14 Best Things To Do In Marathon, Florida Keys (2022)

A lot of the other islands get all the love, but what are the best things to do in Marathon? If you haven’t even heard of this area of the Florida Keys, then you’re in luck. Let’s discover what makes this hidden gem in South Florida so great!

The city of Marathon isn’t just one island in the Florida Keys, it’s actually spread across thirteen different islands. To get across them, you have to drive across the Seven Mile Bridge, which is an adventure of its own! Most people associate vacations in the Florida Keys with beaches, and Marathon has a variety of the best in the Keys.

Marathon offers some of the best boating activities not just in the Keys, but in the entire state of Florida. You can enjoy deep-sea fishing charters, glass-bottom boat tours over coral reefs, or flats fishing. Even if you don’t want to charter your own boat, there are many tours that can take you on an adventure with little planning on your part!

When you add in the waterfront restaurants, jet-ski tours, kayaking, paddle-boarding, and diving opportunities, Marathon stops being just a place to spend “island time” in the Keys. It becomes one of the most vibrant cities in Florida you can imagine.

Let us help you plan your perfect vacation in one of the most beautiful parts of the entire state of Florida. Discover our favorite things to do in Marathon so they can become your next vacation excursions and favorite memories of the Sunshine State.

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The Turtle Hospital

If you love animals, then you’ll love the work of the small non-profit, the Sea Turtle Hospital. One of the most heart-warming things to do in the Keys, you can take guided tours to see the rehabilitation ofsea turtles in Florida!

The Sea Turtle Hospital functions as a veterinary hospital for sick and injured sea turtles. Every day, they rescue, rehab, and release sea turtles in the Florida Keys.

On what was once the Hidden Harbor Hotel, the hospital was built. The old motel rooms function as living quarters for the staff so they can take care of the turtles 24/7.

In order to see the turtles, you must take a guided educational tour of the hospital facilities and sea turtle rehabilitation area. This provides a behind-the-scenes look at just how delicate marine life can be. At the end of the tour, guests are invited to feed the permanent residents!

Each tour lasts approximately 90 minutes and runs daily on the hour, every hour from 9 AM – 4 PM. Guests are encouraged to book their reservations in advance, as the tours are very popular. Make sure to put this on your list when doing a Florida Keys Road Trip!

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Sombrero Beach

If you’re traveling with the entire family to the Florida Keys, then you’re probably looking for family-friendly beaches. Sometimes they can be hard to find. So, when you’re looking to get away from tourists, then head to Sombrero Beach, one of the best things to do in Marathon.

With soft sand and turquoise waters, the beach is mangrove-free, so expect the kids to run straight from the parking lot to the water! The only other people you’ll see here are locals on friendly weekend getaways and other savvy travelers like yourself!

Among the beach’s perks, you’ll have access to free adjacent parking! A wide, flat path will take you to the beach, along with a picnic pavilion, children’s playground, volleyball court, restrooms, and showers too! The best part? You can bring your dog, as long as they’re on a leash! Making Sombrero Beach one of the best dog beaches in Florida!

The sandy strip that makes up Sombrero Beach will be perfect for all your sunning and swimming needs. If you’re looking for low-key, hassle-free snorkeling, this is the place to do it with a gentle surf. Even better, you can fish in the shallow water during the park’s hours: 7:30 AM – dusk.

This is truly one of the Best Beaches In The Florida Keys and you must check it out!

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Crane Point Nature Area

You might think that the Florida Keys are all just beaches and coral reefs, but you would be wrong. One of the best things to do in Marathon is visit the Crane Point Nature Area. Here you’ll find over 63 acres of tropical hardwood hammock!

Part-native and part-cultivated, the Crane Point Hammock is the largest tropical hammock in the Middle Keys. It was preserved from development in 1989 by the Florida Keys Land Trust. Ironically, it was also the first part of the island of Marathon to be established!

The Crane Point Nature Area boasts two different museums. First, in the Museum of Natural History of the Florida Keys, you can walk through a replica coral reef and see a 600-year-old dugout canoe among other activities. In the Children’s Museum, your little ones will love the outdoor exhibits where they can explore the deck of a pirate ship or a Native American village.

Outdoor types will love the many different interpretive trails that wind through the dense tropical hammock. The Palm Trail, one of the best hiking trails, takes you through a Florida thatch palm hammock with strange plants like the autograph tree and joewood!

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Big Pine Key

Big Pine Key, while technically not a part of the city, is only a hop, a jump, a skip from Marathon. Bahia Honda State Park in Big Pine Key is one of themost beautiful places in the Keys. Perfect for anybody that wants a relaxing day at the beach, a visit to Big Pine Key is one of the best things to do in Marathon.

Visitors to the park experience breathtaking views of what makes Florida the Sunshine State. Palm-lined shores are lapped up by gin-clear waters. Balmy breezes will keep you warm year-round in this South Florida State Park.

Explore the world just underneath the waters of Bahia Honda on a self-guidedsnorkelingtour. Among the seagrass beds and rocky bottoms, you’ll catch a glimpse of spiny lobster, starfish, and queen conch poking their heads out to say hello.

Perhaps the most beautiful thing to do at Bahia Honda is star gaze. Once the sun sets on the turquoise waters, stars fill the night sky and the beaches become a magical wonderland. Walk theOld Bahia Honda Bridgeandgaze up at the constellations, or just lie back in a beach chair and let the majesty wash over you.

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Dolphin Research Center

For an outing that’s equally parts educational and magical, visit the Dolphin Research Center. One of the best things to do in Marathon, here you can see dolphins up close and personal in the natural lagoons of Grassey Key. Make sure to bring the kids along for this one!

The Dolphin Research Center’s mission states they promote peaceful coexistence, cooperation, and communication between marine mammals, humans, and the environment. The dolphins and sea lions come to the center as rescues or because they are unable to survive on their own in the wild.

Every half hour, you can take a visit to different lagoons to observe narrated behavior sessions. The dolphins showcase their amazing abilities in incredible ways. You might see them taking part in a research study or learning new behaviors. In between sessions, as you sit in the shaded areas, the dolphins will watch from the lagoons and try to catch your attention!

When you’re not getting up close and personal with the dolphins you can visit the sea lions or the bird aviary. The kids can run and cool down at the Sprayground while activating recordings of dolphins, manatee, and whale sounds. Then after a long day, grab a meal or some ice cream at Anchor’s Cafe!

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Marathon Marine Park

An aquarium and conservation center, a visit to the Marathon Marine Park is one of the best things to do in Marathon Key. Their mission is to teach about ocean and its majestic creatures through close, or even one-on-one interaction.

Through many aquatic exhibits, you can take a free-guided audio tour. Tours led by a Marine Biologist are still given, but in light of the circumstances, they are limited to no more than 10 people.

Marathon Marine Park also features four different touch tanks: Tide Pool, Nursery, Stingray Cove, and Giant Isopod! Here you can see and gently touch different aquatic species. Just remember to keep them underwater!

While not included in your admission, consider taking an exclusive encounter! You can get up close and personal with baby stingrays, entire coral reef ecosystems, and even big sharks! Marine biologists on site will teach you about the majestic creatures as you interact with them.

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Pigeon Key

Pigeon Key is a tiny island off of the Seven Mile Bridge, inevitable on yourroad trip from Miami to Key West. Why not bring some gear and stop off to experience the best snorkeling in Florida at Pigeon Key? Accessible only from the city, Pigeon Key is one of the best things to do in Marathon!

Because most of the area is privately owned and visitors are not welcome, snorkeling in Pigeon Key is operated by the Pigeon Key Foundation and Marine Science Center. Admission is $12 for adults and $9 for kids 5-13.

Once you get there, you’ll be taken to Pigeon Key from Marathon by speedboat. A tour will take you through 11 historic buildings, which housed Henry Flagler’s workers who built the Seven Mile Bridge.

Now you’re free to hit the water! We recommend trying the area just off the dock, near the beach, and around the opening of Pigeon Key’s saltwater pool. Be careful, the currents around the island might be swift.

Keep in mind, snorkeling gear is not provided. You must bring your own dive flag as well! If you plan on snorkeling, you must fill out a snorkel liability release form, available at the Visitor Center.

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Grab a Slice of Key Lime Pie

There’s nothing that screams “Florida Keys” than setting your watch to “island time” and indulging at some of the best restaurants in the Florida Keys. While the lime trees are most prominent in Key West, they make their way up to Marathon to be turned into a Florida Keys delicacy.

Just imagine spending the day soaking up the sun while floating in the ocean and then having the most amazing slice of chilled Key Lime Pie! Sounds fantastic, right? Key Lime Pie always seems to hit the spot because it is light, refreshing, and the perfect balance between sweet and tart.

For the best Key Lime Pie in Marathon, you’re going to want to check out Sweet Savannah’s Bakery of the Florida Keys! A quaint shop that sells plenty of other sweets and some of the best salt scrubs around, Sweet Savannah’s won’t let you down. We recommend taking home an entire pie!

For a variation on the classic, check out the Keys Fishery. A chill spot for conch fritters and other Keys specialties, here you can try Key Lime Pie with a twist. The Keys Fishery serves up a delectable Raspberry Key Lime Pie that is just as refreshing as the original and totally out of this world!

Don’t forget to check out some of the best restaurants in Marathon Key!

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Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail

Sure, you can drive the Seven Mile Bridge on aroad trip, but there’s a different way to experience the Florida Keys. One of the best things to do in the Keys is to take it all in from the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail.

Many existing pathways and bridges from the remains of Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway make up the trail. Currently, it features 90 linear miles of transportation corridor, soon to be 106 miles in total spanning from Key West to Key Largo.

The inspiration for the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail parallels Highway 1 in California. The FKOHT today aspires to be a National Scenic Highway and All-American Road.

Pedestrian and bicycle-friendly, here you can go hiking, running, bicycling, skating, sightseeing, fishing, and paddling. Always check the weather and fishing pier closures before heading out. Conditions on the bridges may be treacherous.

From the trail, you can access many points of interest likeEverglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and more! You also have access to 10Florida State Parksas well asprivate campsites.

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Take a Sunset Sail

The absolute best way to enjoy the beauty of the Florida Keys is to take a sunset sail. We truly recommend the Marathon Mermaid Sunset Sail for a a full experience complete with adventure, relaxation, and beautiful sights! It’s one of the best things to do in Marathon!

If you think that sunsets in the Keys are beautiful on the islands themselves, then you haven’t seen them the way they’re supposed to be seen: on the water! With the sun glittering and throwing orange and pink lights on the waves around you, you can’t help but feel at peace. While you sail, you’ll enjoy champagne and music while seeing sights like the iconic 7 Mile Bridge.

If you want a little more adventure, then join the Mermaid Marathon on a snorkel reef adventure! You can head to Sombrero Key Light Reef, a perfect destination for snorkeling! A beautiful ecosystem, the reef is fully protected so you can experience its natural beauty. Look only though, don’t touch! When you get back on the boat, you’ll be treated to fresh fruits and vegetables!

If you’re looking for a little more relaxation, then book the Sandbar Experience. First, you’ll cruise around Marathon seeing local points of interest. Then you’ll head to a divine, shallow sandbar where you can sunbathe, splash and relax to your heart’s content.

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Curry Hammock State Park

Curry Hammock State Park protects mangrove swamps, Rockland hammocks, and seagrass beds that are essential to the Florida Keys ecosystem.

Rent a kayak or paddle board and take your choice between two trails on Little Crawl Key. You’ll paddle your way through a mangrove tunnel, deep lagoons, sandbars, and open ocean. If you look closely on the water’s bottom, you’ll see starfish, horseshoe crabs, and upside down jellyfish!

Perhaps the most exciting thing to do is kite boarding! Secure yourself to a board on the water, and let a kite pull you across the turquoise waters of the bay! If that’s a little too scary, there are always groups of kite boarders on the water. It is just as exciting to sit and watch from a safe distance!

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Marathon Air Museum

If you’re an aviation buff, or just simply like airplanes, then you need to pay the Marathon Air Museum a visit! Run by a group of aviation enthusiasts, aircraft builders, and pilots, the air grounds and adjacent museum are a perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in a new hobby!

Whether you fly, build, restore, or just like aviation, the Museum offers a lot of activities and social meetings each month for enthusiasts. While serving the aviation community, people share ideas, exchange information, encourage safety, and above all, have fun!

Inside the albeit small museum, you will find a lot of unique aviation memorabilia. There are four planes on display, each with a rich and exciting story to her time in the skies. You can also see two different engines, vintage from World War II and from the F-100!

The Air Museum also owns an FAA-approved IFR flight simulator. The Elite Flyers Program earns you 12 hours of simulation time for $300. While it is not as much fun as flying a real plane, it costs a lot less. And if you want to learn how to use the simulator or actually fly, you can join the Flight School upstairs in the hanger!

Go Snorkeling

Florida is the only place in the continental United States with a subtropical climate. Because of this, you can snorkel here all year long!Trick is, you have to go down south in the winter months. That’s why snorkeling is one of the best things to do in Marathon!

One of our favorite snorkeling destinations is Pigeon Key, a small island underneath the 7 Mile Bridge. The thing is, it’s only accessible from Marathon! Because most of the area is privately owned and visitors are not welcome, snorkeling in Pigeon Key is operated by the Pigeon Key Foundation and Marine Science Center.

Once you arrive from Marathon by speedboat, a tour will take you through 11 historic buildings, all owned by Henry Flagler. Now you’re free to hit the water! We recommend trying the area just off the dock, near the beach, and around the opening of Pigeon Key’s saltwater pool. Be careful, the currents around the island might be swift.

Keep in mind, snorkeling gear is not provided. You must bring your own dive flag as well! If you plan on snorkeling, you must fill out a snorkel liability release form, available at the Visitor Center.

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Take a Fishing Tour

TheFishing Charter With Experienced Captainis a perfect opportunity for anyone wanting a stress-free fishing experience. You won’t have to worry about finding the best fishing locations, navigating the waters, or having your own gear!

The Fishing Charter takes you out about 18 miles offshore on a 50′ boat. The captain has over 30 years of local experience which provides you with the best chances of making a big catch! The charter is approximately 4 hours in length, accommodates up to 6 anglers, and includes bottled water.

The fishing charter is one of the Key West tours that fall into the luxury price range but is justified by the captain’s experience and safety-first mindset. You should definitely check this one out if you want the ultimate fishing trip and one of the best tours in the Florida Keys!

If you love Marathon, make sure to check out some of our other favorite things to do in the Middle Keys!

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