Situated in the middle of the Florida Keys island chain, Marathon is 16 km long and considered the heart of the Keys. It is one of the most marine-friendly cities with nearly 1,200 wet slips and major facilities to accommodate transient cruisers. If you’re not boating, you’ll want to spend time enjoying their many pristine, sandy beaches: Bahia Honda State Park is lined with beautiful Palm Trees making it a tropical oasis, Sombrero Beach offers great snorkeling where you might possibly spot some turtles, and if you’re with a furry friend then head to the quiet shores of pet-friendly Coco Plum Beach.
Pigeon Key is a small island originally used as a base camp for about 400 workers building the Overseas Railroad, which connected the Florida mainland to Key West in the early 20th century. The island has a rich history and is now a historic site which operates a Marine Science Center utilizing many of the original camp buildings for marine science education programs. You can tour the island and learn about the history of the Overseas Railroad and the people who built it. The island features a small museum, a visitor center, and a number of restored buildings from the railroad era. Visitors can also enjoy recreational activities such as swimming, snorkeling, and fishing.
The Old Seven Mile Bridge is a historic bridge originally built in the early 20th century as part of the Overseas Railroad. The bridge was considered an engineering marvel at the time, and its construction was a major feat of the era. It was the longest bridge in existence when it was completed in 1912 and today it is still an iconic feature of the Keys. The bridge was damaged by a powerful hurricane in 1935 and it was partially replaced by a new bridge, the current Seven Mile Bridge, which runs parallel to the old one. Today, the old bridge is a popular spot for fishing, sightseeing, and taking photos. It’s also a part of a trail for pedestrians and bicycles and offers a breathtaking view of the ocean as you make your way to Pigeon Key. If you’re paying attention you may even spot some rays and small sharks as they play at the base of the bridge.
A non-profit organization, The Turtle Hospital is dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of sea turtles. The hospital was founded in 1986 and has since treated over 2000 sick and injured sea turtles. The facility is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and staffed by a team of experienced veterinarians and marine biologists who work tirelessly to treat the turtles in one of their 23 tanks and the tidal pool made up of over 378,000 litres of saltwater.
The hospital treats a variety of sea turtle species, including loggerhead, green, leatherback, and hawksbill turtles. The turtles are treated for a wide range of illnesses and injuries, such as boat strikes, ingested fishing hooks and lines, and diseases like fibropapillomatosis.
The hospital also has an education and conservation program, which aims to raise awareness about the importance of sea turtle conservation and the threats they face. You can tour the facility and learn about the hospital’s work, and observe the sea turtles in recovery in the outdoor sea turtle hospital.
A family-owned business that has been in operation for over 40 years, Key Fisheries Seafood Market and Restaurant is known for their fresh and delicious seafood, caught by local fisherman. They have a wide variety of seafood dishes on their menu such as Keys Cracked Conch with Island Sauce, Stone Crab Chowder, Herb Parmesan Baked Grouper, and their famed lobster Reuben.
The restaurant’s seafood market is connected to the eatery and offers a variety of fresh seafood options, such as fish, shrimp, crab, oysters, and conch that are caught by local fisherman. They also sell smoked fish and seafood dips.
Popular among locals and visitors for their fresh seafood and casual atmosphere, the restaurant has an outdoor seating area where you can enjoy your meal and take in the views of the water. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and they are closed on Sundays.
For more ideas on how to make your Marathon adventure unforgettable visit fla-keys.com.