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Florida

Blowing Rocks Preserve




Open to the Public

Yes

Things To Do

Enjoy swimming, snorkeling and scuba-diving from the protected beach and three hiking trails to observe rare birds, plants and animals.
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Plan Your Visit

Open daily from 9 am – 4:30 pm, except for major holidays. The preserve will be closed: November 27, December 24 & 25, and January 1st. We will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on December 31st. View All

Get Directions

After five decades of protecting Florida’s great places, The Nature Conservancy considers Blowing Rocks Preserve a top success story. This peaceful, barrier island sanctuary is a well known model for large-scale, native coastal habitat restoration.

The carefully restored habitats found here are disappearing fast from many Florida islands, and a number of endangered plants and animals call this special place home – including rare loggerhead, green and leatherback sea turtles

We’re grateful for the enthusiastic support for our efforts! Will you renew your commitment today?

The preserve was named for its rocky Anastasia limestone shoreline – the largest on the U.S. Atlantic coast. During extreme high tides and after winter storms, seas break against the rocks and force plumes of saltwater up to 50 feet skyward. It’s an impressive sight. What exactly are the Blowing Rocks?

Location

574 South Beach Road, Hobe Sound, FL 33455. Located on Jupiter Island at the southernmost tip of the Indian River Lagoon, about 25 miles north of West Palm Beach (see map).

Size

73 acres

Protected Plants and Animals

Wonder what you’ll see here? Native habitats – including beach dune, coastal strand, mangrove swamp and tropical hardwood hammock – are flush with red, black and white mangroves, gumbo limbo trees, Jamaica caper, sea grape, railroad vine, sea oats and much more. Healthy seagrass along the lagoon harbors urchin, blue claw crab and the endangered Florida manatee.

Sea turtles returning to nest on the north beach include loggerhead, green and leatherback. Guests may spot a number of shorebirds such as the brown pelican, osprey and least tern, as well as fiddler crab and a wide variety of small marine creatures.

We welcome your support of these often-rare species. Donate here today

History

Blowing Rocks Preserve began in 1969, when far-sighted and generous residents of Jupiter Island donated 73 acres of their island to the Conservancy. Roughly rectangular, the preserve runs for one mile from north to south – and from the Atlantic Ocean on the east to the Indian River Lagoon on the west. Today the restored preserve reflects what South Florida barrier islands looked like a century ago. Visitors glimpse one of our state’s rarest surviving landscapes – an intact Florida dune habitat with beach sunflower, bay cedar, sea grape and sea oats.

Threats

In addition to threats from encroaching development in fast-growing South Florida, the preserve had three major disturbances:

  • Mounds of soil, dumped from the 1950s dredging of the Intracoastal Waterway, physically buried many historic wetlands and uplands.
  • Invasive species, especially fast-growing Australian pine, Brazilian pepper and latherleaf, had severely impacted the remaining native vegetation.
  • Boat wakes along the lagoon had caused shoreline erosion and alterations, including damages to the shoreline mangrove fringe.

Other threats include the effects of sea level rise and climate change, as well as a new crop of invasive plants, animals and pathogens.

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing

Large-scale restoration, begun in 1985, is now complete.

  • Wetland restoration: Spoil sand was removed to create and enhance tidal pools and creeks. The area was carefully re-plumbed. Mangrove wetlands were reconnected to the lagoon and stabilized.
  • Beachside restoration:  Natural dunes and native vegetation were re-established.
  • Non-native, invasive species removed: This included 4,000 large Australian pines, growing in dense stands.
  • Genetically appropriate native species returned: The majority of the preserve has now been replanted with native plants – most were grown in the onsite nursery from seed collected on the preserve.

Today’s diverse and dynamic ecosystem is more resistant to erosion and to natural and human disturbances. It’s a historically accurate, natural environment.

Guest services: Visitors may enjoy a restful, native plant demonstration garden. Interpretative signs are featured along three hiking trails and boardwalks, each up to 1/3 mile long. A photo-worthy sea grape path winds from hardwood hammock, through coastal strands, and into the beach dune before arriving at the “Blowing Rocks”.  Swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving are allowed from the beach during listed hours (see Plan Your Visit.)  Guests are invited to use the restrooms, drinking fountain and shady decks at the preserve center.

Hawley Education Center: Built in 1996, the center provides tourists and the local community an opportunity to learn about The Nature Conservancy’s efforts to protect native habitats, plants and animals in Florida and around the world. It hosts exhibits and a winter lecture series.

Collaboration: Conservancy staff share best practices with land managers and owners throughout the region, and collaborate with local, state and federal agencies to restore coastal habitat. Thousands of volunteers have assisted our efforts.

Contact us at Blowing Rocks Preserve:  (561) 744-6668 and be sure to like us on Facebook.

Learn more about the Conservancy's other preserves in Florida

 

Photos
Video

Hurricane Sandy visits Blowing Rocks Preserve

The beach at The Nature Conservancy's Blowing Rocks Preserve in Jupiter, Florida. The limestone rock on the beach, a unique sight in Florida, forces water 40-50 feet in the air.

Dune trail Blowing Rocks Preserve 450x300

 

 

  • Porch talks on Saturdays and guided beach walks on Sundays. See more events>>
  • Swimming, snorkeling and scuba-diving from the protected beach
  • Three hiking trails with interpretive signs
  • Observe rare birds, plants and animals
  • Enjoy exhibits and shady porches at the Hawley Education Center
  • Restrooms and water fountain available at the center 

You may want to check the tide schedule for Jupiter Island.  

Events & Volunteer Opportunities
Hours

Open daily from 9 am – 4:30 pm, except for major holidays.
Holiday Schedule 2014: The preserve will be closed: November 27, December 24 & 25, and January 1st. We will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on December 31st.

Fees

Daily beach access: $2 adults, $1 members, children 12 and under are free.

Exhibits and Events:

Weekend Tours

Tides of Life

Help protect the preserve’s native habitats and wildlife!

  • Food, pets and spear fishing are not allowed
  • Stay on marked trails at all times
  • Do not release or collect live plants or animals

Commercial photography and wedding ceremonies are by permission only.

More things to Do
What to See: Seasonal Wildlife  
Winter

Osprey, which can be observed year-round, are especially plentiful during the winter months. Palm, pine and other migrating warblers enjoy the mild winter here, as do a few ruby-throated hummingbirds. The coral bean produces its bright, red tubular flowers, while the wild poinsettia is also in bloom.

Spring

The unusual necklace pod blooms, and plentiful beach sunflowers show their bright yellow blossoms. Butterflies such as great southern whites, Cassius blues, and skippers flutter about the preserve.

Summer

In summer months, the mile of Atlantic Ocean beachfront provides important nesting habitat for imperiled sea turtles (primarily loggerheads). At night, the female turtles come ashore, climb above the high tide line, dig a hole with their flippers and lay their eggs in nests of sand. On many summer mornings, turtle tracks are clearly visible in the sand – to spot them, look for horizontal tracks in the sand that look like they could have been made by a small bulldozer or tractor tires.

The rocks and worm-rock reefs offshore offer great opportunities for snorkeling or scuba diving as well as occasional sea turtle sightings. 

Please note that sea turtles and their nests are protected by federal as well as state and local laws. If you are fortunate enough to see a nesting sea turtle or hatchlings, please do not touch or otherwise harass either them or their nests. 

Fall

A variety of birds migrate through the area, including warblers, offshore pelagic birds, hawks and falcons. The abundant sea grapes are fruiting, turning out grape-like clusters of berries. 

 

Directions

Blowing Rocks Preserve
574 South Beach Road
Hobe Sound, FL 33455-2804

From I-95:
Take exit 87A (Jupiter/Indiantown Rd.)
Travel east on Indiantown Road to U.S. 1
Turn left (north) on U.S. 1 to Jupiter Inlet
After crossing bridge, immediately turn right onto South Beach Rd. (CR707)
Follow South Beach Rd. for 2 miles. Preserve sign is on the right. Parking located ½ mile ahead.
View map

Contact us: (561) 744-6668

Discussion

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Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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