Things To Do In Marathon Florida Keys – 4 Must-See Family Friendly Ideas

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I was so excited that it was finally our family’s chance to discover the best things to do in Marathon Florida Keys and report back to you! I know it’s nerve-wracking as a Mom to travel that far south and not know if the long trip will be worth it and family friendly. That’s why I do what I do! If you’ve been tagging along, this is part #4 in our Florida beaches tour as we’d been on the hunt to find the best East Coast Florida beaches from North Florida all the way to Key West. Be sure to read the following Florida beaches reviews first to catch up on our trip: Things to Do in West Palm Beach, Miami Beach with Kids, and the family guide to Islamorada Florida Keys. We’ve had fun gathering the best things to do in Florida so your family won’t waste time on things that are boring or not so family friendly. Enjoy all of our photos and video about the best things we found to do in Marathon Florida Keys below.

view of beach sand, shells, and ocean - things to do in Marathon, Florida Keys with families


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 honest Southern opinions are my own.

Yet, there’s another reason I was very excited to take a week-long Florida Key family vacation. A part of a military family, we were stationed in Key West, Florida when I was very young and I barely remember traveling the iconic seven mile bridge to go back and forth between the Keys and Georgia to visit my grandparents. I was thrilled to find the best things to do in Marathon Florida with my own little family and can’t wait to share our travel secrets with you.

Marathon, Florida itself is a petite, 10-mile-long, family-oriented island community conveniently situated right in-between 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.


These are the most commonly asked questions about a Marathon, Florida family vacation below:

How far is Marathon Key from Miami?

I would say that if you drive from Miami, Florida to Marathon, Florida non-stop, it’s about 110 miles, and depending on traffic would take just over two hours.

How far is it from Marathon to Key West?

Driving from Marathon, Florida to Key West, Florida is approximately 50 miles.

What Florida Key is Marathon located on?

Marathon is located in the midst of what’s known as the Middle Keys of Monroe County, which are small remote keys that are home to mostly nature and wildlife: Knight’s Key, Boot Key, Key Vaca, Fat Deer Key, Long Point Key, Crawl Key and the Grassy Key islands.

Which airport is closest to Marathon?

Of course, we took a Florida Keys road trip, but if you wanted to arrive by airplane, you would have to fly into the Miami International Airport or the Key West International Airport.



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. It sounds like it would take forever, but it’ll be over before you know it! 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 photos and video of the perfectly clear 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.

view from the Seven Mile Bridge Florida Keys
view from the Seven Mile Bridge, matt kieffer, cc


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.

view of girl standing in Sombrero Beach ocean in Marathon, Florida
Princess enjoying Sombrero Beach


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!

view of Aquarium with black tip sharks - things to do in Marathon Florida
courtesy of Aquarium Encounters
view of the Florida Keys Aquarium Encounter Tiki Hut Entrance
The entrance of Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters


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.

view of split look of Lighthouse Grill Restaurant and waterfront view of Faro Blanc Marina
Split view of Faro Blanco Restaurant – Lighthouse Grill & Marina in Marathon Florida

I hope this list of 4 must-see 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

view of Faro Blanco Lighthouse and Marina - things to do in Marathon Florida
Walking along the Marina at Faro Blanco in Marathon Florida

Published on HuffPost, Okefenokee Living Magazine, and more, Shan is a Family Travel Journalist with a passion for helping women lose the overwhelm of planning family-friendly trips in the south. She shares travel reviews & insider secrets that Women REALLY want to know about Georgia, Florida, & the Carolinas vacations.

☕️ 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. Diane
    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. GiGi Eats
    August 21, 2018 / 10:03 am

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

  4. Megan | LoveFamilyHealth
    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!

  5. Keating
    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!!

  6. Stephanie
    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!

  7. Brittany
    August 21, 2018 / 9:52 pm

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

  8. Jennifer
    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.

  9. 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,

  10. Donna
    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,

  11. Rachel
    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,

  12. Helene
    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,

  13. Cassie
    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!

  14. Melanie williams
    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,

  15. 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,

  16. 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,

  17. Ashley
    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!

  18. Crystal // Dreams, etc.
    August 25, 2018 / 10:38 pm

    It’s so beautiful! I’d love to visit the seven-mile bridge!

  19. Patrick
    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!

    July 12, 2019 / 9:00 pm

    I just want to go to Florida!! FL is a day’s drive for us and I can’t wait to take the family back there. This is such great info for us!

    • Shan
      July 15, 2019 / 12:32 pm

      I’ve discovered how amazing Florida really is in just the last three years. There are so many family friendly things to do – whether you want to amusement-style trip or a more laid-back natural Florida vibe. We love it!!


  21. Christine
    July 13, 2019 / 11:30 am

    We LOVE the Florida Keys!! Adding Marathon to our list of places to go next year. Those restaurants look so fun!

    • Shan
      July 15, 2019 / 12:33 pm

      We now love Marathon too. Such an under-the-radar but fabulous spot!


  22. Brittany Limberakis
    July 13, 2019 / 11:42 am

    My dad just went there and loved it! I’ll have to check it out next. And that Aquarium is so cool!

    • Shan
      July 15, 2019 / 12:33 pm

      It’s SO much fun. Let me know when you go!!


  23. Lecy | A Simpler Grace
    July 13, 2019 / 3:16 pm

    I’ve never been to the Keys before, but these look like a lot of fun! Pinning this for later!

    • Shan
      July 15, 2019 / 12:34 pm

      I was nervous to travel so far but the Florida Keys are still spectacular. Definitely worth all the time to get there!!


  24. Rachel
    July 14, 2019 / 4:46 pm

    This looks so beautiful. It would be nice to get to go on a trip like this.

    • Shan
      July 15, 2019 / 12:34 pm

      You should go for it, Rachel! Even if it’s a trip planned way out in the future, it’s definitely worth it!


  25. Susan Michinok
    October 6, 2019 / 1:28 pm

    I am planning a Miami to Key West road trip for next March for my family. This looks terrific. Any tips for hotels?

    • Shan
      October 7, 2019 / 2:53 pm

      How exciting, Susan! Not sure which area you are wanting to stay but I would definitely say Havana Cabana Resort or Casa Marina in Key West (look up my Key West post!). For a halfway mark, the Islander Resort in Islamorada (look up my Islamorada post!). In Miami, my pick would be the Hilton Cabana Miami Beach Hotel at 6261 Collins Avenue (look up my Miami beaches post!). Let me know if I can help any further.


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