By Lauren Tjaden
Here are just a few of the activities you can enjoy there.
Kick back on the sand
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.
Hook into some fun
Nothing's more fun --or delicious-- than catching 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.
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).
Lend a hand
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.
Get the kiss of a lifetime
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.
Explore the depths
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.
Recharge your batteries
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).
All photos by Lauren Tjaden for VISIT FLORIDA
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