Breathtaking/Historical Indian River Drive Along the Indian River Lagoon

Antique post card of Indian River Drive. (Courtesy of Sandra Henderson Thurlow, ca. 1940s)
Antique post card of Indian River Drive. (Courtesy of Sandra Henderson Thurlow, ca 1940s.)
Writing on back of post card sent to Jensen Beach from Germany as a V.E. Day souvenir.
Writing on back of post card sent to Jensen Beach from Germany as a V.E. Day souvenir.
Indian River Drive today. (Photo Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, 2014.)
Indian River Drive today. (Photo Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, 2014.)

For six years I have driven north to Ft Pierce from the Town of Sewall’s Point, along Indian River Drive, to attend my meeting as a representative for the Treasure Coast Council of Local Governments.

I love this time. I love this road. It is a meditation, a prayer for me.

I know lots of stories that I heard throughout my childhood and they all seem to come alive as I drive through the cathedral of sabal palms, old plantations, and ancient live oaks;  my car creeps up the rising ridge rolling at the 25 mile an hour speed limit; I gaze over the lagoon itself, sometimes quiet, sometimes moody, but always beautiful. Ospreys keep their high perch or fly in circles over my head, egrets and herons stand along  the shallow shoreline; I pass ancient Indian mounds, and when I wave, the the warriors hold up their right arms in strength and friendship; I see old pioneers like Captain Richards, and Bahamian workers sweating buckets, as they labor to grow pineapples in the heat of the 1800s; I see their graveyards …Every once in a while, I have to stop day dreaming and let a family of sandhill cranes cross the road. Sometimes I think I see a pirate out of the corner of my eye…

The road is an old one, first an Indian trail on the pushed up Atlantic Ridge along the west side of the lagoon; later to become a river road for Florida’s early pioneers as they traveled along its “river highway,” trading supplies and establishing post offices.  After being a military/wagon trail it evolved with the modernization of the post World War II era, and the event of the automobile, into a “modern drive,” and its large parcels were sold off and eventually the “Indian River Freeholder Association” formed in St Lucie County, for its protection and order. (

Indian River Drive covers more than our shores going more or less the entire 156 mile length of the Indian River Lagoon from Stuart to St Augustine covering  five counties; thankfully it has been designated as a “Scenic Highway” in many areas. (

It is my favorite drive along our Treasure Coast.

If you have not driven it lately, on a beautiful morning please take a ride,  and if your imagination gets the best of you, don’t be afraid to wave!




Visit Florida: “Treasure Coast Scenic Highway” Indian River Drive  (

11 thoughts on “Breathtaking/Historical Indian River Drive Along the Indian River Lagoon

  1. i love this drive. when i drive home from pt piece i always think “who gets to do this! ” i agree with the history -its a magical ride.

  2. Thank you Facebook friends:
    Pamela Bovie Miller, Nicole Matlack Mader, Jane Elizabeth Flagg and 27 others like this.

    Pamela Wedemeyer Reading Historical Jensen and Eden! Love it! I wish I could turn back time and spend a day in the life in 1880, 1900, 1925.
    12 hours ago · Unlike · 2

    Gayle Ryan I want Camelot back….
    12 hours ago · Unlike · 2

    Patti Kennedy Beautifully written and most inspiring. A beautiful drive indeed, but I will now look in a different way! Thank You!
    10 hours ago · Unlike · 1
    Blake Capps, Jeanne Emerick and 2 others like this.
    View 1 more comment

    Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch Gayle —your FB cover I LOVE IT!!! it is all to share, use,enjoy and most of all love.

    Sincerely,…See More

    Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch
    Indian River Lagoon
    4 hours ago · Like · 1 · Remove Preview

    Mike Glynn Jacqui, beautiful writing from the heart. Thanks and I agree, to me that drive is always new. It is one of my favorite roads anywhere.
    about an hour ago · Unlike · 2

    Gayle Ryan Kleenex
    about an hour ago · Unlike · 1

    Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch Thank you Mike Glynn. See you on the drive.
    3 minutes ago · Like

  3. Your love of the “Drive” is shared by many, including myself. I travel this two lane scenic route
    everyday of my life and always notice something new each time. The history and beauty has always inspired me to be a part of the Drive and keep the old Florida nature. I love reading about the characters who once lived here and find the current residents unique people. As a resident of the Drive and past President of the Freeholders I look forward to many more years
    traveling this storied path. I have always admired your work and love reading Sandra Thurlow’s books on the history of the area.
    Kindest Regards
    Clark Hodges

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