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The Heart of the Florida Keys

Marathon Beaches

Our beach sand is special. Pick up a handful. Looking closely, you'll see it comes in many shapes. Some grains look like bits of oatmeal, other like miniature deer antlers. Fashioned by special algae which thrive in Marathon's warm waters, these specks contribute much of the sea bottom and beaches surrounding the Keys.

Broad acres of sargassum seaweed flourish in the wake of the Gulf Stream. A clump of the golden-brown algae washes ashore, buoyed by tiny built-in floats. It looks like a suntanned parsley salad. Take a handful and shake it out. You'll find small shrimp, fish and tiny crabs that make a home in this habitat. This small sea life is at the base of local ocean food webs. Fishermen love to troll around sargassum patches, a floating marine food court.

Life at our end of the food chain fortunately includes lemonade and picnics on the beach. But relaxing on the shore prepares us for more invigorating endeavors, Swimming! (And that's just for starters.)

Sunset

Dog-paddle in the shallows, or float lazily on a raft perfecting your enviable tan. Marathon's own Sombrero Beach - complete with playground - and Coco Plum Beach, lie within easy reach for local residents and area visitors.

When you stay in Marathon, you are less than 15 minutes from the #1-rated beach in the continental United States. Crystal clear waters and soft sand beach; this is Bahia Honda State Park. The palm - lined beach, remote location and sparkling waters await you just beyond the Seven-Mile Bridge. Blessed with two beaches - a rarity in the Florida Keys - Bahia Honda's sheltered, calm waters offer safety and comfort in a South Seas setting.

Tropical plants abound, and a nature trail follows the shore of a tidal lagoon. Swimming, snorkeling, diving, picnicking, fishing, boating and camping are available at the recreation area.