Florida Scenics Blog- The art of Sharon Osterholt

The Florida State Park Plein Air Painting Tour – Painting each of Florida's State Parks on location

Side Trip – Indian Key and Lignumvitae Key State Parks

As part of my Florida State Park Plein Air Tour I am visiting and painting at all of Florida’s state parks that are accessible by car.

Indian Key Historic State Park and Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park are both small islands just off the shores of Islamorada. Neither is accessible by car, but we did take a boat excursion to visit the islands.

A three hour tour – yes a three hour tour! Even though it was gusting winds to 30mph and the water was choppy, the ride was smooth and we made it back just fine thanks to a great crew from Robbie’s Marina. The trip was too short to set up and paint with just under an hour at each park. So I took lots of photos and we enjoyed our afternoon as tourists!

First stop was Indian Key Historic State Park. One hundred and fifty years ago this was the 2nd largest city in the keys after Key West with over 60 residents. Now there is no inhabitants except for a few endangered snails and tropical plants! The history here is fascinating with ruthless pirates and an indian massacre. To read more here is a link to a short story about the island: link

Walking around the island is a bit of wild nature and ghost town. There are the endangered snails that are only found on this island, a few endangered flowers, stone foundations and rubble left. An observation tower in the middle of the island offers great views out to the ocean and the Alligator Reef Light.

Next we boarded the boat again and visited Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park. This park is also non-inhabited, but a beautiful old stone house remains on a hill overlooking the bay. Built in 1919 by William J. Matheson, a wealthy Miami chemist. In 1935 the house was nearly destroyed by a hurricane, but was rebuilt. There is a large tropical hardwood forest on the island and the mosquitos were thick! We walked a short ways down the trail and headed back to the open air near the main house.

These two parks a filled with history and a day visiting will certainly take you back in time!

For more information about these parks, visit their websites: Indian Key and Lignumvitae Key


Lignumvitae Key:


Indian Key:

2 comments on “Side Trip – Indian Key and Lignumvitae Key State Parks

  1. marge drew
    December 18, 2015

    I sure wish I could view your slide shows in this post..seems they require java script and well I do not have a clue.. so guess I do notget to see your photographs.. Sad about that …ah well.  And for  suredue to hubby not having enough oxygen tanks we will never get to godown to the keys now either..  Sure sounded like a great trip though.  Margé

  2. FlaScenics
    December 18, 2015

    Thanks Margé! I’m sorry you couldn’t see the pics, I changed the format back to the standard gallery, so you should be able to view them now. Too bad Paul is still on the oxygen, I was hoping he would be able to get off of it. Lucky for you the loop is close by!

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This entry was posted on December 18, 2015 by in art, Florida, Florida State Park Plein Air Tour, landscapes, Nature, Painting.

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