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by Kristin Young | Updated On: December 27, 2021 | beaches
Islamorada – sometimes known as Islas Morada – comprises the collection of six islands that make up this Florida Keys community. This part of the Middle Keys is around an hour’s drive south of Miami, between Key Largo and Key West. Islamorada beaches range from wild and natural to pristine and perfectly manicured, so although there aren’t a plethora to choose from, you’ll find one you love.
Although the Keys are not known for boasting the finest of Florida’s beaches, there is plenty to discover both on land and in the ocean in this tropical region located between the Everglades National Park and the Florida Strait. Occupying almost 4,000 acres of land, Islamorada lies between mile markers 72 and 90.
Situated in Monroe County, Islamorada is made up of Plantation Key, Upper Matecumbe Key, Lower Matecumbe Key and Windley Key as well as the islands of Lignumvitae Key and Indian Key, both of which can be found offshore.
From visiting the beach featured in the Bloodline TV series to snorkeling the reefs or partying on the famous Islamorada sandbar, there is lots to do and see on and around the area’s beaches – even though many are manmade and most are rocky rather than sandy.
This guide will take you through the best of the six islands’ beaches and what there is to see and do there, from Anne’s Beach, Islamorada to Founder’s Park and the sandbar. Also covered are Islamorada resorts on the beach, so you can stay within sight and sound of the sea if you want to.
Our favorite resort in the area is included, as well as other sought-after places to stay on the sands such as the Postcard Inn on the beach in Islamorada. These are ideal when you want to go beyond the public beaches in Islamorada, FL.
Make sure you don’t miss out when vacationing on the Florida Keys by discovering the finest beaches Islamorada has to offer.
ISLAMORADA BEACHES MAP
ISLAMORADA BEACHES: PUBLIC BEACHES
This sandy Islamorada public beach can be found close to mile marker 73 at the southern end of Islamorada on Lower Matecumbe Key. There are two parking lots serving Anne’s Beach, which has a natural, unspoiled feel. Really, it is more of a series of small inlets and secluded spots than a traditional beach, and the sand is hard packed rather than soft and yielding.
Used as a filming location for Bloodline, Anne’s beach has a good range of amenities. These include an attractive boardwalk with covered picnic tables, bathrooms and calm, shallow waters that are good for swimming. The beach is named after Anne Eaton, a local environmentalist who also spent much of her life using a wheelchair.
After stormy weather the beach is prone to becoming littered with ocean debris, and is cleaner following a period of settled weather. It makes a great entry point for a swim in the warm waters. The boardwalk is pleasant to stroll along and you can also unpack a picnic at one of the covered tables here, keeping your food free of the little crabs than sometimes run around on the sands.
This is a great beach for families with kids or pets to visit, as the waters tend to be very still, shallow and clear. The natural sandy beach is a rarity on the Keys too. Although it’s not perhaps impressive by state standards, this is one of the best beaches in Islamorada – and in fact all of the islands that make up the Florida Keys.
Founder’s Park Beach
Founder’s Park is the best public beach in Islamorada, but you may have to pay to enter it. Fees don’t apply to local village residents, nor to current or disabled former military personnel and their immediate families. If you can prove you are staying at a hotel in Islamorada, you don’t need to pay the entrance fee either.
Founder’s Park is a beautiful spot, boasting pristine white sands, swaying palms and a superb range of amenities. These include an Olympic-sized outdoor swimming pool, a pickleball complex, a kids’ splash park, walking and fitness trails, playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts, a fishing jetty, a golf driving range, a sandy volleyball court and a range of fields that can be used for various purposes including softball and baseball.
There is also a selection of tiki huts, plus an amphitheater and a community center. As well as the sporting facilities, the beach has grills, picnic tables, outdoor showers and restrooms. The tiki huts vary in size, ranging from a small beach tiki with grill, table and seating to a large pavilion with several grills and tables. These may be rented out to local residents for small parties.
Dogs are not permitted on the beach or in the picnic areas, but there is a dedicated dog park providing exercise space for four legged friends. This one acre site is equipped with agility apparatus, a watering and washing station and seating.
With so many fine amenities and soft white sands, Founder’s Park is a must for many visitors and it’s easy to spend an entire day there. Perhaps more, particularly if you enjoy being active and playing sports.
Although it’s small in size, Library Beach comprises a quiet grassy park tucked away behind Islamorada public library. You can enter the water here from among the mangroves on the bay side, and it’s a great spot from which to launch a kayak.
Library Beach has outdoor grills, shady picnic tables, bathrooms, outdoor showers and play parks. It’s a place where you may expect to see some local sea life, such as a lobster or some small fish. The beach tends to be peaceful, as it’s a little off the beaten tourist track as well as being limited in size.
You may be pushed to spend an entire day at Library Beach, but for kids to play or kayaking among the mangroves it’s ideal. The beach is located close to mile marker 81, and the sands are really more of a channel than anything. There is a spacious grassy area that runs right up to the sandy fringe, providing visitors with ample room for running around or relaxation.
Dogs, motor boats and fishing are not permitted here, and if you do enter the water it is at your own risk, as alligators have been known to pay a visit.
The Islamorada sandbar is justifiably famous and not to be missed when visiting the Middle Keys. It consists of a long, finger-shaped strip of white sand that’s clearly visible beneath the shallow waters.
To reach Islamorada sandbar requires getting out onto the water, and once you arrive you’ll be greeted by the incongruous sight of people setting up tables and chairs in the water by their boats, getting ready to party.
Due to the shallow, calm waters it looks possible to kayak out to the sandbar. While some people do, we were warned not to try this during our visit due to the dangers posed by the strong underlying currents and the sheer volume of boat traffic.
The sandbar is located under a mile from the shore close to mile marker 84 and the Postcard Inn, Islamorada. To get there, you can pick between various local group or private tours. If you love to socialize, then this is a place you must visit, as it’s such a fun spot for enjoying the glorious scenery and mingling with both locals and other visitors.
While it’s busy all year round, the sandbar remains a relaxing place to be, feeling far removed from the stresses and strains of everyday life. Pack a picnic plus a ball or a frisbee – and don’t forget some chairs too if you want to experience the unique sensation of sitting back in the water, partly submerged as you feel the sand between your toes and the warm water lapping at your bare legs.
Cheeca Lodge is our firm favorite among all the places to stay in Islamorada on the beach. It’s a beautiful property in an unbeatable location on the opposite side of the land from Islamorada Library Beach, and also offers lots of amenities.
The resort boasts a kids’ center, fishing pier, a nine hole golf course, a fitness studio, water sports facilities and tennis courts. It also has a lovely spa and two heated pools with cabanas, as well as three on site restaurants.
Rooms come with coastal decor and are equipped with coffee machines plus flatscreen TV and DVD player. Some also have balconies, rainfall showers and mini fridges.
Cheeca Lodge fronts a pristine stretch of white sand, fringed by palm trees and lined with sun loungers. There is a also a pier that juts out into the sea for over 500 meters, which is incredibly popular with those who love fishing.
Islander Resort is located close to the Keys History and Discovery Center. This peaceful place has a laid-back vibe and offers simple yet stylish modern suites with screened porches. Some have ocean views.
The Islander beach resort in Islamorada has a beach bar and grill plus a restaurant, hot tub, various kids’ play spaces and two saltwater pools.
The beach at this oceanfront resort is one of the prettiest on these islands, and has sun loungers on the sand plus a small pier. Guests can also hire water sports equipment for diving, snorkeling and boating at the resort.
If you want to stay at the beach that featured in Bloodline, book into The Mooring Village. The resort is home to the private beach used as a location for the popular series.
Formerly used as a coconut plantation, the 18 acre site features a number of well-equipped vacation cottages with between one and three bedrooms. These have private outdoor porches complete with furniture.
There are hammocks and loungers dotted around the resort and it also has a spa, fitness suite, lap pool and tennis courts. Bikes, kayaks and paddle boards are available for hire.
The tropical gardens here lead directly to the oceanfront, with idyllic white sands and warm, crystal clear waters.
Near the Theater of the Sea is the well-known Postcard Inn of Islamorada, Florida. This property offers a range of nautical style rooms, cottages and suites and a private beach as well as several eateries, bars and pools.
The Postcard resort in Islamorada is situated on a sandy beach with decks, boardwalks and a pier. One of the highlights is the lively tiki bar. Close to the water, it’s the ideal spot from which to watch the sunset.
Amara Cay is an upmarket resort with a relaxed, natural feel. The outdoor pool here overlooks the sandy private beach, which is furnished with hammocks as well as sun loungers.
There is a pool bar and grill plus a restaurant on site, and the resort’s accommodation options range from standard and oceanfront rooms to deluxe suites. By day the lawn games here are popular, while at night it’s fun to gather around the fire pit or in the tiki bar.
A line of incredibly colorful cottages located right on the sands welcomes you to La Siesta Resort and Marina. This resort has its own marina as well as the private beach, plus an infinity pool and hot tub.
Bikes, kayaks, snorkel gear and and fishing pole hire are all included with room rates. The resort also provides a free shuttle service to sister properties or local attractions.
WHICH ISLAMORADA BEACHES WILL YOU VISIT?
Whether you visit a public beach in Islamorada, Florida during your stay or opt to stay directly on the sands at one of the luxurious local resorts, spending time by or on the water is one of the highlights of any Keys vacation.
For sporty types Founder’s Park beach Islamorada is a must, while the stylish beach resorts in Islamorada, FL offer guests the opportunity to swim, sunbathe and while away the hours at an on site beach cafe in Islamorada.
Whether you opt for a day of picnicking on the boardwalk at Anne’s Beach, partying on the sandbar or escaping the crowds at Library Beach, spending time by the sea means really getting into the relaxed rhythm of island life.