harbors the largest outcropping of Anastasia limestone on the East Coast.
Blowing Rocks Preserve in Florida harbors the largest outcropping of Anastasia limestone on the East Coast. © JMC Photography

Places We Protect

Blowing Rocks Preserve

Florida

This magnificently restored sanctuary offers a rare window into Florida’s natural history.

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

The ecosystems 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.

The preserve was named for its rocky Anastasia limestone shoreline—the largest on the 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?

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

 

Protected Plants and Animals

Wonder what you’ll see here? Native habitats—including beach dune, coastal strand, 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. You 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.

History

Blowing Rocks Preserve was born 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, north to south, from the Atlantic Ocean on the east to the Indian River Lagoon on the west. Today, the restored preserve looks like a South Florida barrier island a century ago. You'll glimpse one of our state’s rarest surviving landscapes: an intact Florida dune habitat with beach sunflower, bay cedar, sea grape and sea oats.

Three tips to get the most of your visit to Blowing Rocks Preserve

Guest services: You can 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.  Guests are invited to use the restrooms, drinking fountain and shady decks at the preserve center.

Hawley Education Center: Built in 1996, our education center provides you the opportunity to learn about the Conservancy’s efforts to protect native habitats, plants and animals in Florida and around the world. We host exhibits and a winter lecture series.

Collaboration: Conservancy staff members 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

More things to Do
  • Join us for a 40-minute guided nature walk each Sunday morning at 11. Meet at the Hawley Education Center.
  • Swim, snorkel and scuba-dive from the protected beach
  • Hike three trails with interpretive signs
  • Observe rare birds, plants and animals
  • Explore exhibits and shady porches at the Hawley Education Center
  • Restrooms and water fountain are available at the center 

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

Fees

Preserve visitor fee: $2 per person, $1 members, children 12 and under are free (exact cash only, payable at the beachside kiosk).

Exhibits and Events:

Help protect the preserve’s native habitats and wildlife!

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

Drones and photo/video shoots are not permitted in order to protect the privacy of visitors and their experience at our coastal preserve.

Wedding ceremonies are by permission only. For more information, please contact kate.brown@tnc.org or call 561-744-6668.

What to See: Seasonal Wildlife and Plants   
Winter

Ospreys, 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

The mile of Atlantic Ocean beachfront provides important nesting habitat for imperiled sea turtles (primarily loggerheads). At night, 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 them or their nests. 

Fall

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