By Sierra Groth
Flying Fish Paddle Sports
You may rent boards here or bring your own, there is a public dock right out back to launch from. Port Salerno is a small fishing town with unbeatable charm. The commercial fishing dock is always loaded with fisherman bringing in their catch along with the hungry pelicans that follow them in. Your paddle can go one of two ways, easy cruise exploring the old Florida houses with a stop at one of the many delicious restaurants on the water. Or a day long paddle out to Boy Scout Island with a high chance to see some playful dolphin and maybe even a manatee or two. You can also bring fishing gear and have a go at fishing on the flats. Pompano, tarpon, snook, jack and ladyfish are among the frequent caught out on the flats.
Launch from the sandy beach at the end of Cove Road. There is a beautiful loop paddle around St. Lucie Inlet Preserve. As you paddle through the mangroves keep an eye out for the wading birds that linger on the edge of the mangroves, great blue herons, brown pelicans, and piping plovers have been seen on the trail. If you pass the southern exit of the loop you will run into a small sandy pathway that leads you to a secluded protected beach. Catch your breath, eat a snack and enjoy the view before finishing your paddle. You may also land your boards on the dock across from cove road and walk to the beach. There are bathrooms and a nice easy to follow trail to the beach. (Best accessed at high tide).
Crystal clear water and a legendary lighthouse awaits. Take South Beach Road onto Jupiter Island. Park in the sandy lot that lines the right and left side of the road and take the short pathway down to the water. Want a day of fun, friends, and good times? Paddle north about a mile to the Sandbar. Want a day of snorkeling and sight-seeing? Pack a mask, fins, and lunch and paddle South. Cato’s Bridge is full of life right under the surface. Try to spot the massive illusive snook or the ever so popular hogfish. Just past the bridge you will find sand mountain which is a very popular hangout spot and a great place for a lunch break. Next, cross the Intracoastal and head towards the Jupiter Outdoor center where you can relax in a hammock and admire the view of the picture-perfect lighthouse. (Boards can be rented from the Jupiter Outdoor Center.)
Trade in the mangroves for cypress trees and dolphin for alligators. A paddle through Riverbend Park is a must do when in the Jupiter area. Towards the back of the park there is a launch area or you can rent a canoe or kayak from Canoe Outfitters on site. A few miles down the twisty and narrow river is Trapper Nelson’s Cabin. Nelson built a zoo and garden which the state took over after he passed away and made it into a historical site. This is a great place to stop and explore and learn a bit about Florida History.