If you want to spend a day enjoying the best outdoor scenery of inland Jupiter, look no further than Riverbend Park. Tucked away into Jupiter Farms (my home turf!), the 665 acre park is an adventure-seekers’ paradise. Part of the Ocean-to-Lake Trail, Riverbend is home to the Loxahatchee National Wild and Scenic River as well as the site of the Battles of the Loxahatchee, two of the last major battles of the Second Seminole War. Visitors can hike or bike over 10 miles of compacted shell rock trails, ride their trusty steed through seven miles of designated equestrian trails, or navigate the river itself in canoe or kayak.
So far, P and I only have explored the park on foot. It’s excellent to start the weekend with an early walk through “Old Florida” and experience the land as it looked to the first European settlers.
If you get to Riverbend just before sunrise, you have a good chance of seeing the many deer that call the park home.
A funny thing about Riverbend is that even though I lived down the street from the park my entire life, I had never been there until a few years ago. For most of my childhood, the park was closed to the public due to archaeological excavations. In 1978, Palm Beach County purchased the land for use as a park, unaware of the area’s historical importance. In 1995, the park partially closed as archaeologists identified 61 historical, architectural, and archaeological sites dating back to the Paleo-Indian period. This included the remains of two 19th-century Seminole villages as well as the two Battles of the Loxahatchee. After proper preservation, led by historian Richard Procyk, the 64 acre battle site was separated from Riverbend Park into the Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park. Riverbend fully reopened with its current trails in 2011.
Riverbend Park is a special place for P and I to unwind and escape from the daily grind. Walking over the wooden bridge and through the pines down Reese Boulevard Trail is like time traveling 150 years into the past. Despite visiting the park twice in the year since we started dating, there is still so much left to explore.
Check out the wild turkeys! Up close and personal…
P and I plan to get a group together for a canoe trip down the Loxahatchee River soon. Canoe and kayak rentals are available at Canoe Outfitters, located within the park premises.
Riverbend Park – 9060 Indiantown Road, Jupiter, FL 33478 – 561.741.1359