You asked for a great “Keys to do list”, so here it is, a comprehensive Marathon to Key West “to do” list as found in the go to guide The Road To Key West


  • Old 7 Mile bridge (good walking shoes)
  • Sombrero Beach
  • Crane Point Hammock (nature walk)
  • Aquarium Encounters
  • Hideaway Cafe (Grassy Key dinner $$$)
  • Bongos Cafe (Grassy Key)
  • Butterfly Cafe (dinner $$$)
  • Frank’s (Italian)
  • Keys Fisheries (food and drink)
  • Irie Island food truck (across from Home Depot)
  • King’s Seafood (lunch, fresh seafood market)
  • Brutus (lunch, fresh seafood market)
  • Burdines (lunch with a view)
  • Castaways (lunch / dinner)
  • Dockside (happy hour)
  • Marathon Mermaid (sandbar boat ride)
  • Sea dog or Marathon Lady (fishing)
  • Captain Pips (lodging, Starbucks coffee)

In Between:

  • Veterans Beach (just below 7 Mile Bridge)
  • Bahia Honda State Park
  • Horseshoe swimming hole (mm 35 bay side)
  • Spanish Harbor free boat ramp (mm 33.7 bay side – photo of you and your Mustang rental)
  • Spanish Harbor Bridge (fish)

Big Pine Key:

  • Big Pine Key Resort (RV campground)
  • Keys Boat Tours (eco tour to half day day sandbar, fish, snorkel, paddle. And, hands-on boat lessons too: 305-699-7166)
  • Longbeach Road (key deer, bike, walk)
  • Big Pine Community Park (end of Sands Rd)
  • Coconuts Bar and package store (we’re all here, but we’re not all there)
  • No Name Pub (You found it!)
  • Old Wooden Bridge Cottages (lodging)
  • Key Deer Blvd (key deer, bike, supermarket)
  • Longhair Ranch (hippie campground)
  • Blue hole (alligator)
  • Captain Hooks (Looe Key reef snorkel)
  • Pine Channel Nature Park (west BPK ocean)
  • Lower Keys Tackle (bait and tackle)

Little Torch Key:

  • Kiki’s Sandbar (beachside drinks and dog friendly)
  • Parmer’s Resort (lodging)

Ramrod Key:

  • Boondocks (lunch, dinner, good happy hr)
  • Looe Key Reef Resort “tiki Bar” (bar / music)
  • Five Brothers Two (Cuban food, fresh seafood, lobster tails, grouper, etc)
  • A swimming hole (Sunset Park)

Summerland Key:

  • Tonios (lunch, dinner, happy hr)
  • Keys Boat Tours (tours and lessons)

Cudjoe Key:

  • Square Grouper (top lunch, dinner spot)
  • Cudjoe Sales (tackle)
  • Low Keys Fisheries (fish market)
  • First Class Seafood (fresh seafood)
  • Broil (seafood, steak restaurant $$$)
  • Blimp Road (mm 22 bay side, drive to end)
  • Cudjoe Marina (fishing guides)
  • Blimp Road boat ramp

Lower Sugarloaf Key:

  • Sugarloaf lodge
  • Sugarloaf Marina (pontoon rentals, guides – Hire a guide to visit Marvin Key here)
  • South of the Seven (dinner)
  • Sugarloaf Blvd (loop road, jumping bridge)
  • Sammy’s Creek (little park, ocean view)

Recommend phone apps: All Trails, Strava

Geiger Key:
MM10 ocean side, turn at Circle K to go to:

  • Geiger Key Marina (RV park, kayaks, food – This is a very special hidden place)
  • Free boat ramp

Stock Island:

  • CFK School pool (across from hospital mm 5)
  • CFK School library (desk, AC, internet, bathroom)
  • Hogfish bar (great bar, food, dock walk)
  • Boyd’s Campground
  • Roostica (wood fired pizza and more)
  • Perry Hotel (marina, restaurants, pools)
  • Lobster boat yards (great for photographs)
  • Free boat ramp

Key West:
Go left (for an ocean view)

  • Airport (and little park just in front)
  • East Martello Tower
  • Smather’s Beach
  • Higg’s Beach
  • West Martello Tower (donate $2, garden)
  • Salute’ restaurant
  • Casa Marina (check out beach here)

This is all driving ocean to Gulf side of KW

  • Duval Street (ocean side more mellow)
  • South Beach (cafe)
  • Bahama Village
  • Blue Heaven (great restaurant and vibe – Share a slice of key lime pie)

Other good restaurants include: Little Pearl, Kaya Island Eats, Onlywood, La Trattoria, 915 (Duval), Bagatelle, A&B Lobster $$$, and Cafe Sole (modern French $$$)

  • Green Parrot Bar (a must, great music)
  • Hank’s “hair of the dog” Saloon
  • Garbo’s food truck at Hank’s (a must)
  • Mary Ellen’s Bar & restaurant (hidden gem)
  • Sloppy Joe’s (classic bar if touristy)
  • Hemingway House (tour)
  • Butterfly Conservatory (tour)
  • La Te Da (drinks, food, & at night, drag show)
  • Five Brothers (Cuban food, coffee)
  • A walk through the cemetery 

Admire the Key West architecture and flora

  • Fort Zachary Taylor State Park (a must – Great alternative to Mallory Sq sunset, also pretty good snorkeling)
  • Mallory Square for sunset (once)
  • Hog’s Breathe Saloon (bar and music)
  • Smokin Tuna Saloon (bar and music)
  • Irish Kevin’s (bar and music)
  • Lagerheads (beach, food, beer, chairs, etc)
  • Cuban Coffee Queen (food and coffee)
  • Schooner Wharf (bar, food, music, view)
  • Schooner sunset sail (worth every penny)
  • Various churches (all worth a look inside)
  • Key West Theater (live music)
  • Studios of Key West (various art shows)
  • Pepe’s Cafe (breakfast, Bloody Mary, vibe)
  • Pier House hotel and Chart Room bar
  • Harpoon Harry’s (diner – breakfast, lunch, dinner & Blue Plate Specials!)
  • Kermits (key lime pie)

Also recommend (on the Blvd):

  • Sister Noodle (Cantonese food – lunch, dinner, eat in, take out – very good!)
  • Goldman’s Deli (breakfast, a New York feel diner, tasty food, great customer service)

Note: circumnavigate KW on a jet ski tour

Note: hire a guide for a backcountry sandbar tour – highly recommended 

Dry Tortugas: fly or boat – book way early

Sunset Key: formally Tank Island

  • Make a reservation at Latitudes restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and get a free boat ride to and from Margaritraville Resort Key West. It’s just 7 minutes away (and for many) is considered a super memorable dining experience $$$$

I hope that this (partial) Marathon to Key West list helps your visit more complete and enjoyable. It looks like your otherwise one or two days Keys visit might need to become five or six. Or, you might come and never leave. You won’t be the first.

People who live in Key West love Key West. Marathon people, a city nearly 50 miles away from Key West are pretty loyal to Marathon too. Said about Big Pine Key, “Nothing finer than a Piner.” To most outside of, or in between Key West and Marathon, Key West represents a hospital, doctor, appointments, and otherwise only a handful of casual visits per year. For many of us who go to Key West, we cannot get out fast enough. I think it’s the crowds, traffic, and difficulty with parking. It is not that we don’t love Key West. It is just – where we live is very mellow in comparison. Marathon always has a better deal on gas. That gets us there. It is also an easier place to navigate for shopping and the like. There is Home Depot, West Marine, Publix Supermarket, and now – Starbucks. But, no need to compare. There is something for everyone here in the Keys, be it on land or sea, as shown by our in depth albeit partial “to do” list. We are a place sandwiched in between the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States, and the beautiful Gulf side backcountry – our wonderful rural water island seascape. Glad you can visit, or return – and enjoy. There is a lot more great info where this came from (in the book).

You can purchase The Road To Key West here. It is also offered at the popular Key West book store, Books & Books. It makes a great gift for locals (Hotels, guest houses, Airbnb, VRBO’s) and visitors alike.

Have fun and be safe.