Marathon FL Beaches

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by Kristin Young | Updated On: March 3, 2022 | beaches

Marathon FL beaches are some of the best you’ll find in the Florida Keys. As with the Keys in general they may not be so impressive as others in the state, but between Sombrero, Bahia Honda, Sunset and Coco Plum, they provide both locals and visitors with a place to relax, paddle, swim, picnic, snorkel, cycle and watch the sunset. 

Whether you want to walk the dog or spend the entire day wildlife-spotting, there is a Marathon beach in Florida for you. While the most impressive are Bahia Honda and Sombrero, Coco Plum and Sunset also have charms of their own.

Sombrero has a tropical feel. As there are plenty of amenities, you could easily spend several hours or even a whole day there. You can snorkel from both Sombrero and Bahia Honda. The latter is a popular state park with wildlife, gardens and cycle or walking trails, and you can also rent kayaks, snorkels and other equipment. Boat trips also depart from Bahia Honda.  

Sunset beach comes alive as the skies begin to darken, with visitors and locals gathering to hear live music, relaxing under a tiki umbrella as the sun goes down. Coco Plum is also small, but conveniently located and usually pretty peaceful. 

Also covered in this guide are the resorts with beaches of their own – including Isla Bella, Key Colony and Tranquility Bay, so do take a look at this section if you’re thinking about where to stay in the Middle Keys. 

If you want an insider’s view of the finest beaches in Marathon, read on to find the best beach in Marathon, Florida to visit during your tropical vacation. From a great public beach in Marathon, FL to luxury resorts and Key Colony rentals, discover all you need to know right here. 

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Marathon FL Beaches

MARATHON BEACHES: PUBLIC BEACHES

Sombrero Beach

Sombrero Beach Aerial View/ Photo credit: John Gallant, Shutterstock

Of all the Marathon beaches in Florida, Sombrero beach is one of the best. Fringed by palm trees that sway in the breeze, this stretch of sand has a tropical feel. It also has a large kids’ play park, picnic pavilions, barbecue pits, beach showers, volleyball courts and restrooms. 

Marathon Sombrero beach is also one of the biggest in the area, which means it’s less likely to feel crowded than other beaches in the Middle Keys. It’s also been wheelchair accessible since a government revamp that took place in 2001. 

The beach is free to enter and is a good place for a swim. You can also enter the water here with a kayak, and it makes a lovely spot from which to watch the sunset. Sombrero beach, Marathon has a local feel, and isn’t generally full of tourists. This means there aren’t as many rentals available, so do bring what you’ll need for the day if you can.

Parking adjacent to Sombrero beach isn’t usually a problem at all, and it’s not difficult to spend the entire day here. Located close to mile marker 50, it’s pretty easy to find once you know where to look, although it often has the air of a well-kept secret. Although you can launch a kayak here, there are no mangroves at the beach, which makes a refreshing change: you’ll need to paddle a little to reach them.

Between April and October each year, Sombrero beach, Florida is home to nesting loggerhead turtles, so access is limited during this period in order to protect both the adults and their eggs. 

Otherwise accessibility is very good, with a wide, flat walkway suitable for buggies, wheelchairs and small mobility vehicles. Dogs on leashes are also permitted on the beach.

Popular activities at Sombrero beach, FL include fishing and snorkeling. If you do want to snorkel, make sure you pack your mask and flippers, as you can snorkel directly from the beach. Don’t get the name mixed up with Sombrero Reef, though, as that’s only accessible by boat. 

While you’re not likely to see larger sea life at Sombrero beach in the Florida Keys, you may spy a small and colorful tropical fish as well as some little corals. Venture over to the rocky ledge and you might even see a sea urchin. 

As one of the top beaches found in the entire Keys region, Sombrero beach in Marathon, Florida is well worth taking the time to visit. If you hanker after a white sandy beach with palm trees, warm waters and not too many tourists, Sombrero really is your best bet when visiting between November and March.  

Coco Plum

Coco Plum Beach Marathon Fl/ Photo credit: Rachael Martin, Shutterstock

Located off Coco Plum Drive in Marathon, Coco Plum beach in Florida is narrow and has limited amenities, but if you do want to find a quiet spot it’s not normally very crowded. Stretching for around three quarters of a mile, it’s well-kept and has parking as well as restrooms.

Unfortunately sargasso seaweed was something of an issue when we last visited Coco Plum in Marathon. This kind of seaweed is stringy and brown, so it didn’t make the beach look its best. It’s slippery and unpleasant to walk on too. When this does happen, you may find sargasso floating in the sea and strewn across the sand.

The beach is cleaned each morning, so it should be as clean as you could possibly expect to find it, especially if you visit earlier in the day. While Coco Plum beach in Marathon, FL is unlikely to top anyone’s list of ultimate favorites, it’s generally a peaceful place for a seaside stroll or to chill out on. Kiteboarders are often seen here too.  

Bahia Honda State Park

Along with Sombrero, Bahia Honda offers some of the finest beaches in Marathon, Florida. Highlights include long stretches of white sand, good snorkeling opportunities and warm, shallow waters. We think it’s the best Marathon beach, so do make time to visit during your vacation if you can.

The beaches are part of Bahia Honda State Park and can be found close to mile marker 37 on Big Pine Key. As well as the award-winning stretches of sand, it’s also home to a historic bridge which is significant in the area’s development, particularly in terms of tourism. 

In fact there are several beaches at Bahia Honda – Loggerhead beach, Sandspur and Calusa. With lots of amenities, Bahia Honda is a popular place, so do arrive early if you can. Facilities you’ll find here include the rental of umbrellas and chairs as well as snorkeling and kayaking equipment.

You can also buy snacks, meals and drinks at Bahia Honda. Do bring your own sunshade and water if you can, as there is limited shade available. The park is open from 8am to sunset daily and it currently costs $8 per vehicle to enter. 

You can also book boat excursions from Bahia Honda, or stay on the park to look out for local wildlife. There are lots of wading and shore birds to be spotted, as well as other native flora and fauna. You can follow the natural trails to maximise your chances of a sighting. 

Intriguing plant species to spot include the key thatch palm, gumbo limbo, the rare yellow satinwood, Florida silver palms, poisonwood and the threatened small-flowered lily thorn. The Wings and Waves Butterfly Garden close to the Loggerhead parking lot is also known for skippers, Mallow and Martial Scrub-Hairstreaks, Malachites and Lyside Sulphurs.

As part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, you can also expect to see native birdlife here. Flocks of species such as yellow-crowned night herons, sanderlings, ruddy turnstones and povers arrive at low tide to feed, and the area also provide a habitat for endangered white-crowned pigeon.

During fall, you may spy hawks swooping over the ocean, or keep you eye on the old railway bridge for a view of American redstarts or yellow-billed cuckoos flitting between the trees. 

The ocean is also home to dolphins, sea turtles, rays and other fish of all sizes and colors. Now and then, a nurse shark may also show up. 

Anyone who enjoys being active won’t be disappointed with these Marathon Key beaches either. During your visit you can cycle, hike, paddle board, swim, kayak, walk, ride, dive or snorkel. 

Bahia Honda’s other amenities include boat ramps, campgrounds, gardens, picnic areas, restrooms, showers, a playground and a visitor center. In short, the park has all you need for a full day out. Just sitting in a lounger on the sandbar as the warm water laps at your ankles is a simple pleasure worth making the trip for.

Sunset Park Beach

Though one of the smaller beaches in Marathon, Florida, Sunset Park is, as the name indicates, a lovely place from which to watch the sunset. While the public beach area at sunset park more closely resembles a sandy park with seating and a small amount of water access, it is usually peaceful and thus a good place for picnicking or relaxing. 

Dog walkers are often seen on the beach throughout the day, and although it’s not the best of the beaches in Marathon for swimming it does usually have clean, clear water. Don’t enter the water, though, or you may just become a crocodile’s dinner!

At sunset this place really comes alive, with locals and tourists gathering the watch the sunset. There is often live music, and the thatched tiki umbrellas dotted among the palm trees add to the tropical ambience. 

To some Sunset Park is not a true beach at all, but the hotels and condos lining the water in Key Colony tend to have nice little man-made beaches. Do check out the section on that below if you might like to stay in the area. 

MARATHON BEACHES:RESORT WITH BEACHES

Tranquility Bay

If you like the sound of a deluxe, award-winning property with plenty of amenities, Tranquility Bay, Marathon might be the place to book for your next vacation. Though it’s easy to reach from the Overseas Highway, it feels like a world away. 

Tranquility Bay on the Florida Keys has an exclusive air, not least because each private beach house has its own entrance. The colonial-style property boasts its own beach, plus three swimming pools and water sports facilities. 

Think white-painted wooden verandahs, white sands dotted with swaying palms and comfortable, luxurious accommodations. As well as the beach houses, which come with their own spacious porches, there are the more affordable guest rooms located by the tropical gardens.

Tranquility Bay in Marathon, FL is a relaxing resort with a tropical, laid-back vibe. The decor is fresh with lots of bright white and pops of blue, with cool tiled flooring and touches of natural wood or rattan. 

As well as three pools, 87 guest rooms and houses and the private beach, the resort has a tiki bar by the sands, the award-winning Butterfly Cafe, a golf putting green and a fitness room. The pools include one which is adults-only and one shaped like a tropical lagoon.   

Marriott Courtyard Marathon

Courtyard Marathon Florida Keys offers accommodations and amenities in an idyllic waterfront location for your vacation. The hotel has an infinity pool surrounded by private cabanas, and once the sun goes down, evening entertainment and activities are provided on site. 

You can dine throughout the day with two eateries to choose from, which offer filling breakfast menus, colorful and refreshing cocktails and dishes and snacks with a tropical feel. 

The Marriott Courtyard also gives guests direct access to one of the top Marathon beaches in the area, and has a fitness center so you can keep up with your indoor workouts too. 

All guest rooms and suites are spacious. They come with free Wi-Fi and are well-equipped, containing microwaves, mini-fridges and more. Whether you opt for a standard, partial ocean view or oceanfront room, you can expect lots of soothing blues offset by neutral shades of white, cream and taupe. 

The sandy beach has a volleyball court and there is also an outdoor hot tub, several pools, two bars, a bistro and a fire pit for guest’s enjoyment. 

Isla Bella

Occupying a magnificent 24 acre plot, Isla Bella on the Florida Keys stands about because there are sea views from all accommodations. Whether you book a guest room or a larger suite, you can lookout over the ocean all day long from the comfort of your own luxurious room. 

The clever design of this modern resort means all rooms also have their own outdoor terraces with ocean views. Inside, accommodations feature blue and white decor with modern artworks, contemporary furnishings and tropical-print fabrics. Full length windows mean making the most of those panoramic views – from sunrise to the starry skies at night.  

The Isla Bella Beach Resort on the Florida Keys also has a spa on site, and guests can swim in one of all of the five swimming pools. There are three dining venues at the resort, including a beach bar under the palm trees, a poolside grill and a recently opened Polynesian-style restaurant.

With a well-stocked gift, food and interiors store, the Isla Bella Marketplace and the serenity of the spa, this resort offers more than just one of the best beaches in Marathon, FL. 

Key Colony

If you want to stay in this area, there are various kinds of Key Colony beach rentals offered along the stretch. Often these condos offer guests direct access to a private sandy beach.

A typical example is the Sunset Beach Club. This complex has just 36 condos sharing a private fishing pier, a heated swimming pool and outdoor grill. There is also a spacious white sandy beach and landscaped gardens.

You can book Key Colony beach vacation rentals through local agencies, or international sites such as Airbnb and Vrbo. Many of the property owners have also set up their own websites for their lets, which are easy to find via a quick internet search. 

The amenities found at each apartment complex varies, but may include the likes of tiki huts, heated pools, play parks, tennis courts and golf courses. In addition to private beach access, of course. Some luxury houses can also be rented via sites like Airbnb, some of which are located right by the water. 

WHICH MARATHON BEACHES WILL YOU VISIT?

We hope this guide to Marathon FL beaches helps with your vacation planning. As fans of all things tropical we love the Florida Keys, and having recently returned from a trip are already plotting where to stay and what to see and do during our next one. 

If you have to choose, don’t miss a visit to Bahia Honda, with Sombrero beach coming a close second. Ideally, stay at one of the luxury resorts or condos with its own private beach, then you really can enjoy the best of both worlds.  

The beaches near Marathon, Florida are heaven for wildlife lovers too – not only on land but also beneath the surface. So if you’re headed to Bahia Honda or Sombrero, make sure you take your mask and fins for a shore snorkeling experience you may never forget.

Looking for more ideas for your next Florida Keys trip??? Check out all of our Florida Keys Guides HERE!

Profile Kristin and Andrew with palm tree background

Hi!  We’re Kristin & Andrew, lovers of everything tropical.  We spend as much time as possible searching for the best beaches, snorkeling, hiking, and fun in the sun!