Marathon and the Middle Keys

Sombrero Beach, Marathon, Florida Keys
Sombrero Beach
Marathon, Florida Keys

Marathon and the Middle Keys are located approximately halfway between Key West and Key Largo, in what is affectionately known as the "Heart of the Keys." Imagine a place rich in sea-faring history, home to one of the region's largest cities, a modern airport, the beautiful Sombrero Beach, and some of the best fishing, diving, snorkeling and watersports anywhere in the world, and you've just described Marathon and the neighboring Middle Keys.

Marathoners have managed to keep their roots alive as a 19th century fishing village while adding all the conveniences of a modern community, including a hospital, luxury accommodations, numerous restaurants and ample shopping.

Most of the waters around Marathon are open to fishing, but you will find some areas have been set aside purely for eco-tourism and fish-viewing for divers and snorkelers. Several miles offshore from this Key is Sombrero Reef, one of the most beautiful sections of North America's only living coral barrier reef, which is protected by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Marathon also houses the Dolphin Research Center and the Turtle Hospital, which are working to preserve two of Florida's most famous marine creatures.

Dolphin Research Center, Marathon, Florida Keys
Dolphin Research Center
Marathon, Florida Keys

History buffs and eco-tourists will enjoy the Museums and Nature Center of Crane Point Hammock, a 64-acre protected area of historic sites, wild flowers, tropical trees, walking trails, and museums. Another historic site is Pigeon Key, a tiny island that was home to those who built Flagler's railroad. It can be reached by walking a little more than a mile across the Old Seven Mile Bridge.

Because of where it is situated in the Florida Keys, visitors to Marathon and the Middle Keys can take convenient jaunts to Key West and the Upper Keys.

So take your pleasure, whatever it may be, in this quaint little place called Marathon.