Islamorada is only 20 miles long, and in some places, it’s just 150 feet wide, but this tiny island is worth a stop – especially if you want to eat well.
The island is home to the original Islamorada Fish Company, which opened in 1948. Associated with Bass Pro Shops, which is right next door, the popular restaurant has a lovely location right along the water. Try to dine around sunset for the best experience.
The Florida Keys have a boating culture, and many of the locals have boats of their own, which they use for transportation throughout the islands, not to mention for fun. Perhaps this is why so many marinas have excellent casual eateries onsite.
At the Key Fisheries Market & Marina in Marathon, our next island stop, I had a Lobster Reuben sandwich which was among the best I’ve ever had. We topped that off with some Key Lime pie, of course. It was fun watching the boats come in and out of the marina, and observing the huge tarpon fish which seem to gather below the docks.
Beaches in Marathon Key
Although it may sound strange, the Florida Keys don’t have a wealth of incredible beaches. That’s because the coral reefs along the islands prevent erosion and sand buildup along the shore. Still, there are some good beaches in the Keys, including Sombrero Beach on Marathon Key.
The golden sand beach at Sombrero is wide and gentle, and there are palm trees for shade. The park facilities include picnic pavilions, volleyball courts, playground, restrooms and showers.
Sombrero Beach has many nesting turtles, and from April to October, you’re likely to see Loggerhead Turtles which have come to the beach to lay their eggs. During the nesting season, turtle nest areas are restricted.
The Turtle Hospital in Marathon allows you to learn more about these magnificent creatures. The visitor center and tour is educational and a fun way to spend the afternoon. The center can be busy, especially on rainy days, so book ahead if possible.
Marathon itself is a bustling island in the Middle Keys, and has numerous home developments, restaurants and shops.
We chose to stay at the lovely Hyatt Place Marathon/Florida Keys, which is also known as the Faro Blanco Resort & Yacht Club. Located at the site of the historic Faro Blanco Lighthouse, the resort is also a popular marina and a favorite with boat captains and their guests. Many come to dine at the Lighthouse Grill, the resort’s waterfront restaurant overlooking the marina and lighthouse.
Faro Blanco Resort opened in 2015, and the rooms are spacious and well-appointed. As you can imagine, the resort is a popular site for weddings. It’s quite something to get married along the water beneath a beautiful lighthouse.
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