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Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park

Islamorada, Florida

Contact Information
P.O. Box 1052
Islamorada, 33036
(305) 664-2540

The serenity and isolation of remote islands have always captured man's imagination. Lignumvitae Key is no exception. To step ashore here is to take a step back into the past. The Matheson House, built in 1919, has changed little over the years. A windmill supplied power; fresh water was provided from a cistern which filled by rain falling on the roof. The virgin tropical forest that thrives here is typical of the kind of scenery that was once enjoyed on most of Florida's Upper Keys. As the Keys were developed to accommodate an increasing number of people, most of the unique vegetation was scraped away, making the tropical forest of Lignumvitae Key a very rare and special place. Here, you walk in the shade of trees with strange names like mastic, strangler fig, poisonwood, pigeon plum and gumbo-limbo.

Hours of Operation
Park is open Thursday-Monday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Driving Directions
Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park is located one mile west of U.S.1 at Mile Marker 78.5. Access is by private boat or charter boats at nearby marinas.

Park Activities

Visitors can rent powerboats and kayaks from "Robbie’s Marina" or a number of other local marinas. Knowledge of the channels is critical because of the surrounding shallow grass flats. Excursions outside of the channels can lead to boat damage, environmental damage, heavy fines and possibly a criminal record. Kayaks and canoes can float across most flats offering spectacular chances to see a variety of wildlife from dolphins and manatees to sharks and rays.

Anglers can fish for a variety of species from Bonefish on the flats, to Tarpon in the channels. Snapper, Spanish Mackerel and Snook are also found in the area. Caribbean Spiny Lobster and Stone Crab are also found in the waters surrounding the park and can be harvested when in season. A Florida saltwater fishing license, with special stamps for Lobster and Snook, is required. Fishing may be done around the island, but not within 100 feet of the nearest dock.

Guided Tours
1.5-hour guided walks are given at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., Thursday through Monday. The tour fee is $1 per person. Children under 6 are admitted free of charge. Access to the Key for these tours is limited to privately owned boats or charter boats available at nearby marinas. For reservations call (305) 664-9814. Tour boat departs 1/2-hour before listed tour times.

Some local marinas, as well as “Robbie’s Marina," run Eco-tours that involve brief stops at the island and snorkeling in the area around the island and out on the reef. Remember, all snorkeling requires a diver down flag. All snorkeling must be conducted 100 feet from the nearest dock.