Kayak Indian Key

Kayaks at kayak Landing

Indian Key is located only a half-mile offshore but feels a world away. This 11-acre island is accessible only by boat and sits just off Lower Matacumbe at MM 78.5. One of the best ways to reach the island is by paddling over the shallow seagrass flats. Plan your trip at high tide and you can float right over the shallow seagrass beds. In the crystal-clear water, it is common to see stingrays and sharks. Also, keep your eyes peeled for the oddly shaped trunk fish as they like to swim just above the blades of grass.

A kayak landing on the south side of the island makes for easy access. As you approach the island look for the “Kayak Landing” sign in the water. This is the only authorized kayak landing on the island in order to protect the shoreline environment. 

Once on the island, take a self-guided tour around the historical ruins of the Jacob Housman 1830s wrecking village. Here you will see the remains of buildings that were burned to the ground during an American Indian attack in 1840. The crumbling foundations are surrounded by the sharp-tipped sisal agave plants that have colonized the island after their introduction by Dr. Henry Perrine.

While sitting under the shade of the West Indian tamarind trees, visitors can ponder what life would have been like living on this tiny island in days gone by. Be sure to climb the observation tower for a spectacular bird’s-eye view of the island and surrounding blue water.

Hints for a successful trip:

  • Check the weather: Be sure to choose a day with light winds for the most enjoyable paddle.
  • Launch at the public ramp at Indian Key Fill with your own kayak or rent a kayak from nearby charter companies (See a list of charters companies below).
  • Dress in clothes that provide adequate sun protection. Lightweight, quick drying fabrics will keep you cooler. Long sleeves, long pants and a wide brim hat are recommended. Water shoes are also recommended as the shoreline is rocky. 
  • There are no facilities on the island. Bring plenty of food and water with you and a bag to pack out trash. Help protect wildlife and keep the park clean by packing out marine debris that has washed ashore.
  • An Iron Ranger is near the kayak launch. Make sure to bring cash to pay the park entrance of $2.50 per person.
  • To protect the local wildlife, pets are not allowed on the island. Please leave your furry family members at home.

Kayak Rentals for Indian Key:

  • Robbie’s Marina: 305-664-4878
  • Backcountry Cowboys: 305-517-4177