Pet-Friendly Trip to Marathon: The Ultimate Guide

If your ideal vacation involves sun, fun, and your four-legged friend by your side — the city of Marathon, Florida (home of the famed Dolphin Research Center) is calling! This unique slice of paradise in the middle of the Florida Keys is incredibly pet-friendly. With dog-friendly beaches, parks, boat rentals, and restaurants, you and your pup can play all day before retreating to your own private pet-friendly vacation rental.

So, cancel the pet sitter and pack Fido’s bags; here’s the ultimate guide to planning a pet-friendly vacation in Marathon!

Splash and Play at the Beach

Photo Credit: Simon Dannhauer

Marathon has two gorgeous dog-friendly beaches, Sombrero Beach and Coco Plum Beach. Both beaches welcome dogs to swim, splash, and play to their heart’s content in the calm turquoise waters. They also offer free parking, shaded pavilions, and showers to rinse off.

Sombrero Beach and Coco Plum Beach are sea turtle nesting sites, so dogs must be leashed, and owners should be mindful of where they let them walk or dig. Keep an eye out for turtle tracks and any posted signs. Don’t forget to bring towels, doggie waste bags, and plenty of water for your pup!

Go on a Nature Hike

Photo Credit: lzf

From densely shaded forests to breezy oceanside trails, Marathon has some stunning natural areas to explore with your four-legged friend. Most parks and nature trails around the city allow dogs (unless otherwise posted), but these are delicate ecosystems. Pet owners should always abide by local rules, including staying on marked trails, keeping dogs leashed, and cleaning up pet waste. Here are a few of the best pet-friendly trails to hit up with your pup!

Crane Point Hammock

Well-behaved and leashed dogs are allowed on the nature trails and most of the museum grounds at Crane Point Hammock Museum & Nature Center. The trails have some nice shaded areas and plenty of benches to rest. Be sure to bring a portable water bowl for your pup; there’s a filling station at the entrance. The staff are also known to carry treats for four-legged visitors!

Oceanfront Park

Brimming with beautiful water views and ocean breezes, Oceanfront Park features a one-mile walking trail, a shaded picnic area, and water fountains. It’s the perfect place to have a leisurely stroll and picnic with your pup. Be sure to bring a portable water bowl and monitor your dog’s heat tolerance.

Sunset Bay Park

As the name implies, Sunset Bay Park is the perfect place to watch one of the gorgeous sunsets The Keys are known for! Your four-legged friend can accompany you on a sunset stroll throughout the short nature trails, grassy knoll, or along the pier. Dogs must be leashed and are not allowed in the water.

Curry Hammock State Park

For more seasoned canine hikers, Curry Hammock State Park offers a beautiful 1.5-mile nature trail through a hardwood hammock forest. The trail can be quite rocky with dense vegetation, so smaller dogs or dogs with mobility issues may find it difficult. During the rainy season, May through October, the trail can sometimes be muddy and plentiful with mosquitos. Be prepared with some towels and dog-safe bug repellent!

Spend a Day on the Water

Photo Credit: Maridav

Whether you prefer an all-day excursion or a peaceful sunset paddle with your pooch, Marathon has you covered. Most local kayak and paddleboard rentals, including Florida Keys Kayak & Paddleboard, are dog-friendly. Some pet-friendly vacation rentals even include them!

For a fun-filled day on the water with your dog, check out Salty Pup Adventures. Specializing in dog-friendly excursions, Salty Pup Adventures has a variety of boat tours to choose from. Due to the size of the vessel, only one dog under 40 pounds can be accommodated per trip.

Want to Captain your own boat and make Fido your First Mate? Marathon Pontoon Rentals welcomes all dogs aboard their comfy, spacious pontoon boats. You can rent by the day or even longer for extended stays.

Grab a Bite at a Dog-Friendly Restaurant

Photo Credit: Bilal Kocabas

Marathon is full of dog-friendly dining options; in fact, almost every restaurant with a patio will gladly welcome your pup. Some local waterfront restaurant favorites include Seven Mile Grill, Havana Jack’s, and Burdine’s Waterfront Bar & Grill. You and your dog can enjoy spectacular waterfront views, cool ocean breezes, and a variety of island-style cuisine.

You can also hit up happy hour with your four-legged friend at Bongo’s Botanical Beer Garden. You and your dog can relax in the tropical, open-air courtyard with live music and craft beer. Curly’s Coffee Company offers a full coffee menu and a special “puppuccino” for its four-legged patrons if you're looking for a caffeine fix.

Enjoy Some Off-Leash Time at the Dog Park

Photo Credit: bringfido

If your dog plays well with others, Marathon boasts a spacious dog park where your four-legged friend can enjoy some social time and run off-leash. Marathon’s Dog Park features large play areas with plenty of shade, a water fountain, and a double-fenced entrance for safety. The park is divided into two sections for small and large dogs.

Know Before You Go - Keeping Your Pet Safe In The Florida Keys

Photo Credit: Prystai

Vacation is all about having fun, but with our furry friends in tow, it’s important to take extra precautions. Here are some safety tips for visiting The Florida Keys with your pet.

Heat Safety

When exploring paradise with your pup, it’s important to be mindful of the heat. Temperatures in The Florida Keys can reach well into the 90s, especially during summer. Pets can overheat quickly. If you’re planning outdoor adventures with your dog, always check the temperatures and follow heat stroke prevention guidelines to keep them safe.

Worried about where to leave your dog while you hit the beach in the middle of the day? Don’t worry; Fido can relax in his own private vacation rental with air conditioning and pet-friendly amenities. He’ll be happy to join you for dinner at the end of the day when things cool down!

Water Safety

If you have a water-loving’ pup, they will have a great time splashing and playing in the many water activities Marathon offers. Just be sure to know their limits when it comes to swimming and keep them safe with a doggie lifejacket. If you don’t have one, there are marine supply stores around Marathon where you can buy one.

While Marathon has plenty of water, it’s important to note that not all bodies of water are dog-friendly. The Florida Keys are home to crocodiles who sometimes hang around docks. It’s important to heed any posted warning signs and only let your dog swim at designated dog beaches.

Plan Your Perfect Pet-Friendly Stay

Looking for your perfect pet-friendly stay? Coco Plum Vacation Rentals offers a wide variety of pet-friendly vacation homes conveniently located along the Overseas Highway with easy access for day trips to Islamorada or Key West.

With more amenities than you’ll find in pet-friendly hotels, a private vacation rental offers you and your pet a more comfortable and peaceful experience. Whether you're looking for a luxury resort-style home with a pool or a cozy beachside bungalow, there’s something to suit every traveler, even the four-legged kind.

Book your perfect pet-friendly vacation rental now!