Florida keys and a visit to Marathon island: what to see and do around the island
Located in the central region of the Florida Keys, I recently visited the islands surrounding Marathon City which are full of fun water inspired recreation and with many things to do on Marathon to keep you active or relaxed depending on your idea of a getaway vacation.
This mellow region in the Florida Keys is just the right place to connect with nature and be a part of the gorgeous landscape and those famous blue waters of the Florida Keys. Of course being close to the water and taking part in any water related activity is central to living the Marathon lifestyle and there is plenty to choose from. Boating and fishing activities are readily available throughout the Vaca Key, Fat Deer Key and Grassy Key island chain
Marathon Island is a great base to exploring the many different islands and keys around the area with plenty of hotels, inns and restaurants to visit after you explore the many outdoor adventure and attractions to do in the area.
Why visit Marathon Island in the Florida Keys?
An easy getaway from Miami and the Florida mainland, Marathon Island is relaxed, outdoor focused with cool recreation and adventure activities to enjoy on the island. Enjoy the gorgeous waters, get outdoors on a boat or even try some fun adventure experiences like kite boarding below will give you a nice slice of Marathon life. Or just take it easy and enjoy a pool or beach scene, a beautiful sunset and delicious meal on the beach or at a nice dining venue on the island now.
Where is Marathon Island located?
From Miami Marathon island is 116 miles or around two hours and fifty-minute drive from downtown to the island direct on Hwy US 1.
Recreation & adventure sports at Marathon
Wake Boarding Experience
One of my first recreation activities was to go wakeboarding at the Keys Cable park operated by Otherside Boardsports. This was my first time to experience wakeboarding with a unique cable towing system that replaces the need for using boats. This customized guided system with an operator makes it easier to pick up quickly with a few basic lessons and start with an on site training program. After some very unsuccessful and salt water induced runs, I finally was able to get the knack on how to do this better and did some decent runs where I actually stood up and enjoyed the skiing process which was really fun!
After some instruction, we were ready to go!
Success wake boarding on Marathon
The adventure park also has eco sustainability projects started with bee and honey production, fruit trees and tropical fruits planted, they also have plans to produce a local farmers markets and other sustainability tours in this section of the park. For more information about wake boarding and instructions, you can check out the Keys Cable Park website here.
A video experience at the Keys Cable Park
Diving/snorkeling – Florida National Marine Sanctuary
To visit the Florida National Marine Sanctuary, you can take a tour with a variety of recreation outfits. I took a tour with Strike Zone Charter on Big Pine Key that does daily tours at the Sanctuary which is the third largest barrier reef in the world. You have options to diving or snorkeling when the boat arrives at the marine sanctuary but outside of basic safety measures, there are no instructions offered with this particular tour. Diving options require that you submit full certification proof at registration along with signing waivers for either recreation activities. After that it is a quick safety orientation on the boat and what to expect when we reach the sanctuary and we were off to a fantastic boat ride to the marine sanctuary.
Snorkel tour experience
You can also do a snorkel tour experience of the Florida National Marine Sanctuary here for more information for this tour experience.
Leaving Big Pine Key for the marine sanctuary
Our captain being interviewed with NPR about the sanctuary
While on this tour, I was able to take part with the 32nd annual Underwater Music Festival at the Sanctuary. This fun event is filled with zany costumes, underwater mermaids, singing bands and yes music that is piped underwater so you can hear some cool water inspired tunes while exploring the reef and enjoying the festival underwater no less!
Video highlights to the Underwater Music Festival
Here are some highlights of the Underwater Music Festival and the marine sanctuary presented by the South Florida Reporter. The lush and pristine sanctuary is filled with beautiful and healthy coral along with an abundance of tropical fish that are thriving in the preserve. If you would like to get more information about the music festival and other fun things to do in the Lower Keys, you can check out this website for more information.
Video credit – South Florida Reporter
Here’s a look at the pristine waters off Marathon Island on a diving experience below
Fishing around Marathon Island area
If fishing is your thing then there are several fishing charters you can consider for a fun day outdoors and fishing the coastal waters for local fishes you can try catching.
Here’s a fishing charter tour to check out and book your fishing experience from Marathon Island
Exploring Bahia Honda State park and SUP boarding
Bahia Honda State Park is a beautiful island that is completely preserved in its natural state while enjoying some recreation and sporting activities on the island. I was able to take part in a SUP boarding session along with trying some challenging yoga moves on the shallow sandy waters. It was a perfect place to trying the SUP session with Serenity Eco Therapy and our instructor, Sarah Sullivan shared some wonderful basics to SUP boarding and then advancing to the yoga session with flow movements that are modified to work well on the water motion. Outside of SUP boards, you can also take advantage of a variety of water adventure activities on the park including kayaking, boating, fishing and almost every type of water recreation available on site.
Learning about stand up paddle basics
Challenging Yoga moves on a SUP board
Or maybe just spending time floating and enjoying the day
Or more challenging yoga flow on SUP boards!
Delicious dining options on Marathon city
After all those amazing recreational sports, it’s time to find some delicious food to keep us going. One of the first stops for delicious and local food was at the Grassy Key Outpost Market and Grill. You wouldn’t think that this low key diner would be serving some really exciting local food but it was really delicious and creatively presented! I ordered and appetizer plate of coconut prawns with a spicy peanut sauce that I devoured in seconds and my entrée of fried green tomato with lobster salad was exquisite and perfectly prepared and presented to me. Add a refreshing Arnold Palmer and lunch was hit and perfect dining experience on Marathon city.
Delicious dining experience at Grassy Key Outpost Market and Grill
Yummy fried green tomato with Lobster salad!
Fine dining at Lighthouse Grill – Faro Blanco Resort and Yacht Club
Not to be missed is a dining experience at the Lighthouse Grill at the Faro Blanco resort. The waterfront restaurant and bar at the resort is the perfect place for dinner and watch an amazing sunset at the marina. I was impressed with the wonderful dinner menu and all the specialty cocktail drinks from the bar. First important item was the drink order and it did come promptly! With so many wonderful specialty drinks to try like the local mojito and other rum specialties, I ended up ordering the refreshing Marathon rum punch which was quite potent.
Here’s some of the delicious appetizers at the Lighthouse Grill
The surf and turf is a real winner!
All the appetizers we sampled at the restaurant were tasty but my favorite dish definitely had to be my entrée of the surf and turf dish below. Not only was it generous but every bite was delicious and spot on perfectly done! Even the potato gratin side was sumptuous and flaky good. The hard part was to finish the entire dish without feeling so guilty that you can eat all that exquisite cuisine, a real dining experience not to be missed.
Marathon city stay at the Hyatt Place
Only a year old, Hyatt Place is now the place to stay for discerning travelers who want comfort and luxury accommodations. Fronting the famous Vaca Key lighthouse, Hyatt Place is very comfortable and relaxing with all the right amenities including fast wifi, spacious bedrooms and bathroom suites and two swimming pools to choose from. I was quickly checked in and dropped all my luggage to enjoy some time in one of the two pools of the hotel. Afterwards, I had a fantastic long shower and enjoyed using the really fast wifi to do some online research and work before dinner at the Lighthouse Grill.
Enjoying the pool at Hyatt Place on Marathon city
Heavenly sleep with these super comfy beds
I enjoyed my visit to the Florida Keys and Key west especially on Marathon City. If you want to explore more of the Florida Keys, you can check out their website here for more details and their calendar.
Enjoyed the post – check out these other Florida highlights
Florida Keys and top attractions and things to do in Islamorada
Top 10 things to do in Key West
What to see and do in Miami, Florida
Conclusion to visiting Marathon Island in the Florida Keys
You’ll enjoy the slower pace here on Marathon whether you plan a lot of fun activities and adventure or just take it easy and explore a new beach spot for the day.
Thanks for visiting today and checking out this post on Florida Keys things to do on Marathon, Florida, hopefully you will be able to see and experience this lovely garden when you are in the Marathon Key area. If you enjoyed the images and post, could you please share it with any of the social media buttons located around the post.
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I want to try the wake boarding thing. Florida seems really nice. I’ve been before but that was like 10 years ago so I remember nothing. I wanna go again.
Im kinda scared but I really want to try wakeboarding! And that yoga sup boarding looks cool too! Gotta love water sports 👍🏻👍🏻
I’d love to do some diving, but SUP paddle is not for me, I hate falling into water ;D
Wow, your pictures are so inviting and stunning. I love them. And your activities look like so much fun. I would make a complete fool out of myself at the SUP yoga session, but it looks like so much fun, I wouldn’t care 😉
Awesome pics as always Noel. I’m going SUPping on Sunday and I hope for some decent weather …
How fascinating. Underwater Music Festival and Yoga on SUP board. These two are reasons enough to visit Marathon in the Florida Keys. I have not had the chance to visit the area and after seeing your videos and pictures, I’m really intrigued. Great review of the area and activities. Thank you.
This a great in-depth guide. My husband visited two years ago and could not stop raving about how much he loved it, I would love to visit someday and am bookmarking this post for when I do.
I haven’t been to the keys since I was six, so I think it is safe to say that I need to go back. I’d love to do some snorkeling in the area and the underwater music festival looks like a unique experience!
What a full and useful post! You really hit all aspects! This is bringing back great memories of the boating trip I took in the Florida Keys way back in the day, but it makes me realize there’s so much else I didn’t do… and eat!
Beautiful place (and pictures!). Loads of cool activities but my favorite has to be wakeboarding!
Really need to visit Florida!
Everything about this trip looks amazing. Food, beach and especially want to try wakeboarding!!! Love the video!
Haha – that video of the underwater festival is great! What an idea! I’m not sure if I could be playing that relaxed on my guitar under water 🙂
I haven’t been to the Keys in years. You’ve found some great activities there.
I love the Florida Keys, and I’d love to see that underwater music show and have one of those drinks at the Lighthouse Grill.
I’m wanting to dive the keys again!