Holiday Isle sandbar (aka, per the locals “Islamorada Beach,”) is located oceanside just outside of Whale Harbor Bridge (MM 84). Most visible at low tide, this sandy mecca is a magnet for boaters, swimmers, and anyone looking for a good time. Popular during the summer weekends, and holidays, this is the place to see and be seen whether you are showcasing your hot bod, bikini, or Jet Ski.
When you’re done having fun in the sun, you can dock over at Holiday Isle/ Postcard Inn, sit under the tiki hut, and grab a very delicious Key Lime Colada.
Holiday Isle also lays its own claim to “Kokomo” beach, made famous by the Beach Boys song and the movie “Cocktail.” Unfortunately, at last glance, I did not spot Tom Cruise — but it’s Holiday Isle, and if Batman (played by Michael Keaton) can land in a seaplane, anything is possible.
— Jen Friel
The Grassy Key sandbar is located on the oceanside of the island chain between MMs 57 and 58. It’s about a half-mile long stretch of sandy bottom, slightly submerged, depending on the tide.
While the scene is hectic on big weekends (4th of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day) it’s a pretty laid-back scene that’s typically family oriented. (It’s not uncommon to hear my kids’ names being called from nearby boats before we even set the anchor.) Families bring all manner of toys ranging from tubes to Jet Skis to floating coolers.
The sandbar has lots of rays and this season it’s infested with starfish.
Maybe the nicest thing about this sandbar is that it’s not out of reach for those without a boat. Simply rent a kayak or paddleboard from the Curry Hammock State Park (MM 57) and paddle out.
— Sara Matthis
Located on the gulfside only a quick boat ride away from Key West (towards Sugarloaf) is Marvin Key, a tropical paradise island as picturesque as an advertisement. The beauty and serenity makes it one of the most popular places to day-anchor and enjoy a picnic or try out some flats fishing in the Lower Keys.
In most places, the sandbar is covered with just a few inches of warm, spa-like water making it great for sunbathing, socializing or a game of dominoes.
Boaters must use caution, however, because the sandbar is completely exposed at high tide. Captains have to keep one eye out for falling tides so they don’t end up “high and dry.”
This is one of the few places in the Keys that offers a pure sandy bottom (no shoes required). Locals do a great job at keeping the area clean and are welcoming. Expect to meet some new people and make a few friends upon making it to Marvin Key.
— Alex Press