Marathon Florida is a part of the infamous Florida Keys, located in a tropical paradise full of sun, beaches, salt water and fun! There are so many things to do in Marathon, Florida but we wanted to narrow it down to fifteen things to do with your family. This is exactly what we did in Marathon during our vacation, so this isn’t about sitting in an office researching, this is real family fun and sharing it with you.
Enjoy your Resort
The resorts and hotels in Marathon are amazing! Each resort has its own personality which includes many amenities, activities and sometimes even family fun theme nights. Enjoy your resort, take the time to get to know the owners and staff, ask questions about the best time to watch the sunrise or go fishing. Swim in the pools, eat at the restaurants, play volleyball or shuffle board or whatever grabs your fancy. You have already paid for your stay now take advantage of all your resort has to offer.
When we first drove through Marathon we passed The Stuffed Pig and I literally said “Does that say Stuffed Pig?” What a wonderfully creative name for a restaurant! Later that day we were making plans with a local friend and asked where we should meet for breakfast and his response of course was “How about The Stuffed Pig?” I was so excited to go to this fun place. We had a wonderful breakfast of eggs, pancakes and extras. The outside seating was so nice and it was fun to see many people bring their dogs to breakfast too!
Play Games Outside
When we are in Florida during the winter months we cannot get enough of being outside. One of our favorite things to do is to take our Uno game or board game and find a beautiful place to sit together and play a game. I know it sounds so simple, but sometimes we just need to add it to a list. There are so many beautiful places to sit in Marathon and maybe you don’t want to read a book, or look out into the great unknown. If your kids are like my kids, they love to be doing something, and playing games is a perfect way to be in nature, be together, be unplugged and have fun. If it is too breezy for cards and game pieces then try charades, a dice game or I spy. Enjoy!
I like to make sure I find the ice cream shop as soon as I come into town. My boys love hard packed ice cream, not custard, or soft serve but hard packed, hand scooped ice cream. We love to try the different flavors, explore the different types of cones, sundaes, ice cream sandwiches and toppings. They knew as soon as we found the ice cream shop they would get ice cream as often as they could. We found Sweet Savannah’s the first day we arrived and made three stops throughout the week. I loved that I could do a little shopping too, so many cute things from toys to kitchen towels and more. The ice cream was delicious and the girls scooping were super nice. It’s fun to know that after a day in the sun and sand, we could finish it off with a few scoops of ice cream.
We loved staying away from the hustle and bustle of Key West, Marathon is our speed and lets us enjoy a relaxed island atmosphere. However, we do like to spice it up for one day and visit Key West. We first walked down Duvall Street and went in and out of all the shops trying to find a specific gift for a friend. However, we found ourselves in many of the art galleries taking in all the amazing talent of local and national artists. Both of our boys have very different taste in art so it was fun to have them pick out their favorites to show us. Next, we went to Mallory Square and the Shipwreck area. We didn’t spend a ton of time here because we wanted to get in a visit to Fort Zachary State Park to swim and snorkel. The beach was full of stones as opposed to sand, which we were not expecting, but the boys enjoyed finding different shapes of stones. They swam for a while but snorkeling was out of the question because of the strong wind stirring up the ocean. After the beach we headed back to Marathon, it was a long day but well worth the trip.
If you decide Key West is not in your plans then make sure to at least take a ride over the 7 Mile Bridge from Knights Key to Little Duck Key. Connecting the middle keys to the lower keys starting right outside of Marathon. It is just an amazing feature, an incredible landmark to say “I’ve taken the 7 Mile Bridge in the Keys.” As we went over the bridge, our boys were full of questions about who built it, how did they build it, why did they build it, what would happen if we got a flat tire and on and on. We didn’t know many of the answers but when we got back to our hotel that night we started searching the answers. It was a fun ride and I think every kid would love it (unless they are afraid of bridges, but then they already went over many to get to Marathon, so they should be fine, wink)
Fishing in the Keys gives you and your family some amazing quality time together, cheering each other on (or not), and is another great activity that helps you experience what it truly means to be in the Keys. There are so many great fishing spots offshore and onshore. We forgot to pack our poles, so he headed to The Tackle Box to do a few things like buy a pole, buy a State of Florida Gulf Reef Angler and Saltwater Fishing Non-Resident license at an extremely low cost and ask some questions. The owner and his wife were so helpful by telling us where to fish, how to fish, what bait to use and all things fishing. We stopped back in to tell them about the fish we caught, and they were super happy we stopped back. This is another example of how helpful, friendly and welcoming the people of Marathon are to visitors. We can’t wait to go back to the Tackle Box on our next trip.
Sunsets are beautiful, that is why we are always on a quest to find an equally beautiful surrounding to enjoy the beautiful sunset. In Marathon, Florida the best sunset is at Sombrero Beach. My favorite part is when the sun is just on the horizon and a sailboat floats right in front of the orange sun, what a perfect backdrop. Let the kids play in the sand and surf while you stare out into the sky thinking about what a beautiful place you chose as your family vacation spot, Marathon, Florida. By the way, sunset in December is at 5:45pm. I don’t know why I thought the sunset would be much later than that, but it’s not, which also impacts how we planned for the rest of the week. The beach closes soon after sunset, so we packed up and headed out.
Even though Lorelei is not in Marathon, it is a unique experience for your family during your visit to Marathon. We chose Lorelei’s Restaurant and Cabana Bar for their New Years Eve party which included a magician, our son is a HUGE magician fan so he was beyond excited for the night out. There was also live music and great food.
When we arrived the place was packed, and there is no assigned tables so we literally had to wander around until a table left and then sit down. There are so many different seating choices that will fit anyone’s needs and all of the options are outside! The bar and high-top tables are in the front, on the side are private larger tables, and towards the back are four to six seating round tables that can easily be put together for larger groups.
Once we took a walk around we grabbed a table and ordered a suggested appetizer, by the waiter appetizer, conch fritters (OH MY LORD, they were ridiculously yummy!!!) Did I mention Lorelei Restaurant and Cabana Bar is located right on the water? Our table was literally 15 feet from the water and we often got up during dinner to check out the boats and what was going on in the water. There was also a marina next door, a gift shop and just so many things to look at while waiting for seats, or food, or just stretching our legs.
The boys both ordered the kids NYE special, two cheeseburger sliders with fries, I ordered the coconut shrimp and Marty ordered the fish tacos. Oh, and the Pina Colada had the perfect amount of rum and was blended perfectly (I don’t say positive things about drinks often because I’m a little picky, but this one was AWESOME!!) Everything was great! Then the live music started and we were treated to the Carousers, a throwback band that had people up dancing and having fun. It was a great night, and even though it was a drive from Marathon, it was worth it.
Listen to Live Music in Marathon
Marathon has so many restaurants, bars, and outdoor venues that have live music, which when it gets dark at 6pm in December is the perfect night time activity with your family. Take a look at each website to find out when Live Music is playing!
Every trip must have many unique experiences that our family members can look back and say, “Wow, remember when we….” Z Flight Parasailing and Watersports was that unique experience for our family during our trip to Marathon, Florida. It was easy to book our activity right on-line and then just show up to begin. You will find Z Fight right next to Porkies and Captain Pips, it is actually the same little grass hut as Captain Pips.
Mallory greeted us and was super helpful and fun, (really just have to say Marathon people ROCK!) While we were checking in we also met John, another great guy and he joked around with us because we were from Wisconsin and the last group was from Wisconsin too. We waited while the boat was prepped for parasailing and then we boarded the boat. Nick, the dock hand greeted everyone and helped us board then suited everyone up for parasailing, he was fun and had a hilarious sense of humor. I think we could have hung out with Nick all day.
Everyone made us feel safe, relaxed and ready to have a great time. Howard, the owner and captain of the boat has a weird sense of humor when it comes to his playlist, which of course our family loved. Audra, was on board too and she made sure everything ran smooth. She took pictures for those guests that purchased the photo package with their parasailing. You can find more about prices and packages here. We took our own pics which are the ones you see here. And don’t miss our Youtube video with all our parasailing adventures! We had an amazing time and we would totally recommend this unique experience to all families!
Havana Jack’s Oceanside was located right around the marina from our hotel so it was the perfect place to spend the evening and play trivia. Tuesday is trivia night, which is a really fun thing to do with our kids. We always write down a few of their answers even if we knew they were wrong, it keeps them interested and lets them know they are being heard. Havana Jack’s is RIGHT on the Atlantic Ocean and gives you the most beautiful view of the sunset.
We arrived just a little after sunset but as you can see it was still so beautiful. We waited just a short time for our table, but really who minds waiting for a table when there are couches and oceans to look at while waiting? We totally recommend the TNT Shrimp with Boom Boom Sauce, honestly one of the best dishes we ate on our vacation. Marty had a long list of beers to choose from and landed on a local German style beer. (Yes, he forgot the name, sorry.) We played trivia, won a picture of beer, which we gave away to another table that greeted us when we walked into the restaurant with “Hey, Badgers!!!!,” the boys had Wisconsin sweatshirts on that day. Are you asking “Why would you give away a picture of beer?” Well we were leaving the next day, and he wasn’t going to drink it down on his own that night. The group from Indiana was happy and we started talking and found out they knew people we knew from our home town in Wisconsin. Honestly, Kevin Bacon knew what he was talking about with the seven degrees of separation. We loved Havana Jack’s Oceanside, and can’t wait to go back!
When we heard about all the amazing marine biology locations in Marathon we were so excited! I am a life science teacher and both of the boys love turtles, fish, and stingrays. We knew we couldn’t fit them all into our plans so we chose Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters, there are many different varieties of animals, various touch tanks and marine biologists on staff to answer questions. Our day started early, we were greeted by Margot at the front desk she gave us a map, explained all of the activities for the day, encouraged us to ask questions of the marine biologists and sent us out into the park. Parents, you know when your kids just light up and in your mind you say “YES! Parenting win!!!” That is how we felt the entire time we were at Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters. Take a look at the pictures, we touched, fed, explored and soaked it all in throughout the day. Ashley, was the marine biologist that led our group. She had so much information to share, answered questions and made everyone feel apart of the entire experience. You cannot beat this unique experience for your family. Go!
The Keys have state parks galore! We were so lucky at Marathon to have two Florida State Parks very close to us. Bahia Honda State Park is described on the website as “Known for its iconic Florida scenery—palm-lined beaches, gin-clear waters and magnificent sunsets—visitors to the park enjoy balmy sea breezes that caress the shores year-round.” I think that is an excellent description for the park.
We had three things in mind when we planned on going to Bahia Honda, one swimming, two fishing and three snorkeling. There is a snorkeling tour (privately owned) that runs out of the state park and takes snorkelers to Looe Key where there is a beautiful coral reef to snorkel. However, we were going to have to wait for snorkeling for our next trip because the week we were there it was very breezy, which stirs up the ocean and makes snorkeling difficult. I have researched many snorkeling outfitters and Looe Key Snorkeling Tours at Bahia Honda State Park, was the best choice for our family.
Even though we couldn’t do a snorkeling tour out at the reef, we still snorkeled off the northwest beach shore. We saw a few fish and lots of sea grass, watching sea grass move is just as relaxing as a day at the spa. Swimming was wonderful the water was listed as 74 degrees and the air temp was 82, so it felt refreshing after a small hike on the bridge trail. The huge train trestle that was damaged in 1938 and never repaired, stands tall overlooking the park. The boys were able to fish under the train trestle, with their new poles from The Tackle Box, right in Marathon, Florida. We again, stayed until sunset to watch the beautiful colors of the sun sinking into the Atlantic Ocean.
Meet the People of Marathon, Florida
In the end it is so important for us to connect with people as we travel with our family. Everywhere we go, we try to get to know those waiting on us, buckling us in, giving us directions, teaching us, guiding us and those we run into. Prior to going to Marathon, Florida I joined a Facebook page to help me plan the trip and get to know the area. This was crucial in finding just the right places for our family. Make sure you check out the What’s Happening in Marathon, Facebook Group.