Marathon and the Middle Florida Keys are next in your Florida travels as you head southwest down this beautiful chain of islands.
The Middle Keys start at Fiesta Key where Fiesta Key RV Resort is and they end at Knight Key.
This is where the New Seven Mile Bridge parallels the Old Seven Mile Bridge and connects to the Lower Keys.
This is also where you'll find Pigeon Key, and the Henry Flagler Museum.
You'll find that many of the small Keys are also only accessible by boat. Deer Key, Palm Islands, Fanny Key and Hog Key are just some of these tiny islands.
Situated in the heart of the tropical Florida Keys, this central position, along with a huge range of spectacular outdoor activities, makes Marathon Key Florida particularly desirable to anyone planning a vacation in the Florida Keys.
Marathon Florida Map
www.wikipedia.org, Credit US Census Bureau
One of the most distinguishing factors of the Middle Keys is that the three longest bridges are here. These bridges set the mood or tenor for the area. Journeying across them will also be one of the more treasured memories you'll bring home with you, after your Florida Keys vacation.
It's hard to describe the feelings experienced when traveling the bridges. Going over the New Seven Mile Bridge the word "jaw dropping" immediately comes to mind.
You're completely surrounded by the most amazing hues of crystal clear water. Shades of aquamarine, emerald, turquoise and blue are everywhere.
You can almost taste Florida history as your eyes are drawn to the broken sections of Flagler's old, original bridge running parallel beside you. There's a sense that the bridge you're traveling, will go on forever - and you wish it would.
In fact Florida Keys history was made when the famous and much anticipated Seven Mile Bridge Run 2012 was canceled due to horrendous Florida weather.
The 31st running of the race was permanently suspended, and participants were sent home without a chance to fulfill their dreams, and ambitions.
No doubt you're planning on enjoying a variety of Florida Keys activities while you're on your Florida vacation. The following tips will save you money on the things you'll be seeing and doing while you're here.
I'm a firm believer in only spending what I need to. If I can get a discount or save some money by booking in advance I do. This gives me more money to spend on extra things, or sometimes, even upgrade.
Vacations in Florida Keys have so much to offer. Now that you've had a chance to explore the Key Largo area, it's time to discover Marathon FL.
Surrounded by water, boating is an obvious Florida Keys activity that draws people to the region. Whether you're a casual boater, just passing through, or liveaboard like so many do at Boot Key Harbor, you'll find that the Marathon Key area to be a boater's paradise.
One event that you'll want to take in, if you happen to be in the area at the time, is the annual Original Marathon Seafood Festival. This popular seafood extravaganza is usually held the second weekend of March. In 2017 it is March 11 and 12.
This delicious Florida Keys event focuses on the fruits of the sea, the delightful delicacies the area is famous for. Mahi mahi, Florida lobster, shrimp, various types of smoked fish, conch, oysters, and of course stone crab claws are featured throughout the 2 day food fest. When you add on other local favorites such as key lime pie and other tasty treats - you end up with a food extravaganza you won't want to miss.
The Marathon festival also includes arts and crafts from a variety of vendors, plus music from local entertainers. The fun starts at 10:00 a.m. Saturday and runs through to 5:00 pm Sunday with a minimal admission for anyone over 12.
This Florida Keys event is located at Marathon Community Park, 200 36th Street, at MM 49 and look for the Park on the east side of US Highway 1. For more information call 800-262-7284.
If you're a nature enthusiast, Crane Point Museum is a definite must. Situated on 63 acres, the facility has a fairly good interpretative museum.
It's the 1.5 mile nature trail however, that really is worth the stop. Don't worry though. If you're not in the mood to walk, they have a trolley that will take you along the route.
In fact Crane Point Museum is just one of the many different eco tours you can experience while on your vacation in the Keys.
They really pack quite a lot into your visit at Crane Point Museum too. On the nature trail you'll learn about the different trees that make up a Florida Keys hardwood hammock. There's also a pretty good exhibit on local critters, along with a beautiful butterfly garden.
You'll have a chance to visit the Adderley House, the oldest home in the Keys outside of Key West. Also spend some time at the Wild Bird Center. This is an operational rehab center for an assortment of local, injured birds.
After the Wild Bird Center, you can stop off at the Crane House - the home of the family the area is named for. Last, and certainly not least will the be amazing view of Florida Bay that awaits you at the end of the trail, when you reach the Point.
If you want to experience more Florida Keys nature, take time to visit this interesting facility. It's located at MM 50.5 Bayside, 5550 Overseas Highway, 305-743-9100.
Another place you'll want to check out while in the Marathon FL area is the Dolphin Research Center. This is located at MM 59, 58901 Overseas Highway, Grassy Key, 305-289-0002, www.dolphins.org.
Here you have a chance to interact with dolphins on a variety of levels. What could be better than swim with dolphins Florida Keys, or work as their trainer for a day?
Swim With Dolphins at Florida Keys Dolphin Research Center
Photo by justthatgoodguyjim on Flickr
You'll want to budget for this, as the cost of some activities can be high. The prices vary, depending on how much time you spend with the dolphin and what level of interaction you choose.
However, when was the last time you were able to get up close and personal with a dolphin? If the answer is never - which is most likely the case - you're sure to find this a worthwhile way to spend your day and some vacation money.
Another reason Marathon Key is so popular is because of the fantastic Marathon beach located at Mile Marker 50. If you're looking for a chance to unwind, play in the warm water and soft sand, beautiful Sombrero Beach is just 2 miles off the Overseas Highway.
This is also a loggerhead sea turtle nesting area so be careful not to disturb any nests.
In the summer, the beaches aren't as pristine as they are during other months. This is when seaweed washes up on shore and can be a bit of a litter problem. However, it's fun for the kids to examine the seaweed as an assortment of interesting, small sea life lives within it's twining mass.
I suppose you're wondering what to do next. Are you up for more scuba diving Florida Keys? What about more Florida Keys snorkeling?
The waters off Marathon Florida are crystal clear. They're filled with coral reefs, and team with a variety of marine life. Since the waters are quite shallow, Florida Keys snorkeling is a true favorite.
You can see almost as much marine life snorkeling as you can when Florida Keys diving the deeper reefs and wrecks. This is rather uncommon outside of the Florida Keys, but here, with the pristine, warm water, it's an everyday occurrence.
There are three great Florida Keys reefs in the area - Sombrero Reef, Coffin's Patch and Delta Shoal. Coffin's Patch is especially nice for Florida Keys snorkeling as the coral filled shallow water is only about 20 feet deep.
The coral reefs are a haven for a variety of fish. Expect to see large grouper, and snapper, but it's the ever present and beautiful variety of Caribbean tropical fish that are most spectacular.
Two conveniently located shipwreck diving sites off Marathon are The Thunderbolt and the Adelaide Baker.
The Thunderbolt sits at 115 feet while the Adelaide Baker, which is the remnants of an old steamship is much shallower at 25 feet. It's these shallower depths that provide the snorkeling enthusiast with such diverse opportunity.
You also have a good selection of Florida Keys charter scuba diving companies in the area who can take you out to either the Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico.
Florida Keys fishing in the Marathon Key area is spectacular, and just like fishing is king, so are the tarpon. Or as they're called - the silver king.
If you're a novice fisherman, Florida Keys tarpon fishing is your best bet for catching a true game fish. In fact, explosive is the term most often used when describing tarpon fishing in the bridge channels.
Some of the best tarpon fishing is also found in the immediate area, in the channels of Bahia Honda Bridge and Seven Mile Bridge. Unlike other parts of Florida State, where the best tarpon fishing is in April - June, Marathon tarpon fishing is pretty much a given, all year round.
Another contributing factor to the great fishing in the area is the Marathon West Hump. This underwater platform creates a veritable feeding zone for small and big fish. As an angler this means you're able to fish for some of the best fighting fish. Greater amberjack, sailfish and marlin, blackfin tuna, and shark are all hot possibilities.
Yet another plus for the angler in you, is that the Gulf is somewhat deeper and open here. Combine this with the tremendous number of natural and artificial reefs in the area, and you have the perfect recipe for sport fishing for snapper, mackerel and other Florida fish.
The fishing charters Florida Keys has in this area are also plentiful. Almost as plentiful and varied as the fish. Nothing can match the skill and knowledge that comes from being on a Florida Keys fishing charter with a captain who knows his stuff.
You're out on the open water with one intention - catch a fish - preferably a really big Florida Keys fish. If you're with someone who knows where to go, and what to do, you're going to have a terrific time.
Deep sea fishing is fun, but it's also not cheap. If you're coming for Florida Keys fishing, budget ahead for the number of outings you'd like to take.
Outing prices also vary depending on whether you're reef fishing or offshore/combo fishing. You can also expect to be responsible for providing your own food and beverage, and of course sun screen. Lots of sun screen.
With fishing charters Florida Keys is like most other places. You can choose between half day, three-quarter or full day outings. Actually in most cases the difference in cost between half day and full day isn't usually double.
By taking a day charter you'll have more time to fish - less time spent on travel. The kicker on half day trips is that you lose valuable fishing time just getting there and back, unless your Captain has a very fast boat.
One nice thing about being at Marathon Key is that you're in the middle of the islands. Florida Keys travel plans are easy, whether you want to go north to Key Largo or south to Key West FL.
Charter fishing Key West is extremely popular and is where you'll find one charter company who's Captain routinely wins top awards each year. Captain Billy Wickers III success translates to his client's luck, and his passengers consistently catch big hauls when other Captains return skunked.
When it comes to Florida Keys lodging, you have a number of great options to consider in the Marathon Florida area.
First, if you're a camper or an RV'er there are some terrific State Parks and Florida Keys RV resorts to stay at. These parks boast a variety of amenities but it's their surroundings, specifically the water, that makes these Florida Keys campgrounds excel.
As far as resorts in Florida Keys go, the area has more than enough to choose from. There are Florida Keys cheap hotels, Florida Keys villa rentals, Florida Keys condo rentals. Pretty much anything you would want to rent is available.
Hotels in Marathon Florida also tend to be less expensive than in Key Largo or Key West. This means you have the ability to extend your vacation dollars, and be close to all of the Florida Keys attractions and activities found throughout the islands.
First you'll want to see about saving money on your Florida Keys lodging. The following link will take you to the main Middle Keys lodging page for the different types of accommodations available in the area.
I've broken the Marathon lodging down by type, and then you can click on the name of any establishment that interests you to get more information. When that page opens you can then play with the handy price checking widget so you can experiment with different dates and compare rates and read TripAdvisor reviews.