Weather icon
The Spanish Colonial Heritage Trail in Florida

The Spanish Colonial Heritage Trail in Florida

Feel like an early explorer with our stops on the Spanish Colonial Heritage Trail, and uncover the route of Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon.

The lore of Spanish pirates and expeditions is alive in The Palm Beaches, with legends of buried treasure and new discoveries part of the heritage here.

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse

Climb the 105 lighthouse stairs and emerge at the top to breathtaking views of the Loxahatchee River and the gorgeous natural area that surrounds the lighthouse. Pieces of pirate lore are housed in the museum, including cannons, wooden chests and tools used for navigation.

Jupiter Inlet has long been a strategic point, first for meetings of ancient Native American tribes and then Spanish explorers like Juan Ponce de Leon. In fact, the local Jeaga tribe used the inlet to fire arrows tipped in bone and fish spines at Ponce de Leon. 

Today, the lighthouse welcomes all by land and sea into the inlet and shines a light on Spanish expeditions, shipwrecks local legends. The museum details the Spanish explorers that sailed through Jupiter Inlet and the local Native American tribes that called the area home. Check for special events such as Sea Fest for Kids in February, when pirates tell tall tales, or the lighthouse’s own Wild & Scenic Film Festival in April.   

Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum, West Palm Beach

Peruse artifacts and placards for an engaging history of The Palm Beaches—this museum by the Historical Society of Palm Beach County traces this early history of Spanish conquest as part of its permanent exhibit. 

Juan Ponce de Leon claimed “La Florida” for Spain, despite the nearly 20,000 native inhabitants that lived in South Florida, so keep your eyes peeled for special exhibits that highlight Spanish influence, including pirates and their coveted treasure. Don’t miss special exhibits paying homage to influential residents, and events like historic walking tours.

Palm Beach Maritime Museum, West Palm Beach

Feel like an explorer on the high seas—even if you’re a landlubber—and discover the personalities that shaped our local maritime history, engaging with interactive exhibits, artifacts and displays.

Learn all about the famous Spanish explorers who sailed the coast and claimed Florida for Spain, hoping to find gold or fables like the Fountain of Youth. Of course what they found instead was a tropical paradise that many would eventually want—and want to visit.

Those new to maritime lore can opt for a personal guided tour of the museum, which also offers tours of nearby Peanut Island, a family-friendly beach with snorkeling, camping and two nearby marinas.

Plan Your Stay

Browse lodging options in the one, the only, the Palm Beaches and discover America's First Resort Destination in sunny South Florida.

Get Our Newsletter

Get A Visitors Guide