Welcome to Marathon

Marathon is a city that comprises 13 islands in the centre of the Keys island chain. Known for its incredible wildlife and stunning natural sights, the area boasts beaches and barrier reefs aplenty, as well as a rich fishing heritage, tropical forest and a mangrove creek. But away from the 10-miles of sandy shoreline, there are also plenty of cultural and historical attractions, quality seafood restaurants and beachside inns where you can experience an authentic taste of the Old-Keys.

History

Crane Point Museum, Nature Center & Historic Site

At Crane Point Museum, visitors can take a walk back through time by hiking through a wondrously preserved tropical hardwood grove. You can also visit the home of early 20th century settlers George and Olivia Adderley, who sailed from the Bahamas to the Keys in 1890. This is the oldest house in the Keys outside Key West.    

Pigeon Key Island

Pigeon Key is a tiny island that played a big part in the Florida Keys we see today. The five-acre island boasts eight buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The island served as a base for railroad workers erecting the Old Seven-Mile Bridge and today houses education centres as well as a railroad museum that contains a number of historic artefacts.

CULTURE, ARTS & CRAFTS

Seven Mile Bridge

Located at the very west end of the City of Marathon is the Seven Mile Bridge, a famous bridge that connects the Middle and Lower Keys. It was one of the longest bridges in existence when it was built in the early 1900s. It’s now a fantastic place to walk, run or cycle, particularly as the sun sets over the Keys.  

Art galleries and the community theater

There are a number of art galleries in the City of Marathon that showcase the work of local artists. The most noteworthy include Last Resort Art Collective, Kennedy Studios and Bougainvillea House Gallery. There’s also a local ceramics studio and community theater where you can watch local thespians in action.  

BEACHES, SURFING, PARKS & RIVER CRUISES

Curry Hammock State Park

The shallow, protected waters of Curry Hammock State Park are the perfect place to kayak and paddleboard, with miles of pristine coastline to explore. There are also large areas of mangrove swamp, seagrass beds and rockland hammocks. When the wind gets up the area transforms into a Mecca for windsurfers and kite surfers.

Sombrero Beach

This very small but incredibly beautiful beach in Marathon is one of the best anywhere on the Keys. You can sit and watch the manatees swim past the nearby reef while enjoying a sunset that’s impossible to beat.

Bahia Honda State Park

Bahia Honda was recently named the 2nd most beautiful beach in North America. The state park actually has two sandy beaches, as well as a marina, dive shop, cabins and campsites – everything you need to enjoy your stay in paradise. Daily snorkel trips to Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary allow you to observe the beautiful reefs of the Florida Keys.   

Long Key State Park

This 965-acre Florida State Park, which was once home to a luxury resort, now offers canoeing, bonefishing and hiking opportunities. The park is probably best known for its Golden Orb Trail, although there are also other popular nature trails you can enjoy.  

HEALTH, WELLNESS & SPA TOURISM

There are a number of opportunities for complete rest and relaxation in Marathon, with nearby spas including the Salon Blanco Spa, the Bambuddha Massage and Life Spa and Tranquility Bay Beach House Resort.

ECOTOURISM, WILDLIFE & THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters

The wonderful Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters in Marathon features a coral reef exhibit and predatory fish habitat that’s housed in the 200,000-gallon saltwater aquarium. As well as seeing the animals, visitors can get up close and personal by touching and feeding the resident reef fish, invertebrates, stingrays and even sharks!

Dolphin Research Center

This expansive area with more than 90,000 sq. ft of saltwater lagoons is the home to a family of dolphins and sea lions. Visitors can learn all about and even swim with these amazing animals.

The Turtle Hospital

The Turtle Hospital is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the rehabilitation of injured sea turtles. 90-minute tours are educational, fun and offered on the hour from 9am to 4pm.

Marathon Wild Bird Center

One of Marathon’s best-kept secrets is the Wild Bird Center, inside Crane Point, which rescues, rehabilitates and releases both migratory and resident wild birds when they become injured or sick. You can get up close to many bird varieties and then walk on past the Old Crane House to the point for a breathtaking view of Florida Bay.   

sport

Visitors to Marathon looking for a quick round of golf can play on the 9-hole, par 3 course at the Key Colony Beach Golf and Tennis Facility. Golf enthusiasts who want a more serious game can take a trip to the 18-hole Florida Keys Country Club, a Mark Mahannah-designed course which spans 139 acres of lush, lagoon-linked tropical land.

Dining

As you would expect from this ocean-side location, there are some fantastic seafood restaurants in the area, with everything from high-end seafood grills to ultra-fresh sushi spots and raw bars. You’ll find plenty of Key lime pie on offer throughout the Keys and a number of restaurants offering food from around the world, with a French bistro, Cuban café and Mexican restaurant just a few of the options available.

Shopping

You might feel like you’re lost in paradise, but don’t worry, there are still plenty of places to shop. The Middle Keys are home to lots of independent stores that have just about everything you’ll need, from tackle and gift shops all the way to fine jewellery. You can also browse racks of designer clothing or visit one of the large gift shops to find a few souvenirs for family and friends.     

Hotels

Hawks Cay Resort

Located on the beautiful Island of Duck Key is the premier island resort and marina of Hawks Cay. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, you wouldn’t expect it to be short of water-based activities, and with five swimming pools on site, a private saltwater lagoon and diving, kayaking, parasailing, kite-boarding, fishing and the renowned Dolphin Connection programme, it certainly doesn’t disappoint.

The villas, guest rooms and suites on this Caribbean-style resort provide all the upscale amenities families and couples need. With four restaurants on site that harvest fresh fish, lobster and crab claws from the local waters, guests don’t have to go far to enjoy a fantastic meal. There’s also a full-service spa and marina offering world-class fishing charters and overnight slips.

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