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.