Yes! Marathon Key, Florida is Worth the Visit
Is Marathon Key nice, you ask? Yes! Marathon is the place to be — definitely worth the visit. For my travel buddy Joella and me, it was a delightful reprieve after high prices and sunburnt crowds in Key West. Plus, there was that demoralizing stay on a boat in Key West right beforehand, but things improved significantly upon arrival in Marathon.
I had low expectations of Marathon, which I'm sure helped. We'd driven through there, the harrowing day of SW Florida Tornadoes, and didn't notice much from the highway. That's the one major downfall of Marathon, and probably plagues the rest of the Keys too. The highway is a lifeblood beaming with tourist traffic, but it also is a dangerous gash through the island. It makes traveling by foot or pedaling less than ideal.
If you're thinking of staying in Marathon, know that it is different than Key West's pedestrian-friendly vibe. In Key West, they didn't build roads big enough for your SUV, so don't anticipate there will be a parking spot for you either.
Watch Our Marathon Key Video:
Favorite Parts of Marathon Key
Here are our favorite destinations in Marathon Key:
- We jogged with a local biologist and Joella's friend on "Old Seven," a pedestrian-only bridge that spans 2.2 miles out to Pigeon Key. The views and whole experience were wonderful! Plus it is a free thing to do in Marathon Key.
- We had better accommodations than that stinky boat in Key West — Joella booked this one (go figure): a colorful, historic cabin at Tropical Cottages that had an efficient kitchen, comfy beds and an adequate bathroom. It also had a tiki bar, outdoor patio and a delicious Mexican food truck on-site. Oh, and it had a metal roof, and it poured rain that night. I awoke with a start, and thought we were being attacked— the rain on the roof was so noisy— but I was lulled back to sleep shortly.
- The Sea Turtle Hospital. You may have gathered this from the video, but I highly recommend taking the tour, buying the souvenirs and supporting the Sea Turtle Hospital. The guide was super knowledgable and captivating. She showed us around all the tanks and we even spotted an iguana on the rocks there.
- The tropical spritzers at Food For Thought. This Marathon hidden gem is located in a strip-mall near Crane Point Hammock. Pass on the non-perishables and head straight for the spritzer and smoothie counter in the back. Relax with bubbles on the palm leaf upholstery? Don't mind if I do.
Next time: Things to do in Marathon, FL
Here's what's on our Marathon adventure list for next time:
- We really wanted to check out Crane Point Hammock, but used all our fun money on the ferret boat and the Sea Turtle hospital. Next time, I'm saving up and going in for a walk on the trails. For the record, it isn't all that expensive, at roughly $15 per adult, but those spritzers don't pay for themselves.
- Joella's jogging buddy and biologist recommended Sombrero Beach, but we didn't make it there. Promises of panthers were calling us to the Everglades.
- Putting the paddle boards in the water! I walked to the bay, just beyond our cottages the last morning and the water was placid. It was breathtaking. Next time, we're budgeting time to get in the water, geez.
Marathon Key, Florida is Worth a Second Visit, too.
Joella, with Açaí bowl, and me, in floppy hat, pausing in front of "Red Nun" outside Crane Point Hammock in Marathon. We stumbled upon this large, red triangular structure, but shoulda known there's a whole Florida Keys Sculpture Trail. Add that to the Key's list for next time!