"Vaca Key and Boot Key Harbor" Top 5 Page for this destination Marathon by grandmaR

Marathon Travel Guide: 192 reviews and 397 photos

Above is a trawler going out the entrance channel at sunset across the Marathon Marina's new docks - taken in 2002 while they were still under construction. We were impressed by the new docks, which have phone jacks and pumpout facilities at each slip.

There is no such key in the Florida Keys as Marathon. Marathon was named by Henry Flagler's railroad workers who were rushing to finish the railroad to Key West while Flagler was still alive. They were working 10 hour days 7 days a week, and one of them called it 'a marathon'.

The actual keys included in the City of Marathon, starting at Vaca Cut are Vaca Key where I have pictures of the Crane Point Museum, and next to it Boot Key. Off Boot Key on the ocean side are East Sister Rock and West Sister Rock, Treasure Key and Tingler Island. Between Vaca Key and Boot Key is Boot Key Harbor which is where many cruisers wait out the winter or wait for a weather window to the Bahamas. On the bay side of Vaca Key are the small Fanny Keys and Stirrup Key - the latter attached by road to Vaca Key. West of Vaca Key (i.e. towards Key West) is Knight Key which is primarly the location of a large campground, and then about 2 miles west of Knights Key is Pigeon Key and then at the other end of the Seven Mile bridge is Bahia Honda where there is a lovely state park. East (toward Miami) is Key Colony Beach, Grassy Key and Fat Deer Key.

When the railroad was being built, the local inhabitants lived at Crane Point.

We've been to Marathon by boat several times. On the first occasion - January 2001 we tied up at a friends dock for a few days before going to Marathon Marina. Then on the way back, we anchored off Fat Deer Key, and had a scary experience.

On the next trip down ( December 2001), we anchored twice on the way down to Key West (Stock Island), and the second time we were just off Hawk Channel north of Marathon. On the way back ( January 2002) we were in Marathon Marina for a week on our way to the Bahamas.

This time, we are based in Marathon for the winter. We would have been quite happy here, except for the major irritation of the marina policies. So when we come back to the Florida Keys, it won't be to this marina.

Our trip back started on March 21, when we went to Indian Key

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Wonderful laid back place for water sports
  • Cons:Expensive in season- hurricanes off season
  • Last visit to Marathon: Mar 2004
  • Intro Updated Sep 15, 2008
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Reviews (93)

Comments (10)

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Sep 15, 2008 at 10:47 AM

    You must spend all of your time in port writing tips! Thank you for sharing - liked the bridge story.

  • Jun 26, 2008 at 2:35 PM

    Sparkeys has a great happy hour on Thursday and Fridays. Beers are cheap and there is music.

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Aug 6, 2007 at 6:41 AM

    great page!

  • Mar 7, 2007 at 11:01 AM

    The Keys Fisheries is well known up here in Toronto. I have had a craving for a lobster reuben since my stay in the Keys. We sat at a picnic table overlooking the gulf and washed down the Reuben with a few Key West Lagers, the overall experience was 5*.

  • XenoHumph's Profile Photo
    Jul 5, 2005 at 11:10 AM

    Beautiful sunset! Excellent page! I know Marathon, Texas, which is very dry in the middle of the desert... very different from that one!

  • sprdak11's Profile Photo
    Sep 17, 2004 at 9:30 AM

    Great information and pictures! Greetings!

  • mafootje's Profile Photo
    Aug 10, 2004 at 10:06 AM

    Well...that's a more extensive page as mine :-). Good tips

  • sinequanon's Profile Photo
    Feb 25, 2004 at 8:44 AM

    good to know there is a Marathon in the US which (most probably) looks much better than the original Marathon.

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Feb 24, 2004 at 9:44 PM

    You must eat out a great deal! This is an impressive list of restaurant tips. Detailed, informtive, and a unique kind of travel. Sounds heavenly.

  • JudyinPA's Profile Photo
    Jan 28, 2004 at 2:09 PM

    Ah, the life of boat people. Sounds like a fantastic way to travel. We stayed at a condo on the beach and traveled by bikes from there.

grandmaR Used To Live Here!


“"..an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered." G.K. Chesterton”

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