My husband and I took a weekend trip – just us for once! – to Tequesta, Florida last summer. Tequesta is a small town just north of Jupiter, on the east coast as you start to get into South Florida. While Jupiter is more commercial, Tequesta has an old-world Florida feel.
That’s exactly what we were looking for! We booked a room at the privately-owned Tequesta Palms Inn, a motel with only eight rooms. We loved it! They have great reviews online, and we found them to be 100% true. The room was clean and comfortable, with a small kitchenette area that had a refrigerator, microwave, and coffee maker. There was lots of room, and the property was quiet yet had easy access to everything we wanted to do.
There are lots of things to do in Tequesta, from outdoor pursuits to fine dining. Tequesta restaurants are incredible! Read on to find out more about our adventure-filled weekend.
Day 1 – Friday
We live in central Florida, so the drive down took about 2 hours, mostly on I-95, but after cutting over, the rest was on US-1. Our first stop was to check out Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Hobe Sound, just north of Tequesta. I knew it was a popular location for birdwatching and I wanted to get a feel for it.
Jonathan Dickinson State Park
Florida state parks have a small admission fee, which we paid at the entrance. We then made our way to the “majestic” Hobe Mountain. At 86 feet tall, Hobe Mountain is the highest point in South Florida. Needless to say, you don’t need to train to reach the top of it!
Hobe Mountain is actually an ancient sand dune. Climbing it just involves walking on a boardwalk and climbing some stairs to the lookout tower. But you get a really nice view of the surrounding land from this viewpoint.
We didn’t see many birds here, but it wasn’t the best time of day, either. The park is quite large, with several areas for camping, which seemed popular. In fact, the state park website says it’s ranked #2 for RV camping. Near the campgrounds, the park has access to the Loxahatchee River, which is popular for kayaking. canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding, all of which you can rent at the park.
You can also take a boat tour to see more of the area and learn some history in the area, such as the shipwrecked merchant for whom the park is named, and Vince “Trapper” Nelson, known as Tarzan of the Loxahatchee, who founded a zoo nearby that was shut down in 1960.
I definitely would like to go back and spend more time exploring the park in a more leisurely fashion. On this trip, we left after about an hour, so we could check into the hotel and then proceed to dinner.
Date Night Dinner at Andalucía Tapas Bar & Restaurant
We had made advance reservations at Andalucía Tapas Bar & Restaurant for dinner. My husband was super excited about it, and they did not disappoint! We were greeted by their friendly staff on arrival, who immediately showed us to our table. We ordered drinks and then began to peruse the menu. It took awhile to decide because everything looked so good!
In case you’re not familiar with them, tapas are small plates meant to be shared. They originated in Andalucia, Spain, and were originally meant to place on top of your wine glass to prevent flies from getting in it while patrons were slowing sipping their drinks. Here’s a great post on the origins of tapas!
Pete’s favorite dish was the Stuffed Piquillo Peppers, shown above. I don’t love peppers, but this was certainly the best pepper dish I’d ever eaten! My favorite was the Montadito Solomillo, which is filet mignon, manchego cheese, caramelized onions, and honey walnuts on toast, shown below.
We also had Montaditos Tomaka, Patatas Bravas, and for dessert, both the dulce de leche empanadas and chocolate lava cake. Absolutely everything we tried was amazing!
The restaurant also serves some full-size plates, and has incredible-looking paellas.
Tequesta Brewing Co.
I love visiting breweries, so our last stop of the night was Tequesta Brewing Company. I was excited to see that this small town had their own brewery!
I tried two brews this evening, and we stopped by back quickly on Saturday as well, where I had a third. Gnarly Barley was my favorite; it’s a hazy double IPA. My husband enjoyed the seltzer they had on tap as well. I didn’t write down the name, but it was a guest tap.
Inside is kind of dark and bar-like rather than pub-like; I didn’t much care for it. But they have a porch out front that we enjoyed much more. The atmosphere was casual and the other patrons seemed friendly, too. All in all, I’m glad we stopped in!
Day 2 – Saturday
Breakfast at Bagel Bistro
The next morning we had a kayak tour scheduled, so we left early and stopped at Bagel Bistro for breakfast. It’s a counter-service restaurant featuring bagels (obviously!) as well as omelets, breakfast sandwiches, and crepes. It was a perfect spot for a quick bite, and I have to give them kudos because their bagel with lox was excellent! South Florida is probably second only to NYC for a good bagel with lox.
Clear Kayaking Tour
After breakfast, we headed toward the lighthouse, specifically Cato’s Bridge, for our clear kayak tour. We had scheduled a tour with Get Up and Go Kayaking, and after taking this tour, we can say they’re an awesome company to work with!
This far south, the Intracoastal Waterway has great visibility, so getting to paddle a clear kayak is super fun. I always enjoy being out on the water, but this was a brand-new experience.
We were able to see lots of marine life both through the clear boat itself and looking off the sides of the boat. We saw a gorgeous green sea turtle right beside our kayak! We also saw starfish and sea stars, fighting conch, moon jellyfish, and in the mangroves, both great blue and little blue herons.
Water sports are a big part of Florida life, as evidenced by the other people out enjoying the intracoastal. We saw people fishing, paddleboarding, boating, and even free swimming.
Lunch at Bellini’s Eatery
Kayaking for a couple of hours really worked up our appetites! So we headed to Bellini’s Eatery for lunch. I was craving pizza and Bellini’s really came through. They had a number of different kinds and you can order by the slice, so you can get more than once. They also have wings, burgers, sandwiches, and Italian entrees.
Blowing Rocks and Coral Cove Park
We had kayaked in the intracoastal during the morning, but we still hadn’t gotten out to see the beach. I really wanted to go to Blowing Rocks Preserve. It was really crowded, unfortunately, so Pete idled in the car while I walked through to the beach to check it out.
Blowing Rocks is a Nature Conservancy property on the coast in Jupiter. When the tide comes in, it hits the large coquina rocks and the water sprays upwards. It’s quite a display! (OK I decided to hit Google and make sure they are coquina rocks. They’re actually Anastasia limestone, but it seems to have some relation to coquina. If you’re reading this and know anything about rocks, please explain this to me!)
If you want to go to Blowing Rocks, I’d suggest arranging to do it earlier. We talked about going back on Sunday morning, but decided against it. Parking is limited and if you can’t get a spot, you can’t go. So do a better job of prioritizing it than we did!
After we left Blowing Rocks, we went south again to Coral Cove Park. It’s a county park with a picnic area, a playground, and of course, the beach! I think this beach might be better at low tide, though. We were close to high tide and there wasn’t much beach – and the sand was HOT. There are a lot of rocks here too, so it’s not good for swimming or body surfing. But it’s beautiful and I’m glad we stopped by.
Dinner at PapiChulo Tacos
After the beach, we went back to our lodgings to get cleaned up for dinner. We had a little time to spare, so we sat outside in the little seating area at the motel. It was a beautiful afternoon and a nice way to chill out after our busy but fun morning.
For dinner, we choose PapiChulo Tacos. Yum! They are known for their street tacos, which come in a variety of styles with different meats and various toppings. The puerco and barbacoa ones were our favorites. And their street corn was so good! And their margaritas were unique and fun; they’re served with an orchid on top. I got the El Dorado, which has blackberries and basil. Pete went with the Papi Rita, a classic lime margarita. Both were delicious.
We really liked the atmosphere and décor too. PapiChulo is a fun place!
After dinner we drove around Jupiter for a bit. We went by Lighthouse Cove Adventure Golf, but it was packed, so we didn’t stop. (There’s one in Cocoa Beach too, so we don’t feel like we missed out.) We ended up at DuBois Park, which was really nice! It has a great view of the lighthouse. The DuBois pioneer home on the premises has been preserved and they offer tours of the building. It wasn’t open this late in the day, but we enjoyed walking around the property too.
Day 3 – Sunday
We cheated on Sunday and went to Starbucks in nearby Jupiter. We had decided to head back home rather than spending part of Sunday in the area as well. However, we did stop for a hike before completely checking out for the day!
Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge
Hobe Sound NWR was on our way home, so we planned to stop and hike and hopefully see some birds too. When we got there, we took a quick walk down to the beach first. It wasn’t the ocean, though. At the time I thought it was Peck’s Lake, but I think instead it was another part of the Intracoastal Waterway. Whatever it was, it was easy to get to and the view was worth it; very pretty!
We turned around and went back to the parking lot, then decided to hike the Sand Pine Scrub Nature Trail. It was a fun hike with some surprising elevation changes. Nothing too crazy – this is still south Florida after all – but enough to make it fun! Not a ton of birds, though we got a good look at two pileated woodpeckers, which are always a joy to observe.
You may notice we didn’t go to the Jupiter Lighthouse on this trip. We’d already done that once before, and didn’t feel drawn to do it again. But if it’s your first time there, I highly recommend it too! It’s open to the public and you can climb all the way to the top. Definitely consider working it into your itinerary. Afterwards, you might grab lunch or dinner at Guanabanas, a fun and popular dining location (which we’d also been to before).
By the way, if you’re travelling with kids, check out this great list of things to do in Jupiter, FL with kids!
3-Day Tequesta, Florida Travel Itinerary
If you’re looking to make your own trip to Tequesta, look no further than this itinerary! It’s almost exactly the same as ours, but for someone who has never visited the area before.
- If driving from the north, stop at Jonathan Dickinson State Park
- Arrival and Hotel Check-in
- Date Night Dinner at Andalucía Tapas Bar
- Drinks at Tequesta Brewing Co.
- Breakfast at Bagel Bistro
- Clear Kayaking Tour with Get Up and Go Kayaking
- Lunch at Bellini’s Eatery
- Visit Coral Cove Park or DuBois Park
- Return to hotel to shower and get ready for dinner
- Dinner at PapiChulo Tacos
- Putt-Putt at Lighthouse Cove, or visit Coral Cove Park or DuBois Park
- Spend time at Blowing Rocks (arrive early to make sure you get parking)
- Brunch at Guanabanas
- Visit (and maybe climb) Jupiter Lighthouse
No matter whether you live a short drive away like we do, or you’re flying in from out of state (or out of country!), Tequesta is certainly a Florida destination you’ll enjoy. You won’t find Orlando’s theme parks or Miami’s nightlife, but the old-world charm of Tequesta is very appealing.
It’s also not far from other major Florida destinations, including the superb shopping areas in South Florida.