Visiting the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum

Updated on February 29, 2020
bdegiulio profile image

Traveling has always been one of my passions. It exposes us to new cultures and experiences and makes the world a more tolerant place.

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse
Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse | Source

Florida’s east coast certainly has its share of interesting and historic lighthouses. The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse just might be the most fascinating. The Lighthouse and adjacent museum offer visitors a glimpse into the history of the lighthouse and surrounding area, and a chance to climb the 105 steps for a spectacular view of Florida’s beautiful Coastline.

Beautiful Jupiter Inlet
Beautiful Jupiter Inlet | Source

History of The Lighthouse

Authorized by Congress in 1853, Jupiter Inlet was one of six locations in Florida selected for a lighthouse project. Completed in May of 1860 after years of disruption due to the Seminole Indian War, it was first lit on July 10, 1860. Designed to aid commerce ships coming up the trade routes from the West Indies, the lighthouse was disabled for five years during the Civil War. The story goes that Confederate sympathizers buried the lens of the lighthouse to impede the guidance of Yankee ships engaged in the blockade of Confederate supply ships. Following the end of the Civil War, the lighthouse was once again illuminated and its beacon has been aiding ships for over 150 years saving countless wrecks and lives in the process.

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Museum
Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Museum | Source

What to See

In addition to the Lighthouse, the park includes the museum, which is housed in a restored World War II building, the Tindall Pioneer Homestead, the Lighthouse Keeper’s Workshop, the Oil House, a recreation of a Seminole Chickee, and a series of nature trails. The trails wind through the 120 acres of the property at the confluence of the Indian and Loxahatchee Rivers providing scenic views of the water.

You will also have a chance to see an Early Native American shell mound and one of the largest ficus trees I have ever seen. The ficus tree is located at the base of the lighthouse surrounded by a sizable deck that can host parties and events. It really is a beautiful setting and the red exterior of the lighthouse makes for great photos against the lush green landscape and a bright blue Florida sky.

Ficus tree and deck
Ficus tree and deck | Source

The Lighthouse

As you gaze up at the lighthouse you realize that you will have to traverse 35 steps just to get to the base of the lighthouse. The lighthouse was built on a hill thought to be an Indian shell mound so you have a little bit of a climb just to get to it. Upon entering the lighthouse the spiral stairs will take you up the 105 steps to the top. Once at the top you can take in the views from the viewing platform that circles the lighthouse. Just above you is the Fresnel lens that sends a beacon of light 28 miles out to sea. The lighthouse measures 105 feet tall and stands 153 feet above sea level. The views in every direction are stunning and you have a wonderful look at the Jupiter Inlet with boats of all sizes coming and going.

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse
Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse | Source

The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse was designed by then Lieutenant George G. Meade, a US army officer, and civil engineer. Interestingly, Meade is best known as the General who defeated General Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War.

Source

What’s a Seminole Chickee

A Seminole Chickee is a type of structure that the Florida Seminole Indians built starting in the early 19th-century. It was constructed of Cyprus logs to support the structure and had a palm thatch roof. The Chickee had no walls and was used for a variety of purposes including cooking, eating, sleeping and community gatherings. The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum grounds contain a large Chickee that was built in 2009. Today it is used for monthly children’s learning activities and storytelling. If you opt for the tour your docent will stop in the Chickee to explain its significance to the early Native Americans who inhabited this area.

Seminole Chickee
Seminole Chickee | Source

The Museum

The museum is located in a renovated building that dates to World War II. It contains 8 rooms with a variety of interactive exhibits that highlight the history of this region of Florida from the Native Americans who inhabited the area to the early pioneers who found their way to south Florida. You’ll see and hear the stories of the lighthouse keepers who helped to maintain this important beacon of light. Don’t miss the short, but informative film on the history of the lighthouse. If taking the lighthouse tour you can visit the museum either prior to or after visiting the lighthouse. Plan on about 30 to 45 minutes to go through the museum.

Museum Porch
Museum Porch | Source

Tindell Homestead

The Tindell Pioneer house is the oldest existing house in Jupiter and provides visitors a rare glimpse into the life of the early pioneers who settled along the Loxahatchee River. The house was built by George Washington Tindall in 1892 on the banks of the Loxahatchee River and was moved to its present location in Lighthouse Park in 2007. The small cracker-style house is typical of the houses built in this part of Florida by the early settlers. It is furnished with period furniture and pieces from the museum’s collection. One welcome addition is air conditioning, which you will appreciate if touring the house on a hot day.

Tinsel Homestead
Tinsel Homestead | Source

Visitor Information

  • The museum, grounds, and lighthouse are open 7 days a week from January through April 27.
  • From May through the end of December it is open Tuesday – Sunday.
  • Closed on most major holidays and occasionally for special events.

Hours

  • Daily from 10 am to 5 pm.
  • Guided Tours at 11 am and 2 pm daily.
  • The last admittance to the lighthouse grounds is 4 pm.

Ticket Prices

  • Adults: $12
  • Seniors (60+) and US Veterans: $10
  • Children (Ages 6-18): $6
  • Rates are reduced from October 21 to November 15 with no Lighthouse climbs allowed due to maintenance.
  • Please note that you must be at least 48” tall to climb the lighthouse.

Docents make a difference - take the tour
Docents make a difference - take the tour | Source

Your ticket fee includes a guided tour, which I highly recommend. Tours are daily at 11 am and 2 pm, please inquire when purchasing your ticket. The docents do an excellent job and are well schooled in everything related to the museum and lighthouse. There is also an app that can be downloaded that will guide you through the park should you want to go it alone.

The Lighthouse’s most famous donor
The Lighthouse’s most famous donor | Source

I think you will enjoy the combination of history, culture, and nature that the Jupiter Inlet Museum and Lighthouse provides. Plan on at least a couple of hours to tour the museum, park grounds, and to climb the lighthouse. They only allow so many people at a time at the top of the lighthouse so you may have a short delay, but rest assured the views are worth the wait and the effort to climb.

Another beautiful view from the top of the lighthouse
Another beautiful view from the top of the lighthouse | Source
A
Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum:
500 Captain Armours Way, Jupiter, FL 33469, USA

get directions

© 2020 Bill De Giulio

Comments

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    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      3 months ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks Heidi. We enjoyed the museum and climbing the lighthouse. It's a very scenic area.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      3 months ago from Chicago Area

      What a lovely lighthouse with a lot of history! Thanks for sharing!

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      3 months ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks, Peggy. We found the story of the confederate sympathizers fascinating. And the views from the top were amazing.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Thanks for this tour of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum as well as that Tinsel homestead. It is interesting what the confederate sympathizers did to the lens of the lighthouse to impede Yankee ships. Your photos show off the beauty for those who may not be able to climb all those steps to the top of the lighthouse.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      4 months ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you, Flourish. We really enjoyed this lighthouse, and the museum and tour that they give just added to the experience. Have a great day.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 months ago from USA

      I would love to visit this lighthouse. I’ve visited lighthouses in Maine and the Outer Banks and enjoyed doing so. Each one is so different. I’m glad this one has a tour connected with it.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      4 months ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you, Linda. Glad you enjoyed the tour. It was our first time visiting this particular lighthouse and we really enjoyed the museum and the climb to the top of the lighthouse.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I enjoy the virtual tours that I experience by reading your articles and looking at your photos very much. The views from the top of the lighthouse are wonderful. You've described an area that I'd love to explore.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      4 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Karen. We have not had a chance to visit the Assateague Lighthouse or the museum, but hope to someday. I’ll check out your article. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen A Szklany 

      4 months ago from New England

      Thank you so much for this lovely article. I am looking forward to visiting this lighthouse and Museum. Have you every been to the Assateague Lighthouse and the Chincoteague Museum? I believe I have an article about them published here on HubPages.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      4 months ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you, Donna. We really enjoyed spending an afternoon touring the museum and climbing the lighthouse. Have a great weekend.

    • Donna-Rayne profile image

      Donna Rayne 

      4 months ago from Greenwood, In

      Bill, I would love to go see this lighthouse and everything around it. I love looking at antiques and my mind always leads me to wonder what did it look like new, what kind of family lived there and what is the history. Thank you for sharing this, I enjoyed reading it!

      Have a wonderful day,

      Donna Rayne

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      4 months ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you, John. We love visiting lighthouses also and this one was one of the finest we have visited. The views were amazing.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      4 months ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks, Pam. Apparently they can get very, very big. Our docent mentioned that the largest focus tree known covers over 3 acres, which seems almost unbelievable. Have a great day.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      4 months ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you, Bill. My kind of place also. A wonderful weekend to you.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 months ago from Queensland Australia

      What an appealing article, bill. I really have a love of lighthouses and this would be one of the most beautiful i have seen. The views over Jupiter inlet are stunning and the museum sounds like well worth a visit as well.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      4 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I remember seeing the ficus trees in Key West and I never knew they could grow so tall. I tried to grow one while living in Ohio in the house and it did not grow very tall at all.

      You descrition of this lighthouse sounds well worth the time to take the tour. I appreciate the information your have given us.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm a museum and lighthouse junkie. I've sure I could spend hours there. Thanks for the short tour. I love the place.

      Happy Weekend my friend!

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