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
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.
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 multi-course meal using the state’s best farmers, ranchers, artisanal producers, micro-brewers, distillers, and organic winemakers. 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.
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.
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. Today, both brews are available for purchase in cans on 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.
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.
Daytrip to Miami
Thanks to Brightline Trains (about to be rebranded as Virgin Trains USA) getting from Palm Beach to Miami takes just over an hour (rush hour or not). These new trains offer luxury accommodations like you would expect in Europe including a snack and bar cart, free Wi-Fi, and plugs in every seat. Most importantly, it allows you more time to explore Miami, including the city’s cool new food hall trend. Time Out Market is the newest and features food and drinks from 17 of the city’s most celebrated chefs in one casual setting.
Festivals & Events
Plein Air Festival, 3/9–17
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.
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, 4/12
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. Topics cover the Flint Michigan water crisis, the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and follow photographer Joshua Holko’s team as they endure frostbite and camera failures to capture the beauty of the arctic circle.
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.
Friends of Jupiter Beach Food & Wine Festival, 5/18
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 Iron Chef–winner Jose Garces and multiple James Beard award–winners like Charles Phan and Alon Shaya, as well as other culinary bigshots.
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.
Spiny Lobsterfest, 9/10
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.
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