Blowing Rocks beach is studded with craggy rocks
In a region with miles of sandy beaches, Blowing Rocks Preserve is unique: Its craggy limestone shore looks like it belongs in Maine or Hawaii.
Owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy, Blowing Rocks Preserve on Jupiter Island is as wild and natural as a beach can get. The conservancy doesn’t even let you bring food or beverages.
It gets its name from what the waves and rocks do during rough seas at high tide — water spurts out of holes in the Anastasia limestone, at times spouting 50 feet into the air. These conditions are most common in winter.
I’ve never witnessed that spectacle. But every time I visit Blowing Rocks Preserve, it’s a different experience, and always stunning.
Once, a storm had piled sand so high the rocks barely protruded above. Another time, we visited at low tide and scrambled below the cliff-like rock formations, exploring the small sea caves that waves have carved.
During a recent visit to Blowing Rocks, effervescent waves smashed into the rock formations. The water was an exquisite turquoise and hundreds of small tide pools were decorated with jewel-like shells and barnacles.
In Florida, we call this rock coquina and it has been a building material for 400 years. (That’s what the Spanish used to build Castillo de San Marcos in Saint Augustine in 1672.) It is composed of the remains of ancient coral reefs, sand ridges and shells. It crops up in several places along the coast, but the biggest outcropping is at Blowing Rocks Preserve.
From the dune crossover, you will want to explore both north and south to see the whole one-mile-long Blowing Rock beach.
Some of the rock formations are sharp and prickly; others smooth and wave-worn. Towards the southern end of the preserve, the rocks are worn into shapes not much higher than the sand and erosion has caused bowl-like holes and swirling lumps.
Beyond Blowing Rock’s southern boundary, you enter an area where houses line the beach, but the beach remains public property below the mean high tide line, so you can continue your beach-combing. If you walk north of Blowing Rock, the formations become smaller and shore fisherman are busy casting.
Planning your visit to Blowing Rocks Preserve
What’s the best time to see the “blowing rocks” for which the preserve is famous? Visit on a day with rough seas at high tide. Check the current tide schedule; high tide is different every day.
Parking: Ample. If the oceanfront lot is full, you can park across the street at the education center.
Fees: $2 per adult; children under 12 are free.
Alcohol: Not allowed, and nor is food.
Are dogs allowed? No.
Location: 574 S Beach Rd, Hobe Sound, FL 33455. Restrooms and water fountain available at the education center.
The 73-acre Blowing Rocks Preserve is located in Hobe Sound on narrow Jupiter Island, a barrier island between the Indian River Lagoon and the ocean.
With the addition of Blowing Rock’s lagoon-side education center and parking lot, there is now ample parking. (In the old days, cars waited in the small lot for folks to leave to snag a space.)
The education center offers attractive, well-executed exhibits plus rest rooms and a shady wrap-around porch amidst the mangroves.2023-8-1-blowing-rocks-Visitor-Map
Blowing Rocks Preserve offers several short walks for exploring the site.
On the beach side, a third-mile-long dune trail offers ocean views. (It amazed us to learn this was the original location of A1A.)
On the lagoon side, a boardwalk leads to a platform with benches overlooking the Indian River Lagoon. The slightly longer Lagoon Restoration Trail shows off a key accomplishment of Blowing Rocks Preserve: a landscape of bright yellow beach sunflowers and native plants where once only exotic Australian pines and Brazilian pepper thrived.
You can swim or snorkel at Blowing Rock beach, but if there are waves or it is high tide, you’re safer swimming at another beach. When the sea is calm, the rocks make for good snorkeling.
Blowing Rocks Preserve official site. Regular preserve hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily except major holidays.
If you pack a picnic lunch, consider eating at Coral Cove Park, just south of Blowing Rocks Preserve, because food is not allowed in the preserve. Parking is free at Coral Cove, whose beach features an extension of the submerged rocks you see at Blowing Rocks. It’s known for its good snorkeling.
Things to do near Blowing Rocks Preserve in Jupiter and Hobe Sound
- Overview of outdoor and natural outings in Jupiter, including restaurants and hotels.
- Jonathan Dickinson State Park for hiking, biking camping, cabins, kayaking, birding and more.
- Kayaking the wild and scenic Loxahatchee River
- Blowing Rocks Preserve: Dramatic beach is unique
- Jupiter Inlet and Lighthouse Museum
- The “secret beach” at Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge
- Kayaking to St. Lucie Preserve State Park and its remote, pristine beach
- Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, free park with native animals
- Riverbend Park is great for family bicycling, picnics, walks
- Biking Jupiter Island, scenic low-traffic beachfront road
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The author, Bonnie Gross, travels with her husband David Blasco, discovering off-the-beaten path places to hike, kayak, bike, swim and explore. Florida Rambler was founded in 2010 by Bonnie and fellow journalist Bob Rountree, two long-time Florida residents who have spent decades exploring the Florida outdoors. Their articles have been published in the Sun Sentinel, the Miami Herald, the Orlando Sentinel, The Guardian and Visit Florida.