Tucked behind a royal Poinciana tree and the historic Helen Wadley Branch of the Islamorada Library is Library Beach. “Beach” might be stretching the idea. The beach is a little strip of sand with grass that overlooks a mangrove-lined creek. The water is warm and clear and an ideal place to find relief on a hot summer day. The beach, however, is more of a park with a swimming hole, albiet a pretty great swimming hole.
The park is located at Mile Marker 81.5, behind the library. Across the street is the Hurriane Monument which gives a brief history of the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. Some of the 420 who died in the strom are buried in a tomb there.
The park is behind the library building. Parking, while free, is limited. Fortunately, the park is rarely crowded. There is a large grass area and playground with swings for the children, as well as bathroom facilities. There are a couple of trees providing shade and a small covered picnic area. Permanent grills are provided. Bring your own coals. No alcohol is allowed at the park.
The least appealing aspect of the park is that it can attract a colorful crowd. Rest assured that everyone is after the same thing, relaxation. The water, too, is subject to heavy tidal flows which, while fine for wading, is not so great for swimming.
The best thing about the park is that it is off the beaten path. It can also prove an interesting snorkel, though again, less so during the heaviest flow of the tide which tends to stir up the bottom sediment and cloud the visibility. Look beneath the tangles of mangrove roots which provide a tremendous structure for marine life. Snappers, grunts, as well as the odd snook, grouper,or spadefish will likely be found schooling in-between the roots. Sometimes, too, small starfish or lobster can be spotted clinging to the roots!