The Jupiter inlet Lighthouse was officially lit in 1860 and is the oldest existing structure in Palm Beach County.
The lighthouse stands 1/2 mile from the Atlantic Ocean. In 2008, Congress designated the lighthouse and its surrounding 120 acres as an Outstanding Natural Area (ONA) in the National Landscape Conservation System, one of only three ONAs in the U.S.
While its turquoise waters are extraordinarily beautiful, Jupiter Inlet, at 400 feet wide, is the most dangerous inlet in Palm Beach County. Jupiter gets the big surf breaking in the mouth of the inlet, and what causes the danger is the buildup of sand – shoaling – about 1,300 feet offshore from the inlet. The flow from the Loxahatchee River emptying into the Atlantic Ocean pushes out to the sand, building the crescent-shaped shoal about 5 feet deep, making for unpredictable waves.
The lighthouse was built of brick shipped on barges from Philadelphia and then later painted red in 1910. Coastal lighthouses have different markings to enable ships to determine their location during daylight. The daymark for the Jupiter Lighthouse is red with a black lantern.
To someone on an airplane, the lighthouse beam would be visible 40 to 50 miles away.
Evening brings out exquisite gem-like colors along the inlet.
The range of the lighthouse beam is 26 miles, which is the farthest distance that the light can be seen on a ship at sea. The Fresnel lens was manufactured in Paris.
The lighthouse was automated in 1987, and a photo electronic cell turns the bulb and motor on when the sun sets and off when the sun rises.
The lamp is 1000 watts, and has an identical spare that turns on whenever the first bulb fails.
The lighthouse has 105 cast iron steps, spiraling counterclockwise around a central column with three landings.
The lighthouse is 108 feet tall and sits on a 48-foot hill. Both the Lighthouse and the archaeological site are on the National Register of Historic Places.