As most of the regulars know beachfront rentals are a bit rare and pricy in the Keys probably because real beaches are a bit rare. Canal front is the most common rental choice because most of my regulars fish. My regulars though have significant others that might not be quite as avid fishermen, so other amenities are desired. I have been meaning to update my Where to Stay post, a comment has inspired me to get off my butt.
For the beach goers in Marathon, favorite rentals are in Key Colony Beach and have a Cabana club membership, Coco Plum and Sombrero Beach areas.
VRBO which stands for Vacation Rental By Owner, handles a lot of the Key Colony Beach (KCB) rental properties and on the whole has an excellent reputation. The Cabana Club has a special appeal for those who like a real beach but really like a fresh water swimming pool and full bar close by. KCB isn't the only beach in town. Sombrero beach is public but there a several nice homes for rent within a minute's walk Coca Plum Beach, also public and a bit more off the beaten path has homes for rent close by. These often have canal front for the fishermen and a short walk for the beach goers. Sombrero rentals can have a very short walk to one of the most popular public beaches with a view as well.
Coco Plum Beach and Tennis Club has a "classic" private beach with accommodations that have a good reputation. There are quite a few homes for rent that have smaller private beaches mainly on the Bay Side.
Tranquility Bay, Indigo Reef, Banana Bay and The Hammocks are Bay Side and each have their following. The Hammocks was formerly a hotel that has been converted to time share as part of Blue Green Resorts. There is not much of a beach there due to water sports and sport fishing docks, but they do have a small beach with hammocks of course, located close to the pool and Tiki Bar. If you are not so much into night life, Tranquility Bay and Indigo Reef have a no partying after Ten clause Most of Marathon tends to roll up the sidewalks after ten except for weekends in season when a few places adopt a 'til whenever policy.
There are quite a few other resorts/hotels in the area that have a big following Sea Scape resort, The Reef at Marthon, Kingsail Resort motel, Holiday Inn Express Marathon and the new Marathon Hyatt Place/Faro Blanco Resort are just a few of the more popular places to stay.
Pet friendly can be an issue at times with some of the resorts. They appear to have a limited number of pet friendly rooms which can limit room views that are available to pet owners. Starting with private rentals is often the best way to go in this case. VRBO has a good number of pet friendly listings and Trip Adviser can have helpful reviews and additional pictures.
Since most of the Keys natural shore line is mangroves and cap rock there are more water front homes with this type of "beach". Some folks love it, some want the "classic" sand beach. In the winter on the Bay Side, natural can be bay grass that smells a bit like rotting eggs. So if you want a "clean" beach in winter think about ocean side. In the summer the winds are more from the south which brings in jellyfish. So if you aren't a jellyfish fan consider Bay Side in the summer.
For big parties and family reunions, there are quite a few large homes/estates available for weekly and monthly rental. Some of the monthly rentals are worth a look even if you aren't planning to stay the full month. Due to zoning restrictions some of the nicer areas don't allow weekly rentals and you can get a deal on 3 plus bedrooms with dock, sometimes a boat or kayaks pool private beach and lots of other stuff. there are some great homes on Grassy and the Torch Keys that are monthly only.
For serious fishermen, there are also no frills rentals on canals with plenty of extras just older and not so large. Some park model RV/trailers are comfortable, have nice docks and are located close to some great fishing.
Most of my customers rent or bring their own boats and fishing gear, but I do have a charter boat available, the Lady Catherine run by Capt. David or Capt. Jim, where I mate for parties less that 7 people. The Lady Catherine can accommodate up to 18 people mainly for dive trips and sight seeing cruises, but fishes up to 10 people pretty well. Rental Boats are generally a better value for the serious fisherman that likes to do it himself. Some though like to hire me every day so they can do the fishing not the driving. I haven't updated that general rental information in a while but other than new equipment it is still pretty current.
The Lady Catherine sunset cruise is a tour of Sister's Creek and Boot Key Harbor with sun set viewing by the historic Seven Mile Bridge. With a large enough party the sunset cruise is about the least expensive way to get out on the water. The next low cost way to get out on the water are the local snorkel boats like The Spirit that generally do 3 to 4 hour trips to Sombrero Key reef. These trips are around $25 per person but you can find a $5 off discount without too much trouble.
Tarpon fishing is a big deal down here and there are lots of good tarpon guides. Capt. David runs tarpon trips with the smaller Lady Catherine boat and Capt. Jeff Knapp is another I recommend, but there are dozens of good tarpon guides. I try to avoid tarpon trips myself, but have shown a few the basics.
There is a lot more I cannot add in this post, but this should give you a good start. Do remember the winter/summer considerations for beach front though.
Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.