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“kayak to this spot”

Indian Key State Historic Site
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Eco-Adventure and Snorkel Cruise
Ranked #14 of 61 things to do in Islamorada
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 24 November 2013

loved kayaking to this state park
rented kayaks at robbie's
came with a map of the "island" with streets an observation tower and historical markers identifying the myriad of homes hotels and warehouses that existed then
it was amazing to be able to go there and take a trip back in time... the story of jacob and elizabeth housman's escape from a seminole indian attack in 1840
was heartbreaking and mesmerizing
give yourself 2 hours for the trip there the tour and the trip back

1  Thank trudygooddollar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (208)
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147 - 151 of 208 reviews

Reviewed 8 September 2013

We visited in August and it was HOT and steamy! The only way to get to this park is by water. We came over on a motor boat, docked and came ashore. There is not a lot of available space to dock, but on Labor Day weekend, it was not crowded so we had no problem. Shortly after we arrived, we were greeted by Park Ranger Martin to obtain our visiting fee of $2.50 per person, so make sure you bring some money. Also, sunscreen, bug spray and a water bottle. There was a big orange cooler filled with water at the entrance. No pets are allowed. Martin gave us a brief and informative talk on Indian Key. It dates from the time of prehistoric Indians, but more recently (in the 1830's) was inhabited by Jacob Housman, who made a living salvaging wrecks from the dangerous reefs near the island. Supposedly, he wasn't the most ethical businessman and had his friends in high places establish Dade County in 1836, with Indian Key as the county seat. Dr. Henry Perrine, a doctor with an interest in tropical botany, also lived on the island, along with 40 to 50 inhabitants. The most interesting story is about when 100 Indians attacked the island, killing some of the inhabitants, including Dr. Perrine. Housman left the island after this and went to Key West, but his grave stone is still on the island. At one time, the island had a thriving store, hotel, houses with cisterns, warehouses (where wrecking booty was kept) and wharves. Now, there is very little left to see except remnants of the buildings, cisterns and Housman's grave site. What I found most interesting is the spot where the Indians landed in their attack. There is an observation deck that allows you to get a view from up high. Tamarind trees, buttonwoods and succulent plants are available to see as you walk on the gravel pathway along the island and most sites are marked, indicating what they are. Park Ranger Martin made our visit enjoyable. He informed us that there are no garbage cans, so we needed to take everything with us when we finished our picnic lunch. There is a spot on the dock which is covered, which makes a perfect place to picnic. There are no restrooms. Visiting here takes about an hour.

2  Thank Glee47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 August 2013

We rented Kayaks from the Kayak Shack from Robbies Marina and It was a 30 minute self-guided tour. The island is very nice and great snorkeling off the back side. We saw a stingray and lobster! Definitely a must do when you are down there!

3  Thank nicola1k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 August 2013

What a gem! We rented double kayaks from Robbie's Kayak shop and rowed over the channel to this island. We felt like we had the island to ourselves. Brought a cooler with sandwiches and drinks and ate at the large covered pavilion by the dock. It was perfect! I would recommend doing that. There is a spot to put some donation money in. Historic plaques everywhere about life there back in the day. You can hike the island in about 40 min. Well groomed paths. The is an observation tower with a great view. We were told where to go snorkeling- walk out the back side along the rocks and it was amazing. Very rocky to get in- make sure your kids have water shoes on. It didn't bother ours because they did. My husband and I went in the water with our flip flops so we didn't cut our feet. Once in- it's great. Maybe 3-4' deep for a ways out then about 7-9'. Saw some great fish, some coral in spots. We were so glad we did the trip. With eating and snorkeling, was about 3 hours round trip. Caught some wind against us on the ride back which was exhausting, but still well worth the trip!

2  Thank CWjupiter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 July 2013

We rented a kayak in Islamorada at the Kayak Shack and paddled to Indian Key. Check my review of the Kayak Shack for more information on the rental.

This was easily the best place we visited in the Keys. The snorkeling was quite good. We saw some smaller tropical fish and a small nurse shark. Another couple showed up while we were there, but for the most part it felt like we had the island to ourselves. You can see US 1 off in the distance but the sound of the traffic doesn't carry to the island. The "beach" where you get in the water is little more than a bench and an opening in the mangroves.

Walking around the island feels a bit like being in a ghost town. Interesting to read the signs pointing out where various buildings were located. According to one of the signs, John James Audubon spent time at the hotel on Indian Key during his travels. Didn't see a lot of bird life on the island, but there were hundreds of Great Southern White butterflies flitting about. The observation tower gives a good overview of the surroundings.

Cannot recommend this trip highly enough for outdoors/nature-types and people looking to get away from it all. When I think of the Keys, this is the place I'll be thinking of from now on.

1  Thank Feisty_Coral
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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