Places to eat:
1. Butterfly Café, Tranquility Bay : Upscale, very nice, restaurant within an upscale typical Keys hotel.
2. Keys Fisheries – Good seafood, funky, theme-oriented restaurant and fish market
3. Lazy Days South – Excellent views, abundant portions. – U.S.1 to 11th Street, make a left towards the Ocean, next to Marathon Marina.
4. Plaza Grill ¬– Upscale Italian/Continental. Good food, pricey – Celebratory – Next to Marathon Deli, where you can buy excellent Boars Head cold cuts at prices below Publix.
5. Frank’s Grill – Good, honest Italian food, cooked by the chef/owner, reasonably priced.
6. Porky’s Bayside – Barbecue, good value.
7. Hideaway Café -- Very close to our property, good food, needs reservations.
8. Barracuda Grill - - OK, can be pricey
9. Tarpon Creek - Good for pizzas, casual atmosphere – part of the Holiday Inn Express
10.Lencho’s – Southern Mexican food – Daily all you can eat.
11.Hurricane Grill – Buffalo wings/pizzas, informal eatery.
12.Several breakfast spots:
a.Sweet Savannah’s – Great cupcakes, coffee and croissants
b.Juice Paradise – Good basic Cuban food.
c.Stuffed Pig – Good American breakfast.
d.Wooden Spoon – Good American breakfast.
e.Island Fish Company – Good for breakfast and lunch
f.Baricci’s – Sandwiches, Panini, etc.
ISLA MORADA: Too many restaurants to detail. However, here are my favorites:
1.Chef Michael’s Love and Hog Fish: My personal favorite, Chef Michael does a great job with fresh fish. Also, puts out an outstanding a la carte Sunday Brunch.
2.Pierre’s: Excellent but pricey, good for celebrations, prepare to spend a bundle.
3.Tower of Pizza: Basic but good pizza and salads.
4.Lazy Days North: Same management and menu as Lazy Days South.
KEY WEST: Too many restaurants to detail. Here my favorites:
1.ZaZa’s Pizzeria: In Sugarloaf Key, mm 17, about 20 minutes before KW. Best pizza, authentic ingredients. Chef/owner ZaZa very personable.
2.Sunset Key: Small island across from KW, reachable by free ferry from the Westin Hotel. Excellent restaurants, Latitudes, fresh fish, top-notch service.
3.Lou’s Backyard: Perhaps the best restaurant in KW, has a classic menu downstairs and a tapas menu upstairs.
Things to Do:
1.Fishing: We can recommend two types of fishing charters:
- Deep Sea Fishing: We can recommend Captain Mederos, a very reliable captain. Provides ½, ¾ and full day charters for up to 6 people in his boat. Half-day = $650; Three Quarter day = $850; Full Day: $950.
-Flat Fishing (Tarpon and Bonefish): Captain Richard Keating, about the same pricing, but for 2 people
-There are various group charters that can be booked on for less than $100/day per person.
2.Boating: Numerous outfits rent boats. We like Captain Hook’s, Vaca Key, Marathon
3.Diving/Snorkeling: Again, several operators. We can recommend some.
4.Bicycling: Keys Outfitter, in Marathon, excellent firm.
5.Kayaking: Several reputable places rent kayaks to explore both bay and ocean.
6. Old Seven Mile Bridge and Pigeon Key: You will want to visit this historical attraction and museum, memorializing Henry Flagler’s construction of the Railroad that Went to Sea, widely known as the eighth wonder of the modern world. Excellent sunset viewing.
7.Crane Point: Natural Park and Museum
8.Dolphin Research Center: Just across from our property. Non-profit attraction designed to preserve dolphins and other marine mammals. Viewing and “swim-with-the-dolphin” opportunities.
NEARBY BEACHES AND STATE PARKS:
You can enjoy a good swim off our own beach, 240 ft of it, a shallow and very calm beach. There are others nearby, including:
1.Sombrero Beach.Take Sombrero Boulevard (right next to Publix, mm50) to the end. This is a wonderful active beach owned and maintained by the City of Marathon.
2.Bahia Honda State Park:Right off the 7-mile bridge (between Marathon and Big Pine Key). Voted one of the 10 best beaches in the United States.
3.Curry Hammock State Park: About 1 mile south of our property, in Grassy Key itself. Great bird watching opportunities as well.
4.Long Key State Park: About 8 miles north of our property, in Long Key.
KEY WEST: Lots of things to do in this touristy town:
1.Duval Street (very touristy);
2.Mallory Square (at sunset, by the water/cruise ship channel), lots of people, fun;
3.Several museums, including Mel Fisher’s Atocha exhibit. Hemingway’s House.
6.Southernmost point in the US.
7.Sunset Key (See above under restaurants).
8.You can also take a ferry to Ft. Jefferson/the Tortugas, a full day trip which requires either staying overnight in KW or leaving very early out of Marathon.
ISLAMORADA: Great restaurants, elegant shops.
2.Thursday Night Art
Key Largo Reef: Back in Key Largo (mm103), glass bottom boat, snorkeling, kayaking, etc.