Weekend in the Florida Keys – Marathon
On the way down we stopped for lunch at Key Lime Cafe, an outdoor cafe with excellent fresh fish and the best conch fritters I’ve had (and I’m not a huge fan of conch fritters). You can explore their outdoor shop of garden accessories while you wait for your food. Grab a key lime pie on your way out. They are frozen, ready for travel and are divine! Check out their web site to order key lime products.
|Laid back fare at reasonable prices|
After lunch we drove from Key Largo through several small Keys and Islamorada to our destination at Marathon. Marathon is one of the more developed areas of the Florida Keys and has several resorts, grocery stores, gas stations and all of the basic needs for harmonious travel with kids. We thought it would make a great home-base for exploring. Key West is about 50 miles south from Marathon – another stop on our “to do list” for a future trip.
The hotel has a giant pool with lots of shade for a break from the sun and an area with zero entry, great for younger kids and moms who don’t want to get their hair wet.
|A relaxing day at the pool|
|This one we named Sammy.|
There’s also a beautiful beach area for swimming with water so clear you can wear goggles or practice snorkeling. The beachfront tiki bar is a great stop for afternoon refreshments and the resort has all of your watersport needs covered, including sailboats, Waverunners, kayaks and paddle boards. We rented a kayak and tried paddle boarding with the kids on the front of the board. The boards are very forgiving so they are great for wiggly children. If you are lucky, you may encounter a manatee or sea turtle while paddling.
|It’s hard not to relax here|
|Everyone wins at Sunset Grille!|
There are plenty of opportunities to fish, snorkel or scuba in the Florida Keys. Check out one of the several active coral reefs just minutes from Tranquility Bay. Although they have diminished over the years there are still spots to see active and colorful marine life. We chose to take a snorkeling trip to Sombrero Reef with the Starfish Snorkeling crew. They specialize in families and everyone in our group loved it! It was some of the best snorkeling I’ve done and they really took the time to explain the safety rules but also, have a little fun too. Ask my 5 yr old how many pirate jokes he picked up along the way. Argh! The ride on the catamaran was an experience in itself. They let the kids sit up front for maximum splash potential. Before getting in, they showed us pictures of fish that we might see while snorkeling. They have all the gear you need including life jackets and pool noodles which came in handy when swimming with the kids. We buddied up and held on to the noodle together. The crystal clear water was like swimming in a fish tank and you really didn’t have to go far to see fish. We got up close and personal with all kinds of colorful marine life, and even saw an eel and a sea turtle. Our favorite were the parrot fish and yellowtail snapper. Not only did we learn about different kinds of fish, but also learned a lot about the coral reefs and how to take care of them.
We will definitely be back for another trip to paradise so stay tuned for more adventures down south.
1. Hotel and resort prices go up dramatically in the winter. It’s actually pretty affordable in the fall and late spring. Price shop.
2. Dress is very casual. Bring bathing suits, cover ups and dry clothes for when you aren’t in your bathing suit. 90% of the restaurants don’t care if you come in in T-shirts and shorts.
3. If you are flying, check flights into Key West and Miami. If you fly into Miami, the first Key is about 60 miles away.
4. Consider a rest stop in Homestead before you hit the main drag because you can get stuck in traffic and there aren’t many places to refuel or use the restroom.
5. Try some key lime pie!
6. When in Florida, don’t forget the sunscreen!