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Marathon, the Florida Keys

The city of Marathon in the Florida Keys is located on Vaca Key (not Marathon Key as so many people think). It also marks the end of the Florida middle Keys, and is roughly half-way between Key Largo and Key West.

There are several keys that are more or less under the same name umbrella. By this definition, Duck Key, Grassy Key and Key Colony Beach all can be referred to as Marathon too.

Naturally, think outdoors when you consider Marathon, Florida. Fishing is excellent -- you can rent a boat, charter a trip or bring your own boat. You have a choice of blue-water, reef or backcountry angling, as your pleasure dictates (but why not all?). If you like smooth seas, though, try back country fishing first.

Snorkeling and diving are superb -- after all, the main coral reef isn't far away, and there are even patch reefs closer in.  There are also underwater wrecks to explore, if you're certified.

Getting to Marathon, Florida

Yes, there is an airport in Marathon, but it is more for private planes and teeny puddle jumpers. On a vacation, your best bet is to drive here from either the mainland or Key West, where there are larger airports. Besides, you do need a vehicle of some kind to get out and about the town(s). Marathon Sunset, Florida Keys

Like all the other Florida Keys (except for Key West), the places to stay, eat and shop are all strung out along US1 (the Overseas Highway), instead of nice and neat in a little downtown area.

Places to Stay

Do you want to stay at a resort or a mom and pop motel? All kinds of lodging is available in Marathon, from super-casual to luxury resort.  Here's a list of places to stay in Marathon, Florida.

Places to Eat

It's time to eat, but where can you go? From fast-food to gourmet dining, it's all available. If you've been lucky fishing, there are even some restaurants that will cook your catch for you.  Check out a list of places to eat in Marathon, Florida.

Places to Shop

Ahhh, shopping! Marathon has its share of stores, but which ones to browse first? There are myriad places in Marathon, Florida to do serious damage to your checkbook!  Take a look at a list of places to shop in Marathon, Florida.

What Else is There to Do in Marathon?

No matter if your preference is the great outdoors or the great indoors, there is plenty to do and see in Marathon.

If you want to feed your mind, check out the Museum of Natural History and the Florida Keys Children’s Museum, both of which are open year around.

Fishing is truly out of this world in Marathon. You aren't all that far from the Gulf Stream, which holds mighty fish in its grasp. And for those who love fishing but prefer to stick closer to land, there are patch reefs and also the backcountry. You can always thorw a line out from land or a bridge when the spirit moves.

I mentioned chartering a boat -- don't forget that there are sunset cruises and such out of Marathon! It's not just fishing.

Marathong, Florida Coral ReefIf you snorkel or scuba diver, you'll find plenty of tours to tickle your fancy. Some of the places you can look forward to include:

  • Adelaide Baker: A shipwreck featuring a pair of huge stacks in just 25 feet of water.

  • Coffin's Patch: A group of six patch reefs, each with it's own "flavor". Snorkelers will enjoy the elkhorn forests found throughout the reef in less than 20 feet of water.

  • Delta Shoals: A network of coral canyons spreads to the sea from a sandy shoal. Diving and snorkeling are great, with brain, elkhorn and star coral heads.

  • Sombrero Reef: This favorite Marathon dive location is marked by a 140-foot lighted tower. Coral canyons provide a wonder ground of fish and other sealife.

  • The Thunderbolt: This good-sized (188 foot) ship was not an accident. Instead, the Thunderbolt was intentionally sunk to serve as a dive attraction. The ship now sits perfectly upright in 115 feet of water. A great spot to add to your dive portfolio!

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