Why We Love Marathon Key, Florida

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View of the beach in Marathon Key Florida

When you think of the Florida Keys, you might immediately picture white sands, turquoise waters, snorkeling gear, and coral reefs.

But you don’t have to drive all the way to Key West to enjoy the activities and amenities of the Keys. We want to share our love of Marathon Key, Florida, because it’s less crowded but still has plenty to do. 

Let’s dive in and talk more about this Florida Keys destination!

Where Is Marathon Key, Florida?

Marathon Key, Florida, is about halfway between Key Largo in the Upper Keys and Key West in the Lower Keys. Like all of the cities and towns of the Florida Keys, Marathon sits along the Overseas Highway/Highway 1. 

About 13 islands comprise this part of the Florida Keys, which has over 1,700 within the archipelago. 

How Do You Get to Marathon Key, Florida?

From Homestead, Florida, you’ll take Highway 1 straight to Marathon Key. It lies less than 80 miles from this southern Florida city. You’ll pass through Key Largo and Islamorada before you reach Marathon.

Coming from Key West, you take the same highway — the only road that connects the Keys — for about 50 miles north. You pass through Sugarloaf Key and Big Pine Key before reaching Marathon Key.

This route takes you over the famous Seven Mile Bridge that connects Little Duck Key in the Lower Keys to Knight’s Key, which is part of Marathon. 

5 Reasons We Love Marathon Key, Florida

Often when people visit the Florida Keys, they head straight south for Key West or stay in the popular fishing town of Islamorada. But we love Marathon Key, Florida.

It’s in a great location to explore the rest of the Keys and offers plenty to do. So here are our top 5 reasons we love Marathon.

1. Only an Hour From Key West

It’s an easy drive over the Seven Mile Bridge and through the Lower Keys to get to Key West. We can still visit this popular destination but don’t have to stay in the thick of the crowds.

Traffic can get congested in Key West. You can wait a long time for a seat at a restaurant and walk shoulder-to-shoulder in the streets.

Marathon Key, Florida, allowed us to avoid dealing with traffic and crowds during our entire stay. But it gave us easy access when we wanted to venture into Key West for a snorkeling tour or selfie at the “Southernmost Point in the Continental U.S.A” buoy.

View of a beach in Marathon Key Florida

2. Great Restaurants the Locals Love

We found that if you stay off the main highway and head into the marinas, you’ll find the locals and the places they love to eat. Marathon Key, Florida, has some great local flavor. 

We went to Burdines Waterfront and Dockside Boot Key Harbor. It was delicious! By dining this way, you stay away from the tourist crowds and really get the best dining options on the island.

Keep in Mind: Are the Florida National Parks Worth Visiting? Click the link to find out!

3. Still Has Major Amenities

Even though Marathon Key isn’t Key West, it still has plenty of amenities. Bigger stores like Publix and Home Depot are easily accessible. 

In fact, we needed something from Home Depot to repair our RV, and we found it easy to get in and out without having to drive very far. But Marathon still has a small-town feel, which we prefer.

4. Dog-Friendly Beaches

Sombrero Beach and Coco Plum Beach are two great options for pet owners to enjoy a day at the beach with their pups. We also found they weren’t overwhelmed with tourists. 

Sombrero Beach also has a picnic pavilion, a playground, a volleyball court, restrooms, and showers. Coco Plum Beach has restrooms in the parking lot, a covered picnic pavilion, and tropical palm trees to provide a break from the sun.

A boat parked on the beach in Marathon Florida

5. Has Plenty to Do

Even though Marathon Key, Florida, has a small-town feel, it has so many things to do. We loved all of the options for shopping, dining, and exploring. 

If you enjoy wildlife, you’ll love visiting the Turtle Hospital, Crane Point Museum and Nature Center, and the Dolphin Research Center.

Marathon also features Curry Hammock State Park and the Old Seven Mile Bridge. This bridge is open to pedestrians and bicyclists and recently underwent a $44 million restoration project.

Keep in Mind: Florida is one of the most popular states to RV in! But before you start planning your next camping trip, here’s what they don’t tell you about camping in Florida!

When Is the Best Time to Visit Marathon Key, Florida?

The Florida Keys experience hot and humid summers. It’s a tropical environment in a hurricane-prone area from early summer to late fall. So if you can avoid visiting Marathon Key during this time, you’ll find more enjoyable weather during the winter and spring.

However, if you visit in winter or spring, you’ll encounter more crowds since snowbirds tend to stay in the Keys from December to March. 

March and April are usually the best times to visit because the snowbirds start leaving, and the weather remains a pleasant 80 to 85 degrees during the day.

The Welcome to Marathon Florida sign

Is Marathon Key, Florida, Worth a Visit?

We love Marathon Key, Florida. It’s a great destination for travelers who want to experience the Keys without the huge crowds of Key West.

You can enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, sunbathing, boating, and other activities in this area to keep you busy. 

Or you can put out a towel and relax with a beverage and a book if you want to remain low-key. No matter what you want, Marathon Key is a beautiful location with all the amenities you’ll need for an enjoyable and comfortable vacation!

Have you been to the Florida Keys?

1 comment
  1. I was born in marathon at fisherman’s hospital. Born and raised there. It was so different when I was growing up. A true paradise. But it is wonderful now. So much to do. And the locals are wonderful. I’m related to quite a few of them.

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