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Blowing Rocks Preserve: Dramatic beach in Jupiter is unique

Last updated on July 31st, 2021 at 05:11 pm

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.

Rocks frame an ocean view at Blowing Rocks Preserve, Jupiter, Florida, beach
Rocks frame an ocean view at Blowing Rocks Preserve. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

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.

You wind through a tunnel of seagrape trees on the short trail to Blowing Rocks Preserve beach
You wind through a tunnel of seagrape trees on the short trail to Blowing Rocks Preserve beach. (Photo: David Blasco)

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.

Craggy rocks at Blowing Rocks Preserve, Jupiter, Florida, beach
Craggy rocks line Blowing Rocks Preserve beach. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

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.

Fishermen at Blowing Rocks Preserve, Jupiter, Florida, beach
At the north end of Blowing Rocks Preserve beach, shore fisherman cast their lines. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Planning your visit to Blowing Rocks Preserve

Greatest asset: Spectacular rock formations.

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.

Pets: Not allowed.

Location574 S Beach Rd, Hobe Sound, FL 33455.  Restrooms and water fountain available at the education center

Education center at Blowing Rocks Preserve, Jupiter, Florida
A well-done education center is on the lagoon side of Blowing Rocks Preserve. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

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.

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.

Lagoon view at Blowing Rocks, Jupiter, Florida, beach
On the lagoon side of A1A, boardwalks bring you to benches with scenic views at Blowing Rocks Preserve. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

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.

Note: There are temporary pandemic hours. Blowing Rocks Preserve is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The preserve is temporarily closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. The Hawley Education Center is temporarily closed to the public. Temporary restrooms are available in the west parking lot.

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.

Worn rocks Blowing Rocks Preserve, Jupiter, Florida, beach
At the south end of Blowing Rocks Preserve, waves have smoothed the rocks, which are at beach level.

Things to do near Blowing Rocks Preserve in Jupiter and Hobe Sound

The area is rich in outdoor activities.

From the Editor:

The information in this article was accurate when published but can change without notice. Please confirm rates and details when planning your trip by following the links in this article.

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