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Marathon, a 10-mile-long city considered by many to be the middle of the Florida Keys, is located mainly on Vaca, Fat Deer, and Grassy Key. To the east of the city is the world-famous Seven Mile Bridge (MM 47), seen in many movies. On the west end of the city is Tom’s Harbor Bridge (MM 61). Marathon, like much of the Keys, is a major sport-fishing destination; it has several marinas with charters for fishing in either the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean. It is also a popular diving, snorkeling and spearfishing area, and an open lobster season. Marathon is a great place to try to catch a few.

Seven Mile Bridge

Sombrero Reef, part of the only living coral barrier reef, is a popular diving spot because it’s just a few miles offshore. Beyond that, on the Florida Straits, you can go wreck diving on artificial reefs. The Hawks Cay Resort and Marina and the Dolphin Research Center are two fun places to get up close with the local sea life. Both offer interactive dolphin encounters with educational experiences the whole family can enjoy. Crane Point, another place of interest in Marathon, is a 64-acre tropical hardwood hammock with nature trails to enjoy and explore. Marathon has the only airport in the Keys. It’s not big, but it stays pretty busy. There are many unique boutiques and quaint little shops to browse for that something special, be it a t-shirt or jewelry made of local shells or gems, to always remember your trip to the Keys.

Dolphin Research Center

Places to Eat

As the day ends and it’s time for dinner, Marathon has some great places that offer everything from local seafood favorites to delicious steaks and other delights.

The Hideaway Café is located at MM 58 on Grassy Key at the Rainbow Bend Resort ocean side. They’ve been there for over ten years and serve breakfast and dinner. Their dinner menu, with a definite “French Cuisine” feel, includes escargot selections, crepes, roasted whole duck, lobster, and fresh local seafood, all paired with a wine list that is second to none.
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The Island Fish Company, located at MM 54, bayside in Marathon, has it all: great shops, wonderful views and a Tiki Bar where they’ll make you any drink you can think of, 365 days a year. Upstairs you’ll find fresh local fish direct from the boat. Their menu focuses on fresh seafood, but they offer some chicken selections as well. Check your stress at the door and come on in.
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Seven Mile Grill is a landmark restaurant in the Keys, located just north of the Seven Mile Bridge at MM 47.5 on the bayside. The grill offers chicken, steak, sandwiches, homemade soups and, of course fresh, local seafood. This local favorite has been open for over 45 years.

The Butterfly Café at Tranquility Bay Beach Resort, located at MM 48.5, is a great place to enjoy sophisticated dining in a beautiful garden setting. When you book your stay at this world-class spa and beach resort, you also get the benefit of a wide variety of eclectic foods found along the world's coastlines, capturing the essence of the islands. The menu and wine list change seasonally, but always fresh, local seafood and other ingredients. The café is open daily for dinner, and has a special menu for the kids. They also have a Tiki bar poolside and one on the beach, so you can enjoy the fabulous sunset and cool off with a fruity tropical drink.
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Much of this community’s heritage is rooted in fishing, and the town itself has that the old-Keys style and laid-back feel that make the Keys so inviting. Lobster season is a big draw to Marathon, but all summer long it’s a great place to visit. The people are nice, the fishing is great, the shopping is eclectic and the rum is flowing. Come on down and enjoy! They have a dolphin waiting to meet you.

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