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The Florida Keys stretch from Key Largo, near the mainland, out into the ocean to Key West. About halfway between sit the 13 islands, including Grassy Key, which make up the city of Marathon. Along with a few other nearby islands like Duck Key and Key Colony Beach, the area draws visitors looking for a getaway destination with top-notch boating and fishing and family-friendly sunshine. While there, you can lounge at the natural beach area of CocoPlum and the shady, well-equipped shores of Sombrero Beach.
Marathon sits in the Florida Keys, a little over two hours’ drive south of Miami International Airport (MIA), and closer to three hours from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). Both offer plenty of rental car options, as well as shuttles to Marathon. At the other end of the Keys, about an hour from Marathon, sits Key West International Airport (EYW), a much smaller airport that receives flights from around the region. There are shuttles to Marathon from various airports. However, the town is ten miles long and nearly entirely situated along the highway, and many of the tourist activities are far apart, so having a private car makes for an easier trip.
As befits a sunshine and beach destination, the summers in Marathon bring some extremely hot weather. The average highs stay above 90 degrees Fahrenheit throughout, with significant humidity. Those muggy days coincide with the rainy season, bringing large amounts of rain from June through November — which just happens to be hurricane season as well. If you’re visiting during this time, keep an eye on the hurricane forecast and be aware of the dangers. The most pleasant times to visit Marathon are spring and fall, when highs average in the 80s, though the former is drier than the latter. Winters stay fairly warm, making it an appealing destination when the rest of the country cools off.
For a pure, relaxing, classic beach day, Sombrero fits the bill better than anywhere around. Aside from the natural assets — soft sand and swimmable water — the city park offers plenty of shade, picnic areas, volleyball courts, a playground, and bathroom facilities. Between April and October the local loggerhead turtles lay their eggs here, so at times portions of the beach are closed to the public to protect the nests.
This cinematic stretch connecting the Middle and Lower Keys will leave you feeling like you’re (nearly) driving on water, due to how close the bridge dips to the aquamarine scene below. Built in the early 1900s, the original Seven Mile Bridge was retired in 1980 and earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. You can drive the modern version and see why this bridge is a popular setting for blockbuster films.
The 1,000 acres of this secluded park protect ecosystems essential to life in the Florida Keys. You can kayak or paddleboard through mangrove swamps, by rockland hammocks, and over seagrass beds, marveling at marine life such as manatee, dolphin, spotted eagle ray, and horseshoe crabs that make this park their home.