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  • Writer's pictureMandy-Gentry

Jonathon Dickinson State Park - Jupiter, FLORIDA

Updated: May 15

We always wanted to explore the Jupiter area in south Florida, but there aren't many campgrounds in this area. With our new state park reservation skills, we scored a stay here at Jonathon Dickinson State Park just north of Jupiter in Hobe Sound.

This park completely surprised us with how amazing it was. This 10,500 acre state park is made up of a variety of natural habitats: the Loxahatchee River, pine flatwoods, mangroves, river swamps, and coastal sand pine scrub. Some parts feel a little like the dessert, and some parts feel a little like a tropical jungle in the Amazon. It's so wild, and we loved it!

We took a guided boat tour up the Loxahatchee River to visit the Trapper Nelson Homestead, and it was so interesting. Trapper Nelson, the 6'4" Wildman of the Loxahatchee created a homestead, zoo and jungle garden along the banks of the river in the 1930's, and tourists from West Palm would come to view his bobcats, raccoons, possums, alligators, and snakes. The original buildings, huts, gardens and cages all remain and are open to tour. The site is only accessible by canoe or boat, both of which are for rent at the state park.

We rented two john boats one day and enjoyed exploring the river for ourselves, as well as making a pit stop at Trapper Nelson's once again. The vegitation here is just so incredible. As you move up river, the salt water mixes with fresh creating a brackish environment thriving with palms, cypress, huge air palms, alligators, and more.

There is also a huge part of the park designated for bike trails and bike riding, with jumps and ramps through the backcountry. We kept our bike riding pretty recreational to try and avoid any unwanted injuries with golf season coming up, but there were many hardcore bikers hitting these trails daily, and we saw a few get taken away via ambulance.

Another fun activity in the park is hiking up the boardwalk to the observation tower on top of an ancient sand dune that stands 86 feet above sea level, the highest natural point south of Lake Okeechobee. The observation tower rises an additional 27 feet with amazing views of the park, the intercoastal, and the Atlantic Ocean.

As far as the campground goes, it was amazing! The sites are huge, nicely spaced out and private, plus they have full hook-ups. (There is also a campground down near the river, but it does not have full hook-ups). The boys were able to set up their golf net to get in some practice, and we enjoyed walking the dogs and watching sunsets. They also have a really fascinating visitor's center full of great information for kids young and old.

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