Marathon: Florida Keys Beach, Dolphins and Fishing

    By Lauren Tjaden

    Nestled in the heart of the Florida Keys, you’ll find Marathon, a little enclave surrounded by emerald-hued waters and offering a wealth of activities and experiences. Check out these area must-dos:

    Relax on the shores on Sombrero Beach (Sombrero Beach Rd, Marathon, FL 33050, phone (305) 743-0033). Nestled against the Atlantic Ocean, and fringed with palms, Sombrero Beach boasts a shady park complete with picnic pavilions, volleyball courts, restrooms and showers. The park is also a favorite with nesting sea turtles. From April through October it’s common for Loggerhead Turtles to visit the beach at night to lay their eggs.


    Sombrero Beach, in Marathon, offers a palm-fringed beach and fabulous snorkeling.

    Sombrero Beach, in Marathon, offers a palm-fringed beach and fabulous snorkeling.

    - Lauren Tjaden


    Hook into some fun and catch your own dinner on a fishing expedition. You can choose from a variety of charters that include Flats/Backcountry Fishing, Light Tackle Fishing, Offshore Fishing and Party Boats.

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    Snag an unparalleled view of the islands on a helicopter tour with Old City Helicopters (Florida Keys Marathon Airport, 9850 Overseas Hwy., Marathon, FL 33050, 305-619-9603).

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    Meet rescued sea turtles and learn how to help them at The Turtle Hospital (2396 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, FL 33050, phone (305) 743-2552). The Hospital is a small non-profit organization dedicated to the rehabilitation of endangered sea turtles.

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    Kiss one of Flipper's relatives at the Dolphin Research Center (58901 Overseas Highway, Grassy Key, FL 33050, phone (305) 289-1121). This not-for-profit facility features a 90,000-square-foot series of saltwater lagoons, and is home to a family of bottlenose dolphins that descended from a dolphin named Mitzi, who starred in the original Flipper series. Its mission stresses education, research and rescue.

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    Photo of Lauren Tjaden by Dolphin Research Center      

    Go for a SNUBA, Scuba, or snorkeling adventure. Tilden’s Scuba Center (4650 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, FL 33050, phone (305) 743-7255) offers all three. It’s ideally situated in Marathon, since the longest living barrier reef in North America runs parallel to the Florida Keys. In addition, the waters tend to be shallow and calm, so there’s no better place to wonder at the underwater world.

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    Enjoy a spicy cup of gumbo or some killer seafood at the Island Fish Company (12648 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, FL 33050, phone (305) 743-4191).

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    All photos except dolphin by Lauren Tjaden for VISIT FLORIDA