Marathon is centrally located 80 miles south of mainland Florida and
more or less just 50 from Key Largo and 48 from Key West. Marathon is
served by bus lines to Key West and the Mainland, and by the sleek Marathon
airport offering connections to Miami and Ft Lauderdale and from there
to anywhere in the world.
The Marathon area is primarily an outdoor community; there’s no reason
to relocate here, in my opinion, if you don’t love the water, either
for play or for work, whether on weekdays or weekends, since you can’t
get away from it even if you wanted to, and if you work you’re going
to drive across a lot of it whether headed up or down the Keys.
And Marathon thrives on its central Keys, watery environment. Marathon
has excelent swimming beaches (not common in the Keys), and good diving
and snorkeling, from novice to experts, at all water depths. Some divers
think that some of the best parts of the coral reef along the Keys are
right here. The Sombrero Key Lighthouse area is an example.
Fishing can be either oceanside or Backcountry (gulfside), with your
own boat, on party boats, or with a personal guide. There’s plenty of
flats fishing, as in the rest of the Keys, but oceanside offshore fishing
(excelent) prevails, since there’s not quite the same extensive range
of backcountry options as elsewhere in the Keys, given there’s fewer
islands and the area isn’t quite as wild as having Everglades National
Park for your backdoor neighbor (like Key Largo).
Boating in general is a little different here. Most boating is fairly
open water or along the Overseas Highway and Keys chain; there aren’t
as many protected areas (think multiple islands for kayaking or canoeing)
as there are in either the Upper Keys or the Lower Keys or Key West.
And waters seem to have more of a chop more of the time here, too. On
both sides the water gets deeper faster.
But if you want to be on a canal with a big boat tied up at your back
door, this is a good part of the Keys to be in: lots of deep canals,
and easy Ocean access. (Most of the deep canals and good big boating
access is on the south, or Oceanside, part of the islands.) It’s also
one of the few spots in the Keys where you can easily get a big boat
or a sailboat back and forth from Bay to Ocean.
In addition to these water-based sporting activities, there’s 9-hole
Par 3 golf at Key Colony Beach, plenty of tennis, some nightlife particularly
at the resort hotels, and a variety of restaurants where you can eat
outside under the sun or indoors in air-conditioned comfort. There’s
also Islamorada and Big Pine just short drives away for variety