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Places We Protect

Blowing Rocks Preserve

Florida

Blowing Rocks Preserve beach. Water is shooting up through the rocks.
Blowing Rocks During high tide, the waves push water up through the Anastasia limestone rocks, shooting sea spray up to 50 feet in the air! © Mike Olliver
CCI
CCI Center for Conservation Initiatives © TNC

Blowing Rocks Preserve is one of four campus preserves under TNC Florida's Center for Conservation Initiatives, advancing conservation through education and training, outreach and volunteerism, science and research, and land stewardship. Learn more.  

Overview

Description

Notice of Impacts due to COVID-19
: For staff and visitor safety, the Hawley Education Center is temporarily closed to the public. Temporary restrooms are available in the west parking lot.

After six decades of protecting Florida’s great places, TNC 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 natural features 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. At high tide when the sea is rough, 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?

Access

Limited Access

Hours

Open seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The preserve is closed on Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, and December 24-26.

Highlights

Enjoy swimming and snorkeling from the protected beach. Observe rare birds, plants and animals on three hiking trails.

Size

73 acres

Explore our work in Florida

Blowing Rocks Preserve (5:01) With 73 acres of meticulously restored native vegetation on a barrier island in Jupiter, Florida, Blowing Rocks Preserve represents a bridge between our legacy of land preservation and a modern laboratory showcasing the latest innovations in conservation.

Photos from Blowing Rocks Preserve

Tag your preserve visits on Instagram with #BlowingRocksPreserve to have your photos featured here!

Brown pelicans fly in formation above the sea at Blowing Rocks Preserve.
A black faithful beauty moth with red and white spots lights on a broad leaf at Blowing Rocks Preserve.
A leatherback sea turtle hatchling approaches the shore to begin its life at sea at Blowing Rocks Preserve.
Sanderlings perched on Anastasia limestone near the Blowing Rocks Preserve shoreline.
Craggy rock formations of Anastasia limestone on Blowing Rocks Preserve shoreline.
A lone ruddy turnstone shorebird on the beach at Blowing Rocks Preserve with a rainbow in the background over the sea.
A bright yellow beach sunflower grows at Blowing Rocks Preserve.
A golden silk spider sits on a web at Blowing Rocks Preserve.
A pink and white Jamaica caper flower with long flowing stamens at Blowing Rocks Preserve.
A queen conch peers out of its shell in the mangroves in the Indian River Lagoon shoreline of Blowing Rocks Preserve.

Visit Blowing Rocks Preserve

  • COVID Protocols

    Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, TNC recommends that visitors observe social distancing and wear face coverings when other visitors, staff or volunteers are present.

  • Hours, Parking and Admission
    • Blowing Rocks is open seven days a week from 9:00am-4:30pm. NOTE: The preserve is closed on Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
    • The preserve has free on-site parking during open hours. When the preserve closes at 4:30pm the parking lot gates close and lock. Street parking is not permitted, per the Town of Jupiter Island Public Safety Department.
    • An optional $2 per person donation helps us to maintain this coastal preserve for people and wildlife.
  • Preserve Rules

    The following rules are in place to protect native habitats and wildlife, support our visitors’ enjoyment of nature, and adhere to our mission of conservation.

    • Pets are not permitted.
    • No alcohol.
    • Photo and video shoots are not allowed on the trails or beach.
    • No weddings are permitted on the trails or beach.
    • No picnics or grills.
    • Drones are not permitted per the Town of Jupiter Island.
    • Please stay on marked trails.
    • Do not collect or release live plants or animals.
    • Do not collect Anastasia limestone rock or other natural resources.
  • Things to Do

    Beach Access: Visitors can use preserve trails to access the beach during our open hours.

    Hiking Trails and Scenic Walks: The preserve features five short trails and scenic walks including:

    • Beach Trail: 0.1-mile pathway is the main beach access, leading visitors through a shaded maritime hammock habitat to the main staircase to the beach. The staircase includes benches and a viewing platform.
    • Dune Trail: 0.4-mile one-way trail guides visitors on top of the beach dune with sweeping views of the beach, terminating at the sandy north end of Blowing Rocks’ beach. Around 0.14 miles down the trail there is an additional beach access staircase and bench.
    • Mangrove Boardwalk: 300-feet long elevated boardwalk (with accessible ramp) through a mangrove forest that includes an overlook of the Indian River Lagoon.
    • Lagoon Trail: 0.4-mile loop trail begins as a sandy pathway along the Indian River Lagoon shoreline and loops through saltwater marsh and coastal strand habitat.
    • Pollinator Garden Scenic Walk: 0.01 mile loop through native pollinator habitat including grasses, shrubs, and flowering plants.

    Swimming and snorkeling: Visitors can swim and snorkel at Blowing Rocks Preserve. Please note that the beach does not have a lifeguard.

    iNaturalist: Visitors can join the scientific community by downloading the iNaturalist app and submitting photos of plants or wildlife observed during their visit to the Blowing Rocks Preserve project. Visitors can also earn badges as a student of nature on the Seek app.

  • When Do the Rocks Blow?

    The beach and ocean conditions at Blowing Rocks Preserve are always changing and might look different each time you visit!

    Typically, summer months bring calm, clear waters that are excellent for swimming and snorkeling. Winter months tend to bring rough seas and larger waves that cause the “blowing” action, when large waves crash up against the rocks.

    If you want to time your visit to observe this impressive sight, there are two factors to consider:

    1. Is the sea rough or calm?
    2. Is it high tide or low tide?

    Your best chance to observe the “blowing rocks” is to visit on a day with rough seas at high tide. The time of high tide is different each day—check the current tide schedule. Please note that our hours of operation do not change depending on the tides.

  • Plan for an Eco-Friendly Visit
    • Bring a reusable drink bottle(s).
    • Pack snacks in reusable containers or bags.
    • Charge your camera so you can capture interesting sights, taking only memories and leaving nature intact.
    • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat, SPF clothing, sunglasses, and/or reef-safe sunscreen. Learn more about reef-safe sunscreen and other ways to #RespectOurReef.
    • Pack in, pack out—if you do have waste, be sure to collect it all to properly dispose of it before leaving or once you have returned home. Bins for recycling and trash are available onsite.
    • Keep a safe distance from wildlife. It can be dangerous for wildlife to be fed, touched, chased, or crowded.
    • Have fun at the beach but be sure to fill any holes and flatten any sandcastles when you’re done to prevent dangers to sea turtles.
    • Before you leave, rinse or brush yourself and your gear off to prevent species from traveling to new habitats.
  • Public Events

    We offer a number of ways for you to get involved with learning opportunities, immersive experiences, and volunteer service activities such as Shoreline Cleanups, Sunrise Sessions, Guided Tours and an annual Winter Lecture Series.

    See the listing of our upcoming public events. New events and opportunities are always being added. To have up to date information sent directly to your inbox, we invite you to subscribe to our preserve e-newsletter.

Two people look through binoculars.
Get Involved Explore opportunities to volunteer and attend events at the preserve. © Roberto Gonzalez

Get Involved

Learn more about volunteer opportunities at Blowing Rocks Preserve, and educational programs and community outreach.

To have the latest information on volunteering, educational opportunities, programs and activities sent to your email inbox, we invite you to subscribe to our preserve e-newsletter.

A truck and shredder in a clearing of invasive trees.
Australian Pine Tree Removal A total of 4,000 Australian pines were removed on the preserve to make way for native plant restoration. © TNC

History of Blowing Rocks Preserve

Blowing Rocks Preserve was born in 1969 when the forward-thinking and generous residents of Jupiter Island donated 73 acres of the barrier island to TNC. The donation started when developers petitioned the Town of Jupiter Island to change the land’s zoning from single-family dwellings to high density apartment buildings or hotels due to the scenic rock ledges along the shoreline. Local citizens had an unfavorable view of the plan. The developers’ application was denied and, thanks to the persuasive efforts of Nathaniel Reed and other residents, the developers agreed to abandon their project and sell the land to the residents. The residents then donated the land, creating Blowing Rocks Preserve.

In the early days of the preserve, one of the biggest challenges was shifting the frequent, unregulated public use of the area to a managed preserve environment. This meant limiting vehicle traffic and abandoning the old road that ran atop the beach dune. In the 1980s, the preserve entered a landmark period of native habitat restoration. This pioneering project started in 1985 by removing large Australian pines on the preserve dune. In 1987, a massive restoration effort resulted in removing 500 Australian pines and planting 14 acres of native saltmarsh, mangrove, coastal strand, and tropical hammock on the east side of the preserve.

The massive habitat restoration provided the ideal platform to share TNC’s expertise in restoring and managing coastal systems with other conservation professionals and scientists. As staff planned the restoration for the west side of the preserve, they engaged in another novel undertaking and invited volunteers and community members to assist. The goal of this initiative was to build a greater awareness and sense of responsibility for the environment amongst the local community.

Over the next 15 years, more than 3,000 volunteers and community members contributed 78,000 restoration hours. Part of their work included reconnecting the preserve to the Indian River Lagoon, which had been altered by past dumping of dredge spoil from the Intracoastal Waterway. Volunteers helped install and repair 12 tidal culverts, creating ¾ mile of tidal creeks and four small tidal ponds. They also helped remove 4,000 Australian pines and thousands of Brazilian peppers and other invasive species. This made way for 15,000 native plants grown from seed in the native plant nursery at Blowing Rocks, which we planted onto the preserve grounds.

As an increasing number of volunteers and visitors were visiting Blowing Rocks throughout the 1990s, staff identified the opportunity to provide public outreach and share the importance of the fragile native habitats found at the preserve. TNC placed educational signage along preserve trails and at the beach overlook to highlight native species, including the endangered sea turtles that nest along the ocean shoreline.

One evening, the Reed family (longtime supporters of Blowing Rocks) and philanthropist Rosita Hawley Wright observed nesting sea turtles at the preserve. Mrs. Hawley was so overwhelmed by the experience that she made a lead gift to TNC to construct the Hawley Education Center that now houses staff offices, a public exhibit gallery and the Nathaniel Pryor Reed Classroom. The Hawley Education Center hosts public lectures, workshops and trainings for Conservancy staff members and partner organizations and agencies.

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Explore Other CCI Campus Preserves in Florida

Need more nature? Visit TNC’s other Center for Conservation Initiatives' campus preserves in Florida.

Find More Places We Protect

TNC owns nearly 1,500 preserves covering more than 2.5 million acres across all 50 states. These lands protect wildlife and natural systems, serve as living laboratories for innovative science and connect people to the natural world.

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