Are you planning a trip to the Florida Keys and wondering if “Is Marathon Key Worth Visting or not?”, then here’s an honest take on the pros and cons of visiting Marathon Key for a vacation.
If you’re looking for a laid-back Keys town with less tourist traffic than Key West, Marathon may be worth a visit. Located about halfway down the chain of islands, Marathon is home to beautiful beaches, kayaking and fishing opportunities, and a few small resorts.
With its convenient location on the Overseas Highway (U.S. 1), it’s also a great place to stop for lunch or spend the night on your way to or from Key West.
Is Marathon Key Worth Visiting?
Although the Florida Keys are best known for their spectacular rich wild and marine life, coral reefs, and fascinating history, there is no dearth of laid-back beaches that exude the old Florida charm.
The Sombrero Beach is one such beach in the Marathon Key known for its soft white sand, turquoise blue waters, swaying palm trees, wildlife, and beautiful scenery whose beauty is untouched by commercialization.
If you are looking for a beach with spectacular natural beauty and tranquil settings and plenty of things to do for you and your family, then Sombrero Beach is a must-experience place in Marathon Key.
The beach is not too big and not too narrow with calm and consistent waves that are good for surfing as well as swimming for people of all ages. The beach is lined with plenty of shops, restaurants, and cafes where you can grab a bite of delicious seafood or buy yourself a souvenir.
There are plenty of umbrellas and chairs on the beach with a playground for kids which makes it a beach haven for great family time.
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Crane Point Museum, Nature Center, and Historic Site
Your visit to the Marathon Keys would be incomplete without visiting the unique Crane Point Museum.
One of the main attractions on the Key, the museum spans over 63 acres and is home to some of Florida’s fascinating maritime history and a variety of plant and animal species.
The many popular maritime exhibits include the shipwreck exhibit which features a model of a shipwreck and tells the story of how the shipwreck happened. Another popular exhibit includes the model of a lighthouse and offers an engaging presentation of how lighthouses were used in the olden days to guide ships out in the ocean.
Talking about the diverse nature that is part of the museum, there are several natural habitats including a mangrove forest, a hardwood hammock, and a coastal prairie.
Apart from a lot of things to see, there are also a lot of fun things to do like canoeing, kayaking, birdwatching, and picnicking on the beautiful grounds with a spectacular view of the surroundings.
The Turtle Hospital
Have you ever heard of or seen a turtle hospital dedicated solely to the purpose of rehabilitating and releasing injured sea turtles? I am sure most of you have only known about it now and Marathon Key is the only place in the world for such a unique hospital in the world.
The hospital which was founded in 1985, has treated over 2,000 turtles since then. The hospital has a staff of veterinarians and volunteers who work tirelessly to save these beautiful creatures.
With a state-of-the-art surgery center, an intensive care unit, and a rehabilitation pond where turtles can recover before they are released into the wild, the Turtle Hospital is a boon towards conserving the rapidly depleting local turtle species in the Keys.
The best part about visiting this unique hospital is that they also offer educational programs for visitors, to educate them about the importance of protecting these amazing creatures and the severe impact of human activities on their natural habitat.
If you love fishing then Marathon Key is the best place to do so. Marathon’s Key proximity to the deeper waters of the Gulf coast is teeming with abundant marine life making sure you have enough opportunities to catch a salmon or a barracuda.
If you’re looking for some of the best fishing in Marathon Key, you’ll want to head to Sombrero Reef. Located just off the coast of Key West, this natural coral reef is teeming with fish of all shapes and sizes.
Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a first-time fisherman, you’re sure to have a successful day on the water. And when you’re ready to head back to shore, you can enjoy a delicious seafood dinner at one of the many restaurants in Marathon Key.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your rod and reel and head out to Sombrero Reef for an unforgettable day of fishing.
Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and it’s no wonder that it’s a popular state park in Marathon Key and a must-visit attraction.
The park is home to some of the most beautiful and unspoiled white sand beaches with diverse wildlife, coral reef, and nature trails.
Its remote location far away from any civilization makes it a great escape for relaxing and stargazing at night and also offers a lot of things to enjoy for outdoor enthusiasts.
The beautiful coral reef and the calm waves make it a great place to enjoy snorkeling and swimming for people of all ages.
The park also features several picnic areas and playgrounds for families with kids and if you want to spend a lovely night in the midst of nature, then there are also enjoy camping on one of the campgrounds of the park.
Curry Hammock State Park
The Curry Hammock State Park is one of the few remaining unspoiled and non-commercialized habitats in the world.
The non-commercialized settings with the unspoiled beauty of immaculate beaches, crystal blue waters, lush-green landscapes, and rich wildlife transport you into a totally different realm altogether.
The park comprises a series of small islands each with its unique ecosystem including mangrove forests, hardwood hammocks, and salt marshes.
Kayak through the beautiful mangrove forest out into the waters of the Gulf spotting manatees, pelicans, Dolphins, and other animal and bird species along the way.
The Park also features a family-friendly area where you enjoy swimming, sunbathing, building a sandcastle, or just relaxing soaking in the sun on the beach.
Marathon Air Museum
Looking for something unique and fun thing to learn on the Marathon Key? Then head to the Marathon Air Museum to learn about the fascinating aviation history of the Florida Keys.
The museum features a variety of exhibits on the history of air travel in the Keys, from the Wright brothers to the Space Race.
The fascinating exhibits and interactive programs educate you on the challenges faced by the early pilots during their flight times and of landing on the islands when many of the modern landing equipment were still not developed.
Apart from educational exhibits on aviation history the museum also features a number of vintage aircraft on display, including a WW2-era seaplane.
In addition to the exhibits, the museum also offers a number of educational programs and hosts a number of events throughout the year to educate visitors about the history and legacy of aviation in the Keys.
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A few Cons of visiting the Marathon Key
The first thing to know about visiting Marathon Key is that accommodations can be expensive. Hotels on the island tend to charge premium rates due to their location and amenities and also due to the limited number of hotels on the island.
If you’re traveling on a budget, you may want to look for more affordable options elsewhere in the Keys or even further away from the coast.
Limited Dining Options
Another thing to consider while visiting the Marathon Key is the limited availability of restaurants on the island.
Being a small island compared to Key West, there are only limited dining options you can choose from. Although they serve a variety of cuisines, the options are still limited and way more pricey than what you would find in a more commercialized area and might not suit your dietary needs.
If you are visiting Marathon Key and you are quite particular about your dietary needs, then make sure to carry your own food.
Finally, another con of visiting Marathon Key is that it can get quite crowded with tourists during peak season (from mid-December through April).
This means that beaches will be packed and it will be hard to find parking spots, a quiet spot on the beach, or get reservations at popular restaurants.
So if you’re looking for a more tranquil experience, then this may not be the best time to visit Marathon Key.
Limited Entertainment Options
Despite its beauty, Marathon Key is relatively low on entertainment options when compared to other islands in Florida.
There are only a few restaurants and bars located on the island itself, so if you’re looking for nightlife or other attractions, you may have better luck elsewhere.