Marathon is located about two hours south of Miami and only accessed by driving South along US1, the Overseas Highway. There are several shuttles or private car services that can take you to your doorstep destination such as the Keys Shuttle. The town can be accessed by water, of course, and several marinas are available.
By planeThe local airport supports general aviation with a 5000' runway. Unfortunately, there is no scheduled air service to Marathon.
There is a seaplane base on Marathon Key. Travelers who fly commercially will typically fly into Fort Lauderdale or Miami, and drive the rest of the distance (2-3 hours depending on traffic) to Marathon. Key West airport is also an option and is only one hour South down US 1.
By boatBoaters can reach Marathon on the Atlantic side of the Keys or Florida Bay on the Gulf of Mexico side. Specially-marked Intracoastal Waterway takes you as far as Long Key. Numerous marinas are waiting, but make reservations ahead.
- Marathon Marina, +1 305-743-5367, 1021 11 St.
- Pancho Fuel Dock and Supplies, 1+ 305-743-2281, 1280 Oceanview Ave.
- Shelter Bay Marina, 1+ 305-743-7008, 77 Coco Plum Dr.
- Sombrero Marina, +1 305-743-0000, 35 Sombrero Blvd.
- Boot Key Harbor City Marina, +1 305-289-8877, 35th Street, Oceanside
- Captain Pip's Marina, +1 305-743-4403, 1410 Overseas Highway
- Hawk's Cay Marina, +1 305-743-7000, MM 61 Duck Key
- Key Colony Beach Marina, +1 305-289-1310, Key Colony Beach.
- Greyhound Lines +1-800-231-2222 or +1 305-296-9072 Service along the route between Miami Int. Airport and the Florida Keys.
phone: +1 305 289-9997Door-to-door service between the Keys and Miami/Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood Int. Airports.
- TransFloridian +1-877-246-4786 Luxury motorcoach service, door-to-door shuttle service, betweeen Miami Int. and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Int. Airports and the Florida Keys.
When driving near the southwest end of the Key, be aware that once you pass Knights Key Blvd, you begin crossing the Seven Mile Bridge, and there is no place to turn around for about 7 miles. Missing your turn can therefore mean a 14-mile detour!
phone: +1 305-743-9100address: 5550 Overseas HighwayHere you can learn about the native key inhabitants as well as native animals. There is also a simulated coral reef cave that everyone will be able to enjoy. Children of all ages can enjoy a touch-me-tank that houses different aquatic life.
phone: +1 305 289-0002address: 58901 Overseas HighwayLearn about dolphins in a natural environment. There are many programs offered here to get participants encounter dolphins on a one on one basis or in a group setting. If you want to go to the research center for a tour, you can just show up, but if you want to participate in an interactive program, booking should be done in advance.
phone: +1 305-743-5999address: 1 Knights Key Boulevard (ferry departure point)A historic district on the National Register of Historic Places. This was the site of one of the work camps in the early 1900s used during the construction of Henry Flagler's Overseas Railway. Many of the original buildings still stand. Get a unique closeup view of the old Railway, which was converted to a highway in 1938, then closed in the 1980s after US 1 was rerouted.
Seven Mile BridgePart of the Overseas Highway, just south of Marathon, it is one of the longest segmental bridges in the world and spans the shallow channel between Key Vaca and Little Duck Key. The area around the bridge is one of the most popular Tarpon fishing areas in the United States. Portions of the old rail/road bridge are open to the public to allow fishing.
phone: +1 305-743-2552address: 2396 Overseas HighwayThis attraction provides educational tours through the facility letting each of its participants learn about the life of turtles in Florida. Reservations recommended, but if you don't have one, don't let it stop you turning up at tour time. There is usually room for one or two more on a tour.
SnorkelingThere are many different charter boats that take groups out to the various aquatic reefs. Spirit snorkeling is one of the reputable companies that can take you to sombrero beach reef. Through this company, it is $30 for an adult to snorkel and children under 5 are free with a paid adult. If you are not into snorkeling, you can still go out on the boat and enjoy the views from the deck and chat up with the boat crew. Coolers are allowed for lunch or snacks as they are not provided for you. Reservations can be made by calling +1 305 289-0614.
DivingAs with snorkeling there are many different charter services that you can go through. Even if you are not a certified scuba diver, many of these services offer time of instruction and a chance to get acquainted with the equipment, and later on in the day a chance to go out on a dive. One of the larger companies in the area is Tilden's Scuba Center which has two locations, one of them being in Marathon at Mile Marker 49.5. Reservations and rates vary depending on what activity you want to participate in and how experienced a diver you are. For reservations or inquires call +1-888-728-2235. Open seven days a week.
FishingFishing is always popular and charters are available.
phone: +1 305 395-0355The waters around Marathon are great for both beginner and experienced kayakers to explore. The most experienced kayaking outfitter in the middle Keys is Marathon Kayak. Guided eco-tours are available each day and rentals are available by the half day, full day and week, with free delivery.
Sombrero Beachaddress: Mile Marker 50, OceansideThere is free parking at this beach, so bringing a car will not be a burden or added expense. The beach and picnic area was recently renovated in 2003 and now provides an excellent picnic lunch stop for the whole families. Shady trees and warm breezes will allow everyone to relax. There is a roped off area for swimming and a nice public restroom with outdoor wash facilities. The hours are from 7AM until dusk.
Hideaway Cafephone: +1 305 289-1554Located at the Rainbow Bend Resort Mile Marker 58. This restaurant is on the more expensive side and would be nice for a romantic evening for two or a family dinner overlooking the ocean. Seafood, poultry, and beef are the main staples at this restaurant. Since it does over-look the ocean and tends to get crowded early, make reservations.
Herbie'sphone: +1 305 743-6373Located at Mile Marker 50.5 6350 Overseas Highway. This is the local hangout for many people that live here year round. This is a great place to eat for burgers and fries. Seating is limited and it tends to get packed in the evening. Reservations are not required.
address: 58080 Overseas HighwayGuest rooms, efficiencies, deluxe efficiencies (some with ocean view), pool, paddle boats & kayaks available for rent.
address: 5874 Overseas HighwayGuest rooms, efficiencies, 1- and 2-bedroom apartments, all nonsmoking, pets allowed. Pool, putting green, aviary, hammocks, bicycle rentals, complimentary paddle boats/canoes/kayaks, boat dock available.
- Gulfstream Trailer Park +1 305-743-5619, 880 37th St. Gulf.
- Jolly Roger Trailer Park, +1 305-289-0404, 59275 Overseas Highway.
- Key R.V. Park +1 305-743-5164, 6099 US1 Hwy.
- Knight's Key Campground +1 305-743-4343, P.O. Box 525.
- Lion's Lair Travel Park +1 305-289-0606, Rt 2 Box 390.
- Pay attention to the weather. The Keys are a narrow band of islands that offer little protection from tropical storms. In the past storms have generated waves with enough strength to demolish bridges and topple freight trains and engines sitting on tracks. The locals seem immune to these dangers, rely on National Weather reports, rather than the opinion of locals. If it is suggested you go back to the mainland, do so immediately. There is only one highway out and it can become clogged quickly. The Overseas Highway can and will be closed for a period should a car or truck accident occur. Always allow extra time if traveling back to the mainland to meet a flight or cruise.