If you are looking for a Florida Key day trip with beaches, history, and an escape into nature, Marathon is the Florida Key to visit.
Accessing the water is easy in the Keys, with marinas, boardwalks and docks but if you’re looking for a nice beach spot Bahai Honda State Park is the place to visit.
You can’t visit the Florida Keys without hearing about Henry Flagler and his influence. Although the Flagler Railroad that connected all the island doesn’t exist anymore, you can see remnants of it within the Bahai Honda State Park. Located at the far end of the park you can walk on the once remnants of the Bahai Honda Flagler Rail Bridge, giving you a great view of Marathon and the Seven Mile Highway.
If the water is calm I’ve heard you can spot fish from the upper deck though we didn’t have any luck though the kids swear they saw jumping fish.
Not far from the entrance to the bridge you’ll find park’s nature centre. Kids will love seeing the displays and trying their hand at the Mystery Boxes. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous ask the ranger for the nature scavenger hunt. This booklet will send you looking for clues throughout the park. Bring back the hunt when completed to claim your prize, though the real fun is the exploring.
Bahai Honda is also known for its beaches, Calusa, Loggerhead, and, Sandspur. Each offers bathroom and change facilities though none of the beaches are monitored by lifeguards. We especially love the Calusa beach near the bridge, with a few covered picnic areas and sandy shallow shores.
After a morning exploring Bahai Honda enjoy a seafood lunch at the Sunset Grill and Raw Bar. You can sit outside under beach umbrellas by the marina and pool or indoors under the huge tiki hut. I enjoyed shrimp tacos but you can find all sorts of seafood plus kids options. If you’re looking to chill with a cocktail, Sunset has a board of specialty drinks in crazy souvenir glasses. My husband and I shared a tsunami in a volcano glass.
After lunch you can escape into a natural wilderness at Crane Point, less than ten minutes away. As you drive down the tree-covered drive, it’s hard to believe this place is right off of the main highway.
Although you can walk around the many lovely pathways through the reserve (the map and signs make it easy to explore the various areas) I would recommend taking advantage of the trolley tour run by local volunteers through the nature trails. Having our guide Dan on hand to point out significant markers, provide stories on the history of the areaand answer questions was so beneficial.
Our guide showed us the oldest house in the Keys outside of Key West. We also had a chance to spy birds, fish and butterflies. We visited a pond to watched fish; we visited the wild bird sanctuary and saw hawks, pelicans and osprey that had been rescued and were on the mend and; we walked over the wooden bridge to the butterfly meadow to spot these fliers.
Marathon Key offers a great family escape for the day. if you’re looking at extending your stay within Marathon, Hawks Cay Resort, a place we’ve stayed at in the past, offers great family accommodations.
If you’re looking at planning your own day trip to Marathon or any of the Florida Keys, you can find more ideas on their site http://www.fla-keys.com/
Thanks to the Florida Keys Tourism for their assistance during our visit.