Marathon



Grassy Key

Grassy Key in the Middle Keys is located on US Hwy. 1 at mile marker 60, below the Conch Keys. It is one of the northernmost islands in a chain of islands that comprise the City of Marathon, Florida. Grassy Key is home to many family owned resorts located both oceanside and bayside, as well as many private residences, although the key is sparsely populated in comparison to the original City of Marathon "proper" farther south. The entire key was incorporated into the City of Marathon in 1999.

The Dolphin Research Center is a dolphinarium located in Grassy Key at mile marker 59.


Crawl Key

Crawl Key in the Middle Keys is located on US Hwy. 1 between Grassy Key and Long Point Key, which is part of a long stretch of road known as the Grassy Key Causeway. It is entirely within the city of Marathon, Florida.

The island was named for the pens (kraals) where large sea turtles were once held until butchered for steaks and soup. The entrance to Curry Hammock State Park, on Little Crawl Key which is adjacent to Crawl Key on the oceanside, is located here.


Long Point Key

Long Point Key in the Middle Keys is located on US Hwy. 1 between Crawl Key and Fat Deer Key, which is part of a long stretch of road known as the Grassy Key Causeway. It is entirely within the city of Marathon, Florida.


Fat Deer Key

Fat Deer Key in the Middle Keys is located on US Hwy. 1 at  mile markers 56, between Long Point Key and Key Vaca. It is entirely within the cities of Marathon, Florida and Key Colony Beach, Florida.

It has the only road leading to the city of Key Colony Beach, known as Sadowski Causeway.


Key Vaca

Key Vaca in the Middle Keys is located on US Hwy. 1 entirely within the borders of the city of Marathon, Florida. It is often incorrectly identified as "Marathon Key."

Various theories as to the origin of the name exist. The most likely example is that the island was named after Alavar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, who wrote a detailed account of the 16th Century exploration of Florida. Other theories revolve around the word Vaca, meaning "cow" in Spanish. The 1957 book The Florida Keys indicates that the island's name comes from wild cattle that used to live on the island. Evidence of these cattle has never been found. The name may also refer to manatees, "sea cows" that thrived in the area prior to the 1950s.


City of Marathon

Marathon is a city located in the Middle Keys on Knight's Key, Boot Key, Key Vaca, Fat Deer Key, Long Point Key, Crawl Key and Grassy Key islands.

Though the area has been settled for some time, Marathon is a relatively new city, incorporated in 1999. The city's boundaries (according to both the city and a 2001 Rand McNally road map of the Keys) extend from the east end of the Seven Mile Bridge (Mile Marker 47) to the west end of Tom's Harbor Bridge (Mile Marker 61), excluding that portion of the area within the city limits of Key Colony Beach. Among the islands found within the city limits are Boot Key, Knight Key, Hog Key, Vaca Key, Stirrup Key, Crawl Key, Little Crawl Key, East and West Sister’s Island, Deer Key, Fat Deer Key (excluding the portion in Key Colony Beach), Long Point Key, and Grassy Key.


Key Colony Beach

Key Colony Beach is a city in the Middle Keys. Most of the city is located on an island formerly known as Shelter Key; a small part of the city is on Fat Deer Key where the Sadowski Causeway which is the only road entering the city, connects to US Hwy. 1.

Prior to the early 1950s, Shelter Key (on which most of Key Colony Beach is located) was a 97-acre  low-lying island. Then, Phil Sadowski began dredging around the island, adding to its size and increasing its height to six feet above mean sea level, and later built developments on the island.

Around 1956-1957, residents of nearby Marathon began discussing incorporating the entire area. Sadowski was not keen to having his development swallowed up into Marathon, so he began the process of incorporating the island into its own city. The Florida Legislature passed legislation in June 1957 allowing incorporation, which local residents passed unanimously in September, thus creating today's Key Colony Beach.


Boot Key

Boot Key is an island in the Middle Keys located adjacent to Key Vaca. Boot Key is within the city limits of Marathon. The island is largely undeveloped despite having a bridge spanning Boot Key Harbor to Key Vaca, which is now closed to pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

Immediately adjacent to Boot Key is a 38-acre tract of land from which the United States Government broadcasts Radio Marti. These broadcasts consist of news and cultural information intended for residents of Cuba.

A hawkwatch is conducted every fall on Boot Key.


Knight's Key

Knight's Key is an island in the Middle Keys, located entirely within the borders of the city of Marathon on US Hwy. 1 at mile marker 47, at the western end of Key Vaca and eastern end of the Seven Mile Bridge.