By enjoyFloridaBeaches.com January 10, 2017
Marathon, Florida is a charming beach destination located on a chain of seven islands in the Florida Keys, about fifty miles northeast of Key West.
The city boasts beautiful beaches, marinas, and other area attractions while offering scenic beachfront hotels and a variety of places to dine. And in addition to enjoying local parks in Marathon, you can interact with dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center or Dolphin Connection.
Whether soaking up the sun on the beach, exploring local shops and museums, or snorkeling and diving off the coast, Marathon has something for everyone to enjoy.
Depending on where you stay, you may have access to a private beach featuring amenities and activities the whole family will enjoy. Tranquility Bay Beach House Resort is a Marathon resort offering a large, white-sand beach on the Gulf side of the key.
Marathon also has three very good public beaches, including the beach at Bahia Honda Sate Park, which may be the best beach in the Florida Keys.
Bahia Honda State Park is on Bahia Honda Key and is located just south of Marathon, Florida. The park features a natural, white sand beach that was rated the #1 beach in the United States by "Dr. Beach" Stephen Leatherman in 1992.
Sombrero Beach is located in Marathon on the Atlantic side and features a pier, shady park with picnic pavilions, playground, volleyball courts, restrooms, and showers. For the days, you want to enjoy the beach, without making the drive to Bahia Honda Key, Sombrero Beach is a great alternative.
Coco Plum Beach is also located in Marathon on the Atlantic side of the key. Though the beach is family-friendly, and you’ll enjoy activities from the beach, high tide can engulf most of the beach and make it less desirable at high tide.
Bahia Honda State Park features numerous outdoor activities and eco-adventures that include camping, kayaking, bicycling, fishing, swimming, birding, and a wide range of park programs including guided tours. Rentals for kayaks and snorkeling gear are available in the park, and boat trips for snorkeling on the reef are available. The park also has a marina with boat slips for overnight mooring, vacation cabins, and camping sites for primitive and modern camping.
Crane Point Museum, Nature Center & Historic Site is in the Marathon shopping district and features a museum of natural history, nature trails, educational displays, the Marathon Wild Bird Center, and trolley tours of the botanic gardens and historic sites.
If you love golf and tennis while enjoying waterfront views, you’ll love playing 18-holes at the Florida Keys Golf & Tennis Club, which is a Mark Mahannah-designed private course. And if you want to play a public course, you’ll have fun golfing on the 9-hole, par 3 course at the Key Colony Beach Golf & Tennis facility.
Marathon also has some of the best diving and snorkeling in the United States, which can be easily accessed with area diving and snorkeling charters. The reefs feature an extensive spur-and-groove coral complex and numerous well-developed patch reefs that are populated by a vast array of Caribbean tropical fish. Plus, there are modern and historical shipwrecks available to dive, making Marathon an exceptional place for sport diving.
The Dolphin Research Center in Marathon offers a unique opportunity for adults and children to spend time with dolphins, through numerous programs that include swimming and playing with dolphins, and participating in dolphin research.
And if you want to experience Marathon and the reefs from above, an aerial tour with Old City Helicopters is an unforgettable adventure of flying low and fast over the water while searching for dolphins, sea turtles, sting rays, sharks, tarpon, and other sea life. The tour includes a bird's eye view of Pigeon Key, Boot Key Harbor, Sombrero Beach, Seven Mile Bridge, Bahia Honda Park, Spanish Harbor, Duck Key, Hawks Cay, and the Sombrero Key Lighthouse.
Enjoy a day of shopping at some of the city’s locally owned shops and cafés.
Marathon’s intriguing shopping experience includes small boutiques, organic cafés, and clothing stores with everything you’ll need for the beach and outdoor adventures.
Also located in the heart of Marathon’s shopping district, Crane Point Museum and Nature Center has a gift shop with a variety of souvenirs, including original artwork by locals.
Marathon has endless dining options, with about 70 restaurants ranging from elegant resort-style dining to fast food.
For some of the best food in the keys, visit the Butterfly Café at the Tranquility Bay Resort, which offers fresh seafood cuisine in a sophisticated atmosphere. Also enjoy ocean-side dining at the Hideaway Café that features a diverse menu including seafood, beef, chicken, and lamb. And watch the sunset while dining at The Island Fish Company & Tiki Bar, or savor a juicy steak cooked in an upscale environment at the Plaza Grill.
From resorts to campgrounds to bed and breakfasts, Marathon has a variety of accommodations to offer.
Resorts like the Casa Del Sol Beach Resort offers beachfront access, spectacular ocean views from private balconies, spa services, luxurious swimming pools, and an opportunity to go fishing, kayaking, and snorkeling.
The Hawks Cay Resort, Spa, and Marina also offers guests the unique opportunity to interact with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins at Dolphin Connection, their on-site dolphin facility. Visitors interact with the dolphins with a variety of fun and educational programs geared toward all ages while providing a hands-on dolphin experience.
If you would like to experience Marathon as a local, or perhaps have more room and privacy during your stay, beach homes and condos are available to rent, and can be easily found online.
Camping accommodations are provided by several campgrounds in Marathon, in addition to Curry Hammock State Park in Marathon, and Bahia Honda State Park just to the south of Marathon.
Weddings and Events
Marathon is a perfect location for a wedding or special event, with sandy beaches, luxurious resorts, beautiful venues, a court house, and a variety of churches.
Many of the resorts, upscale hotels, and beach-side restaurants host weddings and events, and some offer all-inclusive packages. There is also an array of wedding and event vendors in Marathon that can take care of every detail, including wedding and event planning, catering, salons and spas, music and entertainment, venues, photographers, and wedding officiants.