Top 4 Things To Do In Marathon Florida As A Family Escape

Of all the Florida Keys, I knew there had to be lots of things to do in Marathon Florida because I’d heard about it the most and we couldn’t wait to get there as a family.  This is part #4 of our Florida beaches series, so be sure to also read Things to Do in West Palm Beach, Miami Beach with Kids, and the family guide to Islamorada Florida Keys.  Keep reading to see which incredible things to do in Marathon Florida are best for families and the adventure we stumbled into.  Enjoy all the photography throughout and our adventure video at the end!

4 Best things to do in Marathon Florida - View of the ocean and boat dock and palm trees

Marathon, Florida Antoine Gady, cc

Things to do in Marathon Florida

We found the best things to do in Marathon Florida and can’t wait to share our travel secrets with you.  Marathon, Florida is a 10-mile-long, family-oriented island community conveniently situated right in the middle of Islamorada, Florida and Key West, Florida.  Marathon has a longstanding fishing heritage, an old-Keys lifestyle, unwavering seafaring traditions, and one of the Keys’ most marine-friendly cities with nearly 1,200 wet slips and 1,200 dry slips  We found it to be a low-key vacation spot with small hotels, beachside inns, and family-style resorts with waterside restaurants that harvest fresh fish, lobster and stone crab claws from local waters.

We stopped to discover Marathon as part of a travel article for Okefenokee Living Magazine.  Our thanks go to The Florida Keys & Key West Visitors Bureau and the venues below for hosting us.  As always, my opinions are my own.

#1  Discover the famous Seven Mile Bridge

For the love of all things holy, make sure to travel the seven-mile bridge at leisure so that you can take in all its beautiful glory.  Completely surrounded by water and part of the Overseas Highway, the seven-mile bridge is a beauty to behold.  The modern bridge includes room to pull over and capture many glances, photos, and video of the perfectly green water.  The old seven-mile railroad bridge can be viewed from the modern one and is a great reminder that dreamers can certainly make things happen.

4 Best things to do in Marathon Florida - Car on seven-mile bridge

Seven-Mile Bridge Herb Neufeld, cc

#2  Be a beachcomber at Sombrero Beach

Since we were on the hunt for Florida beaches along the east coast on this trip, we were dying to see what Marathon, Florida beaches were like.  A local told us about Sombrero Beach and told us it was part of a nice, clean city park.  Located in the midst of what appeared to be a very nice residential area, we found Sombrero Beach to be a slightly bustling little place with a family-friendly vibe.

One of the best things to do in Marathon Florida is to take the family to Sombrero Beach as early in the morning as possible before everyone else arrives.  This sandy beach is open from 7:30 a.m. until dusk and has handicap accessibility, picnic pavilions, restrooms, and showers.

4 Best things to do in Marathon Florida - Sombrero Beach in Marathon, Florida

Princess enjoying Sombrero Beach

#3  Visit Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters

Our of our very favorite things to do in Marathon Florida is spend the day at Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters.  Seriously, our time there was so relaxed yet heart-pounding, safe but thrilling that I honestly didn’t want to leave.  This aquarium is a marine life facility with diving, snorkeling & feeding activities, with touch tanks, tours & even its own cafe.  It features a stunning coral reef exhibit and a predatory fish habitat housed in a 200,000-gallon interconnected saltwater aquarium.

Visitors can enjoy an immersive, interactive experience where they can touch, feel and feed reef fish, invertebrates, stingrays and even sharks.  Like us, you can interact with sea life like stingrays, tarpon, starfish, queen conch, horseshoe crab and then hand feed sharks!

4 Best things to do in Marathon Florida - Aquarium with black tip sharks

courtesy of Aquarium Encounters

4 Best things to do in Marathon Florida - Florida Keys Aquarium Encounter Tiki Hut Entrance

The entrance of Florida Keys Aquarium Encounter

#4  Enjoy Marathon Restaurants

Dinner at the Lighthouse Grill at Faro Blanco in Marathon, Florida was a special surprise.  We enjoyed exceptional service from a fabulous waiter and a delightfully unique waterfront atmosphere. In the shadow of the historic Faro Blanco lighthouse, the marina view as the sun set behind the palm trees in the distance was breathtaking.  I couldn’t wait to walk the gorgeous property including the lengthy boardwalk of the marina.  It’s true… there’s something special about a sunset in the Florida Keys.

4 Best things to do in Marathon Florida - Lighthouse Grill dinner with a waterfront view

4 Best things to do in Marathon Florida - Incredible Lighthouse Grill sunset

I hope this list of 4 things to do in Marathon Florida has been helpful and assists you in planning a family vacation in the Florida Keys of your very own. You’ll find our adventure video below and links to all places below.  Enjoy!

watch video HERE

Which things to do in Marathon Florida are you most excited about?  Have you been to Marathon Florida Keys?  Share your thoughts below!


Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters: 11710 Overseas Highway, Marathon FL

Lighthouse Grill at Faro Blanco: 1996 Overseas Highway, Marathon FL

Sombrero Beach: Sombrero Beach Rd, Marathon, FL

For more Islamorada Florida Keys information, visit The Florida Keys & Key West


4 Best Things to do in Marathon Florida for families - Lighthouse


Published on HuffPost, Okefenokee Living Magazine, multiple sites and her local newspaper, Shan Walker is a Family Travel Journalist and Guru of “all things calm & cozy home.”

She shares “how-to” plan the best family vacations in the South with reviews & secrets that Women REALLY want to know. She also has quick home hacks to create a comfy space we all crave & easy recipes to knock your socks off!

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️



  1. Danielle Old Soul Mama
    August 21, 2018 / 8:25 am

    So, it’s like a less touristy alternative to key west? It looks so beautiful I’d love to visit it. My kids would love that you can feed the creatures at the aquarium. I don’t see myself being able to travel their anytime soon since I am all the way across the US 🙁

    • Shan
      August 21, 2018 / 8:27 am

      Yes, MUCh less tourist-y! We loved it! 😉 Maybe you can make a longterm plan to visit! 🙂

      much love,

  2. August 21, 2018 / 8:45 am

    I miss Florida so much! We lived in Fort Lauderdale for several years and we would drive down to the Keys but we only ever went to Key Largo and Islamorada because the weather never seemed to cooperate. So I would love to visit Marathon!!

  3. August 21, 2018 / 9:54 am

    I love going over long bridges! Looks like your family had a great time. Thanks for the ideas!

  4. August 21, 2018 / 10:03 am

    Restaurants – YEP!! That’s where I would go first! hahahaahah!

  5. August 21, 2018 / 12:59 pm

    We love visiting Florida and my kids would really enjoy the aquarium!

  6. Yota Chelf Dortlouke
    August 21, 2018 / 4:50 pm

    Sounds like the perfect place for a family vacation! If only it wasnt that far away! I would love to visit!

  7. August 21, 2018 / 5:06 pm

    Love this! Florida has a soft spot in my heart! We used to live in Jacksonville <3 This seems like another great florida spot!

  8. August 21, 2018 / 5:09 pm

    These photos are gorgeous! I lived in Florida for a while back in high school (Gainesville), but never made it down to the keys. I’d really love to at some point. It looks so fun!!

  9. August 21, 2018 / 8:50 pm

    I absolutely LOVE the keys! I grew up in Florida so we would go camping there about once per year, usually in the summer. We stayed on either Fiesta Key or Marathon Key, but always took a trip down to Key West and across the bridge. It’s gorgeous there!

  10. August 21, 2018 / 9:39 pm

    The water there looks absolutely beautiful. I’m going to have to add this to my list of places to visit, I haven’t been to the keys since I was a kid.

  11. August 21, 2018 / 9:52 pm

    I want to go to Florida so bad! The water looks gorgeous!

  12. August 21, 2018 / 10:38 pm

    This takes me back to my husband and I’s vacation pre-children and before his last deployment. We spent most of our time at Key Largo and there was this awesome diner! I wish I could remember the name.

  13. Madison at The Weaver Fam
    August 21, 2018 / 10:38 pm

    Marathon is absolutely beautiful!! We are taking a trip there next May. I can’t wait. I love the seven mile bridge and the beaches are gorgeous.

    • Shan
      August 23, 2018 / 8:10 am

      Yay, Madison. So glad you already have a trip planned. It’s a unique and amazing place!

      much love,

  14. August 22, 2018 / 11:05 am

    The water looks like paradise! My son would totally would love the aquarium! He is obsessed with sharks. We really need to put Marathon on our bucket list.

    • Shan
      August 23, 2018 / 8:09 am

      Yes, that aquarium was unbelievable. During that shark encounter where we handfed them, my heart was beating so fast. I was pretty nervous, but it was awesome!

      much love,

  15. August 22, 2018 / 11:17 am

    My friend went to Marathon a year ago and had nothing but rave reviews. It is on my to do list.

    • Shan
      August 23, 2018 / 8:08 am

      Yay, Rachel. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Lovely vacation destination. 😉

      much love,

  16. August 22, 2018 / 2:57 pm

    What an amazing place! And all these photos! Florida looks so beautiful and your suggestions are on point. Wish I had the time and the money of course to take a trip over there!

    • Shan
      August 23, 2018 / 8:08 am

      Awe, thanks, Helene. So glad you liked it and found it helpful. You could do some longterm planning! I think it’s worth it! 🙂

      much love,

  17. Kayla
    August 22, 2018 / 6:00 pm

    I have gone to a Disney a bunch of times, but have never been to that aquarium. I think the next time we go down we will have to check it out. I love the atmosphere of Florida.

  18. August 22, 2018 / 6:17 pm

    This looks so beautiful! We are heading to Florida in October, definitely going to look into this 🙂

    • Shan
      August 23, 2018 / 8:07 am

      Yay, Cassie! I hope you have SO much fun. Let me know if I can answer any questions!

      much love,

      • Cassie
        August 24, 2018 / 10:05 am

        Thank you, Shan!

  19. August 23, 2018 / 6:04 am

    We have been to the commercial Florida and this side which is what I call the REAL Florida. Loved the place, natural beauty and lovely people too x

    • Shan
      August 23, 2018 / 8:06 am

      Awesome! Yeah, the tourist-y stuff is fun to see quickly but the natural, real Florida is where it’s at!

      much love,

  20. August 23, 2018 / 7:46 pm

    I’ve never heard of Marathon, Florida. I’m going to have to put it on my list of places to visit when we go there. We are always looking for kid-friendly places. The front of the aquarium looks awesome too!

    • Shan
      August 23, 2018 / 8:57 pm

      Yay, Tami. Glad it was helpful and I love the whole look of the aquarium too. The tiki hut theme was so neat! 🙂

      much love,

  21. August 24, 2018 / 11:40 am

    I love your recommendations. So jealous my family and I haven’t made it much to the Florida beaches. These are definitely on our to do/bucket list in the next couple of years. I’ve pinned your suggestions for future use!

    • Shan
      August 24, 2018 / 12:12 pm

      I’m glad it’s been helpful, Adrienne, and thanks for your kind words. It’s never too late to start planning – even if it’s longterm and it certainly won’t hurt anything! 🙂 Let me know if you have any questions about Florida and maybe I can help!

      much love,

  22. August 24, 2018 / 1:16 pm

    I have lived in Florida my whole life and have yet to go there, can you believe it?! I need to for sure!

  23. September 14, 2018 / 11:09 am

    The Keys are without a doubt one of my favorite places to visit. It’s just so laid back and the Island vibes are strong. Definitely a great place for a family get away with so much to do!

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