With a population of just over 10,000, Marathon is the closest small town to Duck Key in Florida. Don’t let its small size put you off though, there are several beautiful resorts here and it’s truly one of the nicest areas in the Florida Keys. And even if you are booking a 5-star resort, who doesn’t love getting a deal. Click here to see all the offers currently available from Expedia.
Below are three of the most popular resorts in and around the Duck Key area.
Hawks Cay Resort
Located right on Duck Key, this beautiful resort is very convenient if you are planning on diving it. The scuba tour company Better Than Most SCUBA is located on property at the Hawks Key Resort making it very easy to book a trip. They have pool training and easier trips for beginners, and more experienced divers can do advanced or rescue training, or even book special tours for lobstering or spearfishing. Some of the best diving in the world and easiest access to the Great Florida Reef is located right here in Duck Key, most trips are two tank reef tours that visit two locations so you can see the biggest variety of wildlife. If you have family members or friends that don’t dive, they are welcome to come along and snorkel or just enjoy the ride!
As for amenities at the resort you can expect world-class restaurants with plenty of seafood, a tranquil spa with full services, multiple pools and a saltwater lagoon, dolphin experiences, and a fitness center. You will have your choice of hotel rooms, suites, or private villas for accommodations.
Tranquility Bay Beachfront Hotel and Resort
Located in Marathon, the Tranquility Bay Beachfront Hotel and Resort, as its name would suggest, sits right on the beach front. They work with the A Deep Blue Dive company to book hotel guests on diving tours of the local reef and a couple of shipwrecks. Beginners can get certified in the pool at Tranquility Bay before heading out to see some of the abundant marine life the reef has to offer. In addition to diving, guests of the resort can book sunset cruises, book waverunner jet-skis, snorkel, and paddleboards.
The resort itself has a 2.5 acre private beach, with plenty of palm trees for shade from the hot Florida sun. There are also three pools, two restaurants, a beachfront bar, a fully-equipped fitness center, and a volleyball court. It doesn’t have an on-site spa, but you are able to book spa services in your room. Now, I love sea turtles, so this may only be of interest to me, but the hotel is also located very close to the ‘Turtle Hospital’ rescue and rehabilitation center. If you have kiddos they might enjoy getting to see the turtles up close and learning about conservation efforts in the area.
Isla Bella Beach Resort
Not quite in Marathon, the Isla Bella Beach Resort is located a short distance away on Knight’s Key. One of the unique features of this property is that every single room and suite has an ocean view and a terrace to enjoy it from. That’s great, but what about the diving?! Well, the management at Isla Bella know that the exceptional diving in the area is one of the things that draws folks to the Florida Keys, so, yes, they have Dive Isla Bella onsite providing certification and tours for beginners through advanced divers. I did see two tours that I didn’t see offered by the companies at the above properties (they might have them too but it wasn’t immediately apparent): a night dive and tours of the wreck of the Thunderbolt. During night dives you’ll see some different creatures than you would during the day, and the Thunderbolt wreckage is home to Goliath Groupers that can weigh up to 400lbs!
The property itself is stunning, it was constructed fairly recently in 2019 to best take advantage of its beachfront location. There are 5 oceanfront pools, a marina where you can book all of your watersports, a conference center, and a 1000 square foot fitness center. It’s quickly become a popular destination for weddings and it’s not hard to see why, you’d have a hard time taking a bad photo at this gorgeous resort.