To qualify my review- Im picky, to a fault, & rarely do experiences meet expectation let alone exceed them. The home, the area, the homeowners were simply amazing. I'll start with the home- Ive learned that with VRBO & like companies have some homeowners that will overstate their property, location & oversell with misleading text & pictures. I found this out resulting from a less than ideal experience with a vacation home we rented. As a result, I've made it a practice to contact the homeowner before booking. The communication was great email and phone calls. I asked about the pool, the landing/dock area and proximity to the beach. We have 3 kids ages 5,7,9 so the safety, pool size and beach proximity were essential. Over the course of the calls we started a dialog that made me feel like I was family! Their home did not at all feel like a vacation rental. Perfectly equipped kitchen, washer dryer, furniture, electronics (tv, sate, wifi, dvd), beds, bedding etc. The views are amazing, we saw dolphin daily & a manatee + had coffee each am starring out into the atlantic over crazy blue/green waters. Pool is perfectly sized as is the patio area. There is an amazing tree that must have a nickname b/c it's such an iconic, beautiful part of the outdoor area. As far as the beaches & location, if you know the keys then you know marathon is ideal. Went to Key west for the day (hour drive) & we went to Bahia Honda (state park/beaches) for the day- (10-15 minutes). Key west with a family is fun to visit but not to stay. The beaches & some of the scene can be less than desirable for kids or teens in key west. Bahia Honda was outstanding & after traveling much of the caribbean I can speak with a little bit of experience. Stay away from the designated beach area & get lost on the less traveled beaches, you won't regret it. Didn't make it to Sombrero beach which is a 5min drive & the local favorite. Local eateries were great & reasonably priced. We ate at the stuffed pig (don't be fooled by the name) which was freaking awesome, the sunset grill- decent food, great location & atmosphere. hogfish grill- really not worth the drive but great food & service. Conch Republic in Key West- overall was our fav for dinner & The Stuffed Pig was our fav for breakfast/lunch. The food quality, variety, prep, portions & service were all impeccable! Can't say enough about this home, the area & the homeowner. We loved the home, Marathon & are already making plans to return!