With its turquoise waters, white sand beaches and teeming marine life, Marathon is an ocean lover’s paradise. Surrounded by a barrier reef, the city sits upon 13 tiny islands in the Middle Keys, just an hour from Key West. But unlike its famed neighbor to the southwest, Marathon draws few party-goers; rather, visitors come here to fish, boat, dive and snorkel in the crystal waters.
With the ocean being the star attraction, it’s not surprising that the majority of lodging options in Marathon are focused on adventure. Most offer on-site water activities, such as snorkeling, diving and fishing. Some even offer boat ramps, slips and docks for visitors. Best of all, there’s no reason to spend a fortune to take advantage of everything Marathon has to offer — there are plenty of budget choices. Following are TravelMag.com’s top picks for cheap hotels in Marathon.
From $104/ night
Everything you need for a Keys getaway can be found onsite at Captain Pip’s. Rent a kayak, paddleboard or jet ski, try out parasailing or snorkeling, or rent a boat and head out on a fishing expedition. Back on land, relax at the pool or listen to live music and fill up on fresh seafood and barbecue at Porky’s Bayside Restaurant.
From $109/ night
Colorful and tropical, this modest, family-friendly motel is located in the heart of Marathon, less than two miles from popular Sombrero Beach. Guestrooms feature refrigerators, microwaves, coffeemakers and free wireless internet. Take a dip in the heated freshwater pool or grill up the day’s catch on the outdoor barbecue while soaking up the sun in the communal picnic area.
From $109/ night
With private beach access, an oceanfront pool and lush tropical gardens, everything you need for a great getaway is right outside your door. Take advantage of the complimentary use of the property’s motorboats and grill your own dinner at the resort’s beachfront barbecue area. In the morning, fill up for the day ahead with the included full American breakfast.
From $110/ night
Designed to resemble a Bahamian village, Coconut Cay Resort is awash with retro charm and colorful décor. Complimentary kayaks and bicycles make sightseeing a breeze, while guests in need of R&R can wind down by the pool. Rooms are just steps from the boat docks, making a day on the water even more convenient. Kitchenettes are available in some rooms, and free Wi-Fi is available to all guests.
From $119/ night
Located on quiet Grassy Key, this 10-room resort is clean and basic. Most rooms are close to the beach and feature full kitchens and Wi-Fi. Explore the coast on a complimentary kayak or try your hand at casting for bonefish right from the resort. Sway in the cool ocean breezes in a beach-front hammock or enjoy a sunset cocktail at the waterfront tiki hut.