Kayaking Lignumvitae Key

Kayaking in a Mangrove Channel at Lignumvitae Key State Park

Launching your Kayak at Indian Key Fill 

You hear the distinctive screech of an osprey as it flies overhead, a fish grasped in its talons. You decide to follow its path and head southwest across the shallow seagrass flats to the mangrove creeks as the osprey dips out of sight over the tree line. A few strokes later and you find yourself surrounded by the mangrove forest in a narrow channel. Moving slowly and quietly you look around to see what wildlife you can find.

The water is crystal clear, allowing you to investigate life under the water. You notice movement under the mangrove roots and see a cluster of mangrove (gray) snappers taking cover. Juvenile parrotfish are also active as they pick algae from the dangling aerial roots of the red mangrove trees lining the canal. Out of the tunnel you enter a wider channel. Here you can see ripples breaking the surface, which turn out to be great schools of mullet searching for floating bits of food.

Along the tree-lined channel, you can spot all sorts of birds looking for their next meal, including great egrets, great blue herons, little blue herons and even a yellow crowned night heron. As you are readying to turn around to head home, you get a special treat and spot a manatee cruising by with a baby in tow. Every opportunity to be on the water brings surprises and ecological discoveries. For landside exploration, head to Lignumvitae Key to explore the Botanical State Park.

Distances from Indian Key Fill Kayak Launch:

  • Indian Key Fill to Lignumvitae Key Kayak Landing - 2.84 miles roundtrip
  • Indian Key Fill to Indian Key Kayak Landing -1.66 miles roundtrip
  • Indian Key Fill to Entrance of Mangrove Creeks -1.84 miles roundtrip

Tips for a successful day of paddling Lignumvitae Key State Park:

  • Check the weather and choose a day with light winds for the most enjoyable paddle. Leave a float plan with someone on shore regarding your destination and planned return time.
  • Launch at the public ramp at Indian Key Fill with your own kayak or rent a kayak from nearby charter companies. Charter companies are listed below.
  • Dress in clothes that provide adequate sun protection. Choose fabrics that are light weight and quick drying as it will keep you cooler. Long sleeves, long pants and a wide brim hat are recommended.
  • Bring plenty of food and water and a garbage bag to pack out trash. You can help protect the local wildlife and keep the park clean by packing out marine debris that you may find.

If visiting Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park by kayak:

  • The kayak landing/floating dock is located just south of the main dock on Lignumvitae Key.
  • A fee of $2.50 per person is required. Please bring cash to pay at the iron ranger located near the main walkway to the historic home. 
  • Tours are offered Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. from December to April. Tours are an additional $2 per person. 
  • To protect the local wildlife, pets are not allowed on the Lignumvitae Key. Please leave your furry family members at home.

Kayak Rentals for Paddling Lignumvitae Key Waters:

Kayak Launches and Landing Lignumvitae Key State Park