Jonathan Dickinson State Park Has The Highest Mountain In South Florida
Jonathan Dickinson State Park also boasts the tallest mountain south of Lake Okeechobee Mt. Hope, an 87-foot high sand dune that is climbed via a boardwalk that works its way up to an overlook that offers a view of the intercoastal waterway and the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the sand pine scrub, pine flatwoods, mangroves, and river swamps to the west.
We had Bo with us and he was allowed on the boardwalk to Mt. Hobe as well as all the roads and trails, as long as we had him on a leash. There are lots of alligators out there in the scrub brush and ponds, as well as rattlesnakes and water moccasins. So Jonathan Dickinson State Park is not a place you want to let your dog running around unattended.
Jonathan Dickinson State Park has 112 Rv or tent campsites 50 of those in the River Campground , the other in the Pine Grove Campground to the east. The two loops are a few miles apart so those who camp on the Pine Grove Campground loop may want to drive or bike to the river.
Camping dees are $26 per night, plus tax, plus a non-refundable $6.70 reservation fee
Jonathan Dickison State Park is a perfect weekend getaway. Two nights and three days will give you plenty of time to leisurely explore and the park.
Once you stay, youll be back. Like us.
Jonathan Dickinson State Park Is Big Wild And Full Of Adventure Its Time You Planned A Visit To Enjoy These Seven Things:
If you love the outdoors, I promise you will find something to love at Jonathan Dickinson State Park.
Sunrise over the pine forest in Jonathan Dickinson State Park.
Jonathan Dickinson State Park on U.S. 1 in Hobe Sound will delight kayakers, bicyclists, mountain bikers, hikers, campers, history-lovers, wildlife watchers and folks who just like a nice picnic site. I even took my 86-year-old mother on the narrated boat tour along the Loxahatchee River she loved it!
There are a dozen beautifully situated cabins near the Loxahatchee River that allow non-campers to stay overnight in the park for $80 a night in summer and $95 a night in winter.
This is the rare Florida park where you could spend several days and not explore all the trails and recreational opportunities. And its located within an hour or two of nature-starved urban South Florida.
Ive personally seen eagles, osprey, deer, gopher tortoises, manatees, dolphins, an array of birds and alligators plus admired fields of colorful wildflowers.
A Weekend Getaway In Jupiter/hobe Sound Area
Our recent visit to Jonathan Dickinson State Park illustrates why it makes a great weekend getaway.
We loved our canoe trip, paddling from the parks boat dock up the Loxahatchee River to Kitching Creek, a magical narrow stream with cypress trees and alligators. We saw a deer so unafraid of us that we drifted close enough to hear it munching on leaves at waters edge. Our canoe trip was about three hours round-trip, but it would be easy to extend it by going further up river.
Early in the morning, we took a long hike on some of the miles of trails and were delighted with the wild flowers and the silence broken only by the sounds of birds.
A guided tour ready to climb Jupiter Lighthouse
Another highlight was exploring the immediate area. Within 15 minutes of the park is Jupiter Lighthouse . We climbed the tower and toured its interesting and impressive local-history museum, housed in a World War II Navy barracks.
In a five minute drive from the lighthouse, we were at one of Floridas most interesting beaches: Blowing Rocks Preserve, which you reach by walking north on this beach or driving north on A1A.) Coral Cove and Blowing Rock are good places for snorkeling from shore too.
Guanabanas, an outdoor, waterfront restaurant in Jupiter.
At night, back at the park, we took a walk under a full moon and enjoyed fireflies flickering in the brush.
A deer along Kitching Creek at Jonathan Dickinson State Park.
See what I mean? Theres a lot to do.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Jonathan Dickinson State Park
What is the climate of Jonathan Dickinson State Park?
The climate at Jonathan Dickinson State Park is subtropical. The temperatures are usually warm, and the rainfall is heavy. The summers are long and humid while the winters are short and mild.
What is the best time of year to visit Jonathan Dickinson State Park?
The best time to visit Jonathan Dickinson State Park is from December to February. The weather then is mild, and the crowds are smaller. You can also find great deals on lodging and activities during this time.
Are pets allowed at Jonathan Dickinson State Park?
Yes, pets are allowed in the park as long as they’re leashed at all times and never left unattended. There’s also a pet-friendly beach at the park where your dog can cool off.
What kind of wildlife can be found in Jonathan Dickinson State Park?
The wildlife at Jonathan Dickinson State Park includes alligators, crocodiles, snakes, turtles, lizards, frogs, toads, and several species of fish. You may also see deer, bobcats, otters, and birds.
Is Jonathan Dickinson State Park accessible for disabled visitors?
Yes, Jonathan Dickinson State Park is accessible for disabled visitors. There are both handicapped-accessible bathrooms and showers as well as a paved trail that is wheelchair-friendly.
Wild And Scenic Loxahatchee River
The Loxahatchee River is one of Jonathan Dickinson State Parks main features as Floridas first federally designated Wild and Scenic River. This 7.6-mile river starts its journey in the Loxahatchee Slough 20 miles south of the park. It meanders through freshwater creeks into a brackish estuary, eventually making its way to the Jupiter Inlet and the Atlantic Ocean. The entire park lies within the 210-square mile Loxahatchee River Basin which includes three main forks of the river. The North and Northwest Forks flow through the park and the Southwest Fork flows south of the park boundary.
The Loxahatchee River has rich cultural and ecological history, playing a key role in the Seminole Wars, the life of early pioneers, and plans to restore the hydrology of the river. The river was the site of the Battle of the Loxahatchee during the Second Seminole War, one of the bloodiest and costliest battles of the Indian Wars in the United States. Many of the pioneer families that built the Town of Jupiter as well as Trapper Nelson, the Wild Man of the Loxahatchee, called the banks of the river home.
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Inside Jonathan Dickinson State Park
You can do many different things at the almost 18-square-mile Jonathan Dickinson State Park. You can rent canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, motorboats, and bikes to enjoy in the park and on the waterway. Dine in the beer and food garden overlooking the river. Go on a horse-drawn interpretative wagon ride. Guided horseback rides and interpretative boat tours are also available. You may also want to visit the two historical sites within this state park.
Jonathan Dickinson State Park Overview
Jonathan Dickinson State Park has two family campgrounds which include Pine Grove and River . All sites have water & electric hookups. Both campgrounds can accommodate tents, trailers and RVs. They also both have a dump station, restrooms with flush toilets, and hot showers. Each campsite also has a table, fire ring and grate. Both equestrian and primitive camping is also available at the Park.
The park offers fun, family education programs every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. and a nature walk on Sundays at 9:00 a.m. Rental canoes, kayaks, motorboats and tour boat are available.
Jonathan Dickinson State Park Area Recreation
Jonathan Dickinson State Park includes 11,500 acres with a variety of outdoor activities including boating, fishing, canoeing, hiking, kayaking, picnicking, biking, horseback riding and wildlife viewing. The park also offers a fun, family education programs every Saturday . Visitors can also rent bikes, SUPs, canoes, kayaks and motorboats. And be sure to try the 90 minute boat tour abroad the Loxahatchee Queen III. It offers a delightful tour of he river, with a stop at the restored 1930s camp of Trapper Nelson .
Sebastian Inlet State Park is also 70 miles north in the Vero Beach area.
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Cabin Rentals At Jonathan Dickinson State Park
Cabin at Jonathan Dickinson State Park.
There are 12 cabins. The smaller units have a maximum capacity of four in two queen beds, one of which is a sleeper-sofa. Cabins 6 and 7 sleep six.
Most of the cabins are actually miniature trailers with about 300 square feet of space, although they do have complete kitchens and small bathrooms with tubs. The units come with linens plus heat and air conditioning. They are beautifully situated in a shady grove of pine trees near the Loxahatchee River. Price: $80 a night in summer $95 in winter. Heres a Florida Rambler story on the Jonathan Dickinson State Park cabins.
Historic Tidbits Aboutjonathan Dickinson State Park
Trapper Nelson: The wild man of the Loxahatchee, whose story is told at Jonathan Dickinson State Park.
Jonathan Dickinson State Park has all sort of fascinating stories from several different eras of history, starting in 1696, when Jonathan Dickinson, a Quaker merchant from Port Royal, Jamaica ,was shipwrecked near here. He and members of his party were captured by the Jaega Indians. Dickinson kept a detailed journal that was widely read at the time. He escaped, traveled to St. Augustine and then on to Colonial Philadelphia, where years later he was elected mayor.
More recent history was made during World War II, when the land that would become the park was developed as Camp Murphy, a top-secret radar training school.
At the time, Dixie Highway was diverted around the park and more than 1,000 buildings quickly sprang up from the scrub.
More than 6,000 people were stationed at the camp, which had its own power plants, sewer system, church and theater. Few locals had any idea what was going on, only that it was a secret Army base. After two years of operation, in November 1944, Camp Murphy was deactivated and the operation was shut down.
As we explored the park, we were delighted to come across a few closed buildings from the Camp Murphy days and a historic marker.
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Hiking At Jonathan Dickinson State Park
Jonathan Dickinson State Park: Wildflowers blooming in spring along the EaglesView Multi-use Trail System.
Jonathan Dickinson is hiker heaven, with a good range of wild and scenic hikes and some very good birding.
Theres a great short boardwalk trail a half-mile trail up Hobe Mountain South Floridas highest point, with a 360-degree view of the ocean, Intracoastal Waterway and park.
There are medium-length hikes: A favorite is Kitching Creek Loop trail. Heres a trail map and guide.The trailhead is off the main parking lot by the river concession area. You can make it a short hike by coming back via the Wilson Creek trail, a larger loop with a beautiful overlook of Kitching Creek or, if you go beyond the overlook, a 7.5 mile hike through scenic forests and meadows.
Wildlife along the trail at Jonathan Dickinson State Park: Gopher tortoises are commonly seen in the pine scrub areas of the park closer to US 1. Birders like the EaglesView trail system, which starts at the equestrian camping parking area. The pine tree with a pipe inserted is designed to be nesting site for red cockaded woodpeckers. At the bottom left is a great crested flycatcher. At bottom right is a Bachmans sparrow, a species birders come to see. Jonathan Dickinson State Park trail map with locations marked where you should watch for specific bird species.
For back-packers or long-distance hikers, there is the 9.8 mile East Loop Trail. Ask for a trail map at the ranger station.
Kayaking And Canoeing At Jonathan Dickinson State Park
Two weeks after a heavy rain storm, the current was swift along the Loxahatchee River.
Jonathan Dickinson is best known for its river, the Loxahatchee, which was Floridas first federally designated Wild and Scenic River. Its a beauty, particularly the narrow, twisty section you access from Riverbend Park. I think its the best canoe or kayak river in South Florida. Heres a Florida Rambler guide to paddling the Loxamatchee.
From Jonathan Dickinson, you can put in your kayaks or canoes or rent them. Here, the river is broad and tidal. Paddlers often see wading birds and occasionally manatees, ospreys and bald eagles. Upstream a short distance there is a tributary of the Loxahatchee, Kitching Creek, that is winding and narrow with overhanging trees and Spanish moss. Kayakers see alligators here and many consider it the highlight of paddling the river from Dickinson.
Trapper Nelsons Historical Site on the Loxahatchee River can be visited only by boat.
While Trappers area is within Jonathan Dickinson State Park, it is accessible only by boat either kayak/canoe or via a guided tour on the Loxahatchee Queen II. See details below for the boat tour. Its hours vary by season, so check with the park rangers.
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Campingat Jonathan Dickinson State Park
Typical RV site in the Pine Grove Campground. The Pine Grove was wiped out by hurricanes in 2004.
Two family campgrounds are located at Jonathan Dickinson State Park. Pine Grove Campground, with 90 sites, is located near the ranger entrance station on the east side of the park. The River Campground, with 45 sites, is about four miles from the park entrance, near the Loxahatchee River.
Both campgrounds have large, tiled restrooms with hot showers. All sites include water, electricity, table and grill. A dump station is located in each campground. Pets are welcome. The maximum RV length is 45 feet.
Tent camping at Jonathan Dickinson State Park River Campground.
Our first choice would be the River Campground, where low-lying vegetation and tall trees offer privacy and shade at most sites. Since it is deep in the park, there is no road noise other than minimal traffic during daylight hours to the nearby boat ramp. The campground has paths to the boat ramp and the park concession, where you can rent canoes or take the boat tour.
The new Pine Grove Campground, on the other hand, has small trees with little shade and a low-lying berm that separates it from U.S. 1, where highway traffic can disrupt the camping experience. On the plus side, the new Pine Grove campground has paved access roads and level, well-maintained camping pads that are good for RVs .
Jonathan Dickinson State Park And The Wildman Of The Loxahatchee River
The Loxahatchee River, Floridas first federally designated Wild and Scenic River, winds its way through the park under a canopy of cypress trees. It is a great place to kayak, canoe, or fish. Rentals are available form the Jonathan Dickinson State Park concession store near the Pine Grove Campground as is a boat tour that will take you to Trapper Nelson homestead.
Talk about characters.
Vince Nelson, also known as the Tarzan of the Loxahatchee River, sometimes the wildman of the Loxahatchee, was a hermit who lived deep in the wilds along the river in what is now Jonathan Dickinson State Park from the 1930s to 1960s.
He was a very colorful character who turned his homestead along the river into a makeshift zoo.
He died of a gunshot wound in the cabin in 1968. It was ruled a suicide, but some claimed it was murder and a local legend says his spirit still haunts his camp.
At any rate, he was such a colorful character that his cabin and outbuildings are part of an official tour at Jonathan Dickinson State Park one we heartily recommend you take.
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Jonathan Dickinson State Park Cabins: Tiny Modular Homes
Its a stretch to call them cabins, though. They are actually new, miniature trailers/modular homes. The smallest have less than 300 square feet of space. They lack that rustic cabin ambiance, but they do have complete kitchens small bathrooms with tubs, plus heat and air conditioning.
Theres a full-size refrigerator, a small stove and oven and enough pots, pans and dishes to do all your cooking if you so choose.
Kitchen at Jonathan Dickinson State Park cabins.
In the four-person cabins, there is a tiny bedroom just big enough for a queen-size bed and the living room has a queen-size sleeper sofa. The dining room table seats four.
Two of the cabins are a bit roomier with large front porches. Cabins 6 and 7 have two queen beds in the bedroom and sleeper sofa in the living room, accommodating six. No matter how many people you have, theyre the top choice if available. We thought the least desirable cabin is #11 because it is squeezed between cabins 10 and 12, each of which have woods on one side. Eleven felt a little like the middle seat on an airplane.
Outside the cabin theres a picnic table and fire ring for that comfort camping experience.
Linens are provided. And, as is apparently the policy, state park cabins have miserably hard mattresses.
Living room in Jonathan Dickinson State Park cabin.
When It Comes To Camping In Florida We Can Honestly Say Jonathan Dickinson State Park Was Not On Our Rv Radar It Sure Is Now
This 11,500 acre park is near Jupiter on the eastern shoreline and when we visited it in early March it was to be an overnight-only stop on the way to the Keys. We pulled in at night after dark the friendly ranger told us hed gladly wait for our late arrival as he wanted to be sure we were in our spot before putting down the gate at the front entrance staying in the Pine Grove Campground at the parks eastern end.
So it wasnt until the next morning that we got a chance to look around and see that Jonathan Dickinson State Park was a pretty special place. Immediately, we wished we had brought our bicycles there is a wonderful mountain bike trail and our eBikes for the paved bike trails and road to the lower, or River Campground near the Loxahatchee River.
Thats right. Jonathan Dickinson State Park has two campgrounds. ANd both campgrounds have electricity, water and sewer hookups at each RV site.
Heres our video from the RV Lifestyle Channel on Youtube of our visit to Jonathan Dickinson State Park:
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