On Florida’s east coast, north of Palm Beach, sits a rare and remarkable stretch of coastline. Blowing Rocks Preserve (574 S. Beach Road, Home Sound; 561.744.6669; nature.org) features 73 acres of lovingly restored land on a barrier island just across from Jupiter Sound. The preserve is owned by The Nature Conservancy and provides a natural habitat for native plants and animals, many of them endangered. The land includes salt marshes, mangroves, coastal strands and tropical hammocks. Sea turtles frequent its beaches, and rare shorebirds nest along its coast.
The preserve gets its name from the limestone shoreline that winds around its perimeter. During high tide on days with rough seas, water breaks against the limestone in dramatic spouts. It’s a site unlike any other in the state of Florida.
The preserve was founded in 1969, when a group of Jupiter Island residents saved the acreage from the plans of developers who had purchased the land to build high-density apartments and hotels on the rock ledges along its shore. Citizens rallied together and pressed the developers to abandon the project. It worked; the developers eventually sold the land to the residents, who donated it to The Nature Conservancy.
Plan a Visit
Blowing Rocks Preserve is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. It’s closed on some holidays, so check the website before scheduling a trip. Complimentary parking is available on-site, but take note—the preserve’s gates are closed and locked at 4:30 p.m. It’s free to visit the preserve, though visitors are invited to give a $2 per person donation to help defray the costs of maintenance.
Visitors can swim, snorkel or relax on the beach. Blowing Rocks has five short trails that make for easy and scenic exploring. Don’t miss the beach trail, which winds through a shaded maritime hammock and has benches for resting. The dune trail offers sweeping views of the beach and sea, and the mangrove boardwalk allows for a stroll through the mangrove forest. The preserve regularly hosts public events including beach cleanups, nature walks and a lecture series.
Where to Stay
The best places to stay close to Blowing Rocks are in nearby Palm Beach. The historic Breakers (1 S. County Road, Palm Beach; 877.797.1393; thebreakers.com) offers a luxury hotel experience with turn-of-the-century glam. Its 1926 remodel brought in the same designers behind New York City’s Waldorf Astoria, who pulled their influences from the Villa Medici in Rome. Today The Breakers has been updated with modern amenities, yet it still projects the same opulence that appealed to tycoons and socialites in another era.
The Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa (100 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan; 561.533.6000; eaupalmbeach.com) prides itself on bringing relaxed luxury to Palm Beach. The resort is stylish and chic with all the amenities of a top-notch hotel, but the vibe is more cool than stately at this luxury hotspot.