Sitting on over 680 acres of land, with miles of hiking, biking, kayaking and equestrian trails, Riverbend Park is a great place to visit and explore. It’s our favorite park to kayak in South Florida because of the beautiful nature and animals you’ll see on the Loxahatchee River. See why we love Riverbend Park and what to expect while kayaking.
Riverbend Park Amenities
What is there to do at Riverbend Park? The park is large with so much to do and explore. Did I mention it’s FREE to get in! While we’ve only spent our time kayaking; here are all the things you can do at Riverbend Park:
- Fishing (freshwater)
- Kayaking/canoeing trails (5 miles)
- Hiking/walking/biking trails (10 miles)
- Equestrian trails (7 miles)
- Picnic areas – there’s multiple throughout Riverbend Park with BBQ grills too
- Explore the historic Florida Cracker Farmstead and Seminole chickees
- Restrooms throughout the park
Kayaking Riverbend Park
Gorgeous scenic views is why we love kayaking here. The Loxahatchee river which is 260 miles long, runs through Riverbend park before it opens up to the Jupiter Inlet. It’s been nationally designated and rightfully named, the Wild and Scenic River.
The landscape is full of tropical and temperate plants and trees. A lots of the kayak trails are shaded from large cypress trees.
If you’re renting kayaks, the canoe and kayak launch is right where you rent from. If you have your own, there’s another canoe launch in the park (see our map below).
There’s two main trails you can take while kayaking:
- For an easier ride, head left also known as the picnic loop.
- For a more fun and scenic ride, turn right heading north towards the battlefield trails. (Our favorite trail!)
Launching from Jupiter Outdoor Center launch, you’ll first paddle under the beautiful Stone Bridge.
Enjoy a peaceful paddle for 5-10 minutes until you make it to the Indiantown Rd bridge. This area is where we see the most wildlife. Make sure to look up, twice we’ve seen a hawk eating a fish. Kayaking under the bridge is the last you’ll hear noisy cars, the ride ahead is peaceful and quiet.
About 20 minutes into your paddle, you’ll arrive at Lainharts Damn. Looks like a small waterfall! This can be intimidating for some but each time we paddle down it with our kids in tow! As long as you head down straight, you should be fine from tipping.
If you’re not as adventurous, you have the option to pull your kayak up and over a bridge. There’s benches if you need a snack or drink break. Surprisingly, we’ve seen people swim in this water!
The trail after the Lainharts Dam gets more challenging as you’ll pass some down trees and there’s more twists and turns. The water in parts is very clear you can see to the floor and minnows.
Looking like something you’d see in an Avatar movie, next you’ll paddle through a huge wall of vines. It’s so impressive, we stopped here to take it in and snap some photos.
The rental guides recommended we go until the massive fallen tree however we turned around just before then as we knew we had paddle back is more work.
The paddle back is harder, as your going against the current. They say to plan every hour down the river is equal to 1.25 hours back. The current past Lainhart Dam turn around gets significantly stronger.
Riverbend Park Trail Map (Canoe launch too)
Here’s the trail map Jupiter Outdoor Center provided us. We made it just before the fallen tree, next time we’ll go a bit further.
Animals You Might See
The Loxahatchee River has areas of saltwater and freshwater which make it for an diverse ecosystem. While kayaking we’ve seen all sorts of animals – river otters, fish, turtles, alligator, hawks, and a cute family of raccoons.
You might even see deer, turkey, bald eagles, owls, heron, and osprey. If you’re looking to fish, expect bass, panfish, redfish, mullet, snook, and jacks.
Don’t forget the insects! My daughter loves the colorful dragonflies that hitch a ride on our kayak. If you’re not a fan a of spiders like me, be careful not to get stuck under trees and shrubs – ha!
Riverbend Park Rentals
If you’re like us and love to kayak but you don’t own your own, no worries you can rent at the park! Jupiter Outdoor Center is located right in Riverbend Park on the wild & scenic Loxahatchee river. They offer kayak, canoe, and bicycle rentals. Prices start at $20 for a bike and $35 for a single kayak.
Directions to Riverbend Park
Riverbend Park is also known as Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park. It’s located in Palm Beach County, FL.
9060 Indiantown Road
Jupiter, FL 33478
Hours: Open sunrise to sunset.
Take a Step Back in Time
Riverbend Park is full of history. In 1838 it was the location of not 1 but 2 Seminole War Battles – Powell’s Battle and Jesup’s Battle. This explains the parks name of Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park. Come see Florida as the first settlers did and visit the Cracker Farmstead at Riverbend Park has many exhibits including an operational early 20th century sawmill. Have a picnic in the shade under a Seminole chickee hut.
Can you kayak from Riverbend park to Jonathan Dickinson State Park?
If you’re really adventurous, you can kayak 8.5 miles one-way from Riverbend Park to Jonathan Dickinson State Park. The Loxahatchee River can be paddled downstream ending in Jonathan Dickinson State Park. Difficulty rating is moderate to difficult.
Is the Loxahatchee River saltwater?
The Loxahatchee River is a mix between freshwater and saltwater. The river starts with freshwater creeks, down into a brackish estuary, and then empties into the Jupiter Inlet.
When is the Pioneer Family Farmstead Day?
Every November, Riverbend Park is also the site of Palm Beach Counties annual Pioneer Family Farmstead Day where you experience what pioneer life was like back then. Learn how to make sugar cane syrup, visit the belt driven sawmill and watch sawyers cut and plane logs into boards. Kids will love the animals, crafts and games. The event is free!
Is Riverbend Park dog friendly?
Riverbend Park is a wildlife management area; pets are not allowed with the exception of service animals as defined by the ADA.
Have you been to the Riverbend Park in Jupiter, FL? Comment below and let us know! Subscribe for more fun ideas and things to do with kids.
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