DescriptionThe midway point between Key Largo and Key West, Marathon is the largest city in the Florida Keys. The Seven Mile Bridge, built on the foundation of Henry Flagler’s East Coast Railroad, begins here and joins the Middle Keys to the Lower Keys. Named for the lament of a railroad engineer when told to continue the line still farther, the city is the commercial and sport fishing center of the Middle Keys. Anglers will find copious amounts of billfish, dolphin, tarpon and tuna in the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean, while sailors, scuba divers and snorkelers won't be able to resist the vast expanses of clear blue water.
Park your umbrella and beach towel at Sombrero Beach, oceanside at mile marker 50, favored by the locals for its family-friendly atmosphere and its variety of recreational opportunities. Chow down on sandwiches and chips at a shaded picnic table, join the kids on the playground or toss a ball on the volleyball court. The beach’s clear waters and soft sand encourage boating, shell collecting, snorkeling, swimming and windsurfing.
This family-oriented community has its fair share of events. Listen to live bands and munch on festival food while strolling through booths displaying the works of more than 70 artists at the Pigeon Key Art Festival, held early February. Visit the city’s beautifully decorated homes and lush gardens during the Marathon Home and Garden Tour in early March and see how the natives live.
Indulge in locally caught fresh fish, lobster, shrimp and stone crab at the 2-day Marathon Seafood Festival in mid-March; live music, children’s games, a flea market and a boat show round out the festivities. The Seven Mile Bridge closes for several hours on a Saturday morning in April every year for the Seven Mile Bridge Run, a Marathon tradition.
Visitor InfoGreater Marathon Chamber of Commerce 12222 Overseas Hwy. MARATHON, FL 33050. Phone:(305)743-5417 or (800)262-7284
ShoppingBayshore Clothing (8911 Overseas Hwy.) has been in operation since 1988 and specializes in men’s and women’s sportswear, including Life is Good T-shirts and baseball caps. More fashion must-haves can be found at Anthony’s Women’s Apparel (5800 Overseas Hwy.); think stylish juniors, petites and misses swimsuits and casual clothing by Ruby Rd. and Alfred Dunner.
Things to SeeCrane Point Hammock Museum and Nature Center