come together for the Food & Wine Festival. This year will feature the “ace of cakes” Duff Goldman and multiple James Beard award-winner Donald Link, as well as other culinary bigshots. Proceeds from the event fund monthly beach cleanups and “doggy bag” stations that keep Jupiter’s beaches fido-friendly.

Shakespeare by the Sea, 7/12–15 & July 7/19–22

Each evening, bring your own blanket, beach chair, and picnic basket to the Seabreeze Amphitheater in Jupiter’s Carlin Park for a free under-the-stars production of the best from the Bard.

Spiny Lobsterfest, August (final date still to be determined)

Hosted at Sailfish Marina in West Palm Beach, this all-day celebration of Florida’s spiny lobster season features lobster dishes from local restaurants (everything from lobster po’boys to lobster quesadillas), live music, art and jewelry vendors, and plenty of activities for the kids.

Surf Dog Classic Surfing Contest, August (final date still to be determined)

During this annual Jupiter tradition, four-legged surfing competitors descend upon Carlin Park beach at 8 a.m. to take their best ride. While the awards ceremony begins at 11 a.m. – awarding trophies for first, second, and third place in each heat – the party continues all day with steel drum tunes, food trucks, and photo booths for owners and their pets.

Where to Stay Jupiter Beach Resort