Tucked away in the heart of the Florida Keys, the quaint city of Marathon spans just over 9 square miles, but still manages to pack lots of opportunities for adventure. Marathon enjoys a tropical climate with only two seasons: hot and wet from May through October, and warm and dry from November to April. Settle into your Marathon vacation rental, then check out these top attractions for an unforgettable time in the Keys.
1. Visit the Animals at the Turtle Hospital
Thrill the animal lovers in your group with a trip to The Turtle Hospital, one of Marathon’s most popular attractions. Start your visit with a 30-minute presentation and video to learn about the injured sea turtles at the rescue and rehabilitation hospital, then spend an hour at the tanks meeting the turtles. Be sure to check out the souvenir shop before you leave. The Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key lets you get up close and personal with dolphins and sea lions, while Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters gives you the chance to swim with the tropical fish and rays.
2. Explore Nature at Curry Hammock State Park
To truly appreciate the beauty of Marathon, be sure to leave your vacation rental early for a day at Sombrero Beach. Pack some sandwiches to snack on as you watch the incredible sunset views from the beach’s picnic tables. The public beach is free with lots of parking, and you might even spot some manatees swimming by the coral. Curry Hammock State Park offers plenty of gorgeous hiking trails. See how many iguanas you can spot during your trek, but don’t worry, they’re harmless. Be sure to visit the friendly and knowledgeable staff at the Marathon Garden Club. Take your time to wander the garden and enjoy the beautiful blooms.
3. Take a Tour with AquaVentures Eco Tours
When you want to head out with a guide to explore the waters around Marathon, book with AquaVentures Eco Tours. Beginners can book a one-hour kayak tour, while more experienced paddlers can opt for the three-hour trip. Groups of six or more are guaranteed private tours. Explore the mangroves, and see the manatees up close. To sit back and relax during your tour of the open waters, take a sunset cruise with Sailing Catamaran Sirius. You can’t beat the stunning view of the sun setting behind the Seven Mile Bridge. For a bird’s eye view of the Keys, take a tour with Old City Helicopters. Ask your pilot to fly over the historic Sombrero Reef Lighthouse.
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4. Relax at Island Yoga
Clear your mind with a session at Island Yoga. The staff caters to all skill levels, and they have mats, blocks, and straps to borrow. Drop in for a morning session at Sombrero Beach, or purchase a package. Paddleboard yoga classes offer a fun twist. Yoga on the Sea opens classes to all ages. Drop by the Duc Key studio for a class that overlooks the water, or sign up for a catamaran yoga session. Relax your mind, renew your body, and revive your soul with a deep tissue massage with Keys Massage Therapy. Bring your partner along for a couple’s massage to share the experience.
5. Stop by Crane Point Museum & Nature Center
Crane Point Museum & Nature Center has its home on the site of an old Indian Village. Learn about the history of the Keys, walk the nature trails, take a golf cart tour, and visit the butterfly garden. Little ones love the children’s museum. The EAA Air Museum is another fun stop for families. See some restored planes, learn about the air history of the Keys, and read old newspaper clippings. The museum is free, but the friendly volunteers welcome donations.
6. Eat Local
Don’t lift a finger preparing meals at your vacation rental. Instead, sit back, relax, and enjoy eating out at one of Marathon’s local restaurants. Brutus Seafood Market & Eatery is the place to go for shrimp, and the conch chowder makes an excellent lunch option. For fine dining, try Butterfly Cafe. Think blackened Mahi Mahi for dinner, and be sure to have the key lime pie for dessert. Be sure to make reservations to avoid a long wait. For a quick Cuban sandwich on your way to the beach, stop by La Nina Market. If you have a hankering for authentic Mexican, try the chicken fajitas at El Molcajete.
7. Go Fishing with Florida Keys Reel Adventures
Fishing is a favorite pastime in Marathon, so your options for fishing tours are endless. Captain Jeff of Catch ‘Em All is great with kids, so take the whole family on a fishing charter to reel in grouper and redfish. Book with Captain Kevin of Florida Keys Reel Adventures for spearfishing or reef fishing from the 25-foot catamaran. Catch mahi, tuna, and mackerel during your offshore adventure with Island Lure Charters, then enjoy a seafood feast at your vacation rental. Sea Dog Fishing Charters specializes in private and customized family fishing trips in the Florida Keys. If you need any gear for your fishing excursion, drop by The Tackle Box before setting sail.
8. Shop Local
Whether you’re shopping for souvenirs or beachwear, you can find what you’re looking for in Marathon. For everything from sunglasses to flip-flops, stop by The Angler’s Closet. Pick up T-shirts or Christmas ornaments at Marathon’s Tropical Island Outlet to commemorate your trip to the Keys. Browse the local art at Shady Palm Art Gallery & Photography, or shop women’s clothing, cosmetics, and accessories at Christina’s Boutique. Hawks Cay Marina Dockside Store is your place to go for basic necessities, and the fresh-brewed Starbucks Coffee is a bonus.
9. Explore with Spirit Snorkeling
When you hear the water calling, answer with a snorkel trip. Spirit Snorkeling lets you explore Sombrero Reef or Pirate’s Cove. See tropical fish, coral reefs, seahorses, and more. Real adrenaline junkies get their thrills at Keys Cable. This watersports cable park boasts two two-tower cable systems so you can wakeboard, kiteboard, wakeskate, waterski, or stand-up paddleboard to your heart’s content. TIlden’s Scuba Center is your go-to for SCUBA and SNUBA adventures. The patient instructors are great with kids and beginners. To explore the Keys on your own, rent kayaks, paddleboards, and sea sleds from Wheels-2-Go. Check out weekly rental rates, and store the gear in your vacation rental garage when you’re not using it.
10. Catch a Show with the Florida Keys Concert Association
If you’re looking for some sit-down entertainment during your trip, Marathon presents a few choices. Music fans can check the Florida Keys Concert Association’s schedule. The group often books jazz, classical, and big band performances. To take in a movie during your trip, visit Marathon Cinema. Don’t let the small size and outdated appearance fool you. This place has a great sound system, and the concession stand sells candy for the kids and beer for the adults. In addition to seats, small tables give you a place to put your drinks and snacks. Popular movies sell out quickly at times, so show up early to score your tickets.
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