Riverbend Park, Jupiter
||Palm Beach, FL|
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Riverbend Park is a tropical paradise. Here cute little woven huts shade picnic tables with BBQs on the banks of the Loxahatchee River. Amazing trees including a huge strangler fig tree surround you and lush soft grass is everywhere. You can rent bikes and enjoy the winding bike paths, or rent canoes and paddle peacefully past the mysterious Cypress trees. What joy! Unfortunately, there is no playground (possibly because children should be close to parents because of alligators). There are no restrooms or running water, only porta-potties.
Bike and canoe/kayak rentals are from Canoe Outfitters of Florida, located inside the park. You pay in the portable building and then walk over to the river bank where they help you launch your canoe/kayak. Cost is $25 for a single or double kayak for four hours. Your credit card or $100 cash serves as a deposit. I recommend renting a kayak over a canoe because they are much easier to handle. Also, choose a regular kayak not an ocean kayak, because the seats are far more comfortable which will make you last longer on the river. Once on the river, you can paddle to the right and follow the map to reach the second dam. This takes about three or four hours round-trip. You start out on the wide river with tall wonderful trees around you. You head under some bridges, including Indiantown Rd! Woosh you go over the first dam, or you can walk your kayak around it- you will see the wooden deck. Soon the river narrows and you duck under tree branches. It's beautiful and enchanting. The way back is harder because you are paddling upstream. Kids over thirty pounds can join you on your lap or on a seat (they are provided with a life-vest), and they'll love it. Bug spray is not necessary when the river has been moving- ask at the rental place. Rental place is closed Tues and Wed.
Bike rentals costs $20 full day and $10 half day. For kids, bike rentals cost $10 for full day and $5 for half day.
After our paddle at Riverbend Park, we found out that a ten year old boy died here when he jumped out of his canoe to get his sunglasses that he'd dropped and an eleven-foot alligator killed him. There is a definite spooky feeling in this park around the black water, and this news saddened and scared us. Not sure I'll be coming back.
A woman also saw an alligator while walking her dogs at the park- be on the alert and stay close to your children.
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From Highway 95 or the Turnpike, exit at Indiantown Rd and head inland. Turn left at the left-turn lane into Riverbend Park- there is a large sign. There is plenty of free parking.
Canoe Outfitters of Florida, 9060 West Indiantown Road, Jupiter, FL 33478, call (561) 746-7053. Open Thurs-Mon 9-5, opens at 8am on weekends.
This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.
Overall Visitor Rating: Unrated.