A nice vacation spot in the Florida Keys. A busy place, so be sure to follow the instructions and get early reservations.
Marathon Cottages and RV Park
Type of site
$50 - $85
Dec 10-20, 2015
13-15 July 205
Book online at: http://www.uscg.mil/BaseMiamiBeach/mwr/mwrMarathon.asp Skip Key West and stay on Marathon Key, cheaper snorkeling better water, cheaper parasailing, cheaper everything and more to do. Full hook ups and only 4 RV sites makes it nice. Wifi is included in the stay. There is no bathhouse but that is why you have an RV. Rent a boat for almost half the price of Key West and there is clearer water. The police office (that pulled me over) gave me a tip to go to mile marker 61 and cross the street for snorkeling. One week in Key West and have had more fun in Marathon in two days for half the price.
June 30 to July 8, 2015
This was our second stay at this RV park. Last summer, construction was going on next door and lots of noise. This year the construction is over and a brand new Hyatt Place resort is in place. Very, very nice resort and an excellent restaurant right on the water. And the Super Boat races were held there on 5 July. We choose and got site 1. This site allows you a great water view and no other RV to look at. Sites 2,3 and 4 are close together but fortunately only one other RV was on site and it was two sites away. If 4 RV's showed up, site one would still be great but the rest would be very tight. Full hook ups. The water and power (50 amps) are at the rear of the site. The sewer connection is several feet in front. And yes the other sites have weird sewer connection locations. The place is extremely secure. You have to call by cell phone to get the main gate open. The duty officer was pleasant and I had no problems getting in. Leaving, the gate opens automatically. Hours of gate operation was 7AM to 10 PM Mon-Thur and 7 AM to 12 PM Fri-Sun. This is a busy coast guard station and the on duty crew sleeps on station. The security for me was a pretty good deal. I am a scuba diver and I could lay my tanks out with gear and not fear anyone taking them. The fence is a barbed wire type and it also made me feel secure. The Hyatt Place next door is a high end resort so I guest that is a good thing too for security. MWR was helpful but for the most part they are invisible. I did inquire about the boat rentals. The current requirement is a Florida Boater card which can be earned over the internet. And a short exam given by the MWR officer. Obviously, with so many RV'ers living out of state, this make renting a boat almost impossible. The boats are $95 per day and hours are 9AM to 4PM and you have to clean them up after each use. Best bet is to go down the street and get a boat rental all day for $100 dollars and use it from dawn to dusk. You are not allowed to launch anything from this station except the on base rental boats. The service members store their boats here but they too must take them off base to launch them. This is a terrific place for walking and biking. There is a walk/bike path all the way to the old 7 mile bridge and you can hike all the way out to Pigeon Key and back. I recommend that you do this late in the afternoon since the summer heat is brutal. AS for Diving, Marathon is equal distance to the best diving in the keys. Key largo is 40 miles east and Key West is 40 Miles west. Diving in Key Largo on the Spiegel Grove is a thrill as well as the several other great wrecks/ Marathon has the Thunderbolt and Busch wrecks. Both are spectacular. And Key West has the Vandenberg. One of the best wreck dives in the USA. And it is unusually quite here at the CGS. I will return again and again.
Overall not a bad little Coast Guard MWR campground. The $30 rate per day is not bad for the keys. Although Sigsbee is cheaper. Sites are a little narrow for a motorhome with 4 slides. Water and electrical are on the top of a 4 foot cement pillar at the rear of the site. A large oak tree near the rear our our site (RV3) limited how far I could back in. I used almost 40 feet of water hose to reach the water faucet. Our neighbor's sewer connection is almost in our site and is about 6 feet from our patio. They are very strict here. EVERYTHING IS OFF LIMITS TO ANYONE IN THE RV SITES and they mean everything. This morning I walked the dogs, had a poop bag with me, to the RV gate entrance. It's about 400 feet from the RV sites, not near any building or equipment. Within minutes of getting back to our motorhome there was a knock at the door. It was the person from the MWR office telling me the commander here saw me walking our dogs and he was here to tell me NOT to leave the RV sites area again. Wow! I had no idea the road to the gate to get in and out here was OFF LIMITS. Getting in here is not easy either. When making the reservation and reading the reservation package there was NO mention that the RV gate is locked at all times. You are suppose to call ahead to get the gate open. They don't tell you that and don't provide the phone number either. You will not get that number until you get to the locked gate and find it posted on the EXIT gate. OK that's bad enough but when you pull into the entrance there is not enough room to park without you blocking one lane of the Overseas Highway. So while you are trying to find how to gain access you are in a very unsafe condition. I understand the need for security but this procedure needs to be told to you when making a reservation. After getting in here I was told I should have called before getting here. I told the guy I would have but no one told me that. BTW the number to call to open the gate is 305.743.1991. Overall it's OK here, but I get the feeling we are really not welcome here and they just tolerate us RVers. That's fine but We will NOT return here.
January 25-31, 2015
We were in site #2 in a travel trailer. Only 4 sites so if you are sandwiched in between two huge class A's like we were then no view and cramped. Great value compared to civilian hotels but not a whole lot cheaper than the state parks (very hard to get into). There is a 10 pm deadline during the week and midnight on Fri & Sat to get back in the gate. You have to call a phone number at the gate each time to get back in so make sure you have your cell phone with you & it is charged! The hosts/caretakers in charge were friendly and helpful. Tiny installation. There was one free washer and dryer in a tiny shed next to the cottages. We found lots of active things to do but found the very busy Rt 1/Overseas Hwy to be annoying. Overall, a good place to stay and use as a base to explore from. I believe they were about to add a tiny store at the caretaker's location near the cottages.
November 15-21, 2013
Rick from MWR called in the AM to make sure we were arriving then greeted us at the gate. He gave us the internet code, rules, showed us the laundry and told us about Sombrero Beach 2 miles away, white sand and picnic tables. Good launching point for kayaks. We were in site #1, had a nice view of the water. Very quiet here except for the construction next door 8am-4pm Monday-Friday. We talked to some of the guardsmen but for the most part did not see them much. Only saw the dog from a distance, never by the RV sites. Only RV 4 of the 7 days we were here so using the free laundry was no problem. Internet is OK most of the time, no TV with the antenna. The rate is now $30 per day, a bit high for military, but the location is great if you want to explore the "Keys". The Mile Marker 48 sign is just past the gate - but look for the red & green markers at the gate -easy to spot.
6 - 20 Feb 2013
I initially did a review when we arrived on 6 Feb concerning issues with renting the boats. After staying 2 weeks at Marathon, I am posting some updates. When we arrived, we were greeted by one of the MWR folks and given a letter from 2005 that explained the rules; many of them were currently out of date. We hardly ever saw someone from MWR again, unless we hunted them down to ask a question. About half the campers received the internet codes when they arrived and half did not. We had to get it from another camper and passed it on to at least one other camper. I learned from reading reviews on this site about the free laundry, but another camper went into town and paid $4 a load because they didn’t know. The facility has one large-capacity washer and dryer near the cottages and I never had to wait the two times I used them. The washer and dryer each take about 45 minutes to run through their cycles. The best thing we found about this campsite is the location. We towed a trailer, so it was easy for us to get around in our truck. We loved the close location to several State parks, especially Bahia Honda. For those who don’t have a seperate vehicle to get around, it isn’t a great place to stay since there isn’t any recreation available on the station. Our neighbors rode their bikes around, and said when they got tired the local taxi company would haul them and their bicycles back from anywhere in Marathon for $5.00. Yes, the dog Roscoe was allowed to roam. He’s friendly and I’m an animal lover, so I didn’t mind. When I saw him “dumping” in the camping area, I simply let one of the coastguardsmen know and asked them to please have someone police the area. As far as renting one of the boats, we never saw them leave the station. Here is an update we received on current rental policy in an email from Casey Malloy, the regional MWR director: “Required documentation: up until Dec 12, the only requirement to rent a boat was a specified online boat safety class. However, after the inspection the requirement is to attend a AUX (8 hour) boat safety class in person. This is the process we are currently addressing. As to the specific documentation, completion of the class should be signed by the local flotilla training POC. Again, we know that is a strain for our customers and that is why we are going forward to request a change to that requirement based on Florida Law and the lack of available classes. In addition, our plan (nothing is completed) to waive the Auxiliary course to anyone with a qual letter from their OINC certifying them as coxswains for small boats. For cutter men they have to present a Deck Watch Officer or coxswain certification. For both they have to be either assigned and/or no more than 3 years from their last underway assignment.” If you want to rent a boat, I suggest you contact them for the current rental information. Give yourself plenty of time because most of the Coast Guard Auxilary courses are taught over a month-long period. Also, I don’t know if “the local training POC” in this case means the course has to be taught in the Florida Keys so you need to get clarification on this before wasting your time. If anyone has the answer, it would be much appreciated if you posted an update.
OK location. Limited in walking area. Surrounding area primarily non-retail, non-tourist business in our opinion. No real amenities or facilities. Small RV site is all there is. NO access to any facilities (gym, bldg restrooms). No water access of any kind or boat, kayak, canoe launching. MWR rep greets on arrival; that is extent of involvement. Access in/out not a problem. With only 4 RV sites on one side of base and 4 cottages on other there isn't much activity. The young CoastGuardsmen were all polite. Really only negative is the Base not adhering to the published pet leash policy. Their station dog, Roscoe, was always loose without leash and peeing on RV wheels and dumping all over. Despite repeated comments to the young men outside and to #3 in charge maintenance chief, there was no interest, concern, or call to attention about the problem. Response was the master chief oic made base policy. Unsure of real meaning of that. I believe in everyone following all the rules.
6 Feb 2013
This is our first day at this facility, and I hope to write more later, after we get a better feel for the place. But I just had to write about our experience with the boat rentals. One of the reasons we came here was the easy and relatvely inexpensive access to boat rental. For a year, my husband and I have looked forward to leisurley days out on the water hunting for lobsters and doing underwater photography. I was aware the cottages got first dibs on the boats, but I figured there would be some days available to us during our two-week stay. Right after checking in, I asked who we should talk to about renting a boat. I was immediately asked if I had sat through the 9.5 hour Coast Guard Class. No, I spent a couple of days doing the online Boat U.S. course which I was told was required--I had my card and a certificate. Well, the rules had "just" changed and now you needed to take a 9.5-hour course in a classroom, that was offered nowhere in the Keys. It's not the fault of the MWR folks here--they are frustrated that their boats are now sitting at the docks. Here is the real irony. My husband is a licensed boat captain able to pilot 100-ton vessels. His license is issued by the COAST GUARD, yet he is not allowed to rent a recreational boat here at the Marathon COAST GUARD station. He spent 96 hours in a classroom and a minimum of 500 days at sea to get this license. When I made our reservation, I was told this license could be used in lieu of the Boat U.S. course which I took. Carol Cox, CMSgt Retired, USAF
February 2 - 6 2013
We are located here as I write this review. Reservations were easy. Download the pdf form and fill it out on your computer and send it in via email with you credit card information or you can fax. The reservation clerk is very good and will send you a receipt and confirmation when all is complete. This is a great location midway out on the Keys. It is nothing fancy but worth the price as everything else around is $100 a day plus. We have a reasonable space but may be a little tight for some. The concrete patios are cracked and need repair. The 30 and 50 amp power is stable and good. Water quality great and free wifi is the best I have found across the USA as very fast speed and easy to get on. The free laundry is a plus. The front gate is not manned but you have to a call box which rings the command center office and you tell them who you are and they open the gate. You also need to unhook your toad/car before getting here as the turn and gate entry is short and narrow. Getting out all you need to do is pull up to the gate and it will open. They have a great deal on renting boats for the day for $98 from 8AM to 5PM for about $95 for the day plus what fuel you use. You will need to prove you have taken and passed a Coast Guard Aux. training course before they let you have it. This is not a resort but beautiful view of the bay and quiet. RV1 space is closest and faces water on passenger’s side of rig. RV2 space is OK. RV3 space has a tree in the rear that limits backing up all the way. RV4 space is OK. RV5 space is OK. RV6 space is OK and has no one on drivers side but lots of grass. Lots of grass to walk dogs on leash. Local restaurants are plentiful within a few miles for all meals. Gas and diesel are same price as southern Florida but I still topped off coming out here in Homestead FL.
J.B. left this review using the Directory software: - This is a great place to stay for a base camp! No frills but is secure, quiet, and convenient to explore Keys. We stayed 4 nights and very happy with location. Didn't look to do any rentals but were told of availability. No store but KMart close and other grocery stores.
April 28th-April 30th, 2012
Great for visit to Keys. Very quiet and secure. Used as base camp and was able to leave and come back and not worry about rv. Must be totally self contained due to no bathrooms, showers etc. Very nice and received prompt replies to emails and reservation.
Apr 22 - 25, 2012
This is just the right spot to explore the Florida Keys. Simple full hook up for your RV and a great base camp. If you want an RV Resort, then look else where. It is a secure site with a gated entrance so you have no worries leaving your rig there while you are out and about in the Keys. I found all the personal I came into contact with to be outstanding. My Grandson and I loved watching the Coast Guardsmen load up and take out their Patrol Boats each Morning. There is a small facility for rental of some equipment, but I did not check it out as I was there to explore, future trips may include activities such as fishing or boating, then this may become important to me. I was given a tour of one of the cabins available for Rent and was very pleased with what I saw. Again this is not a RESORT, it is a simple base of operations on a small "Law Enforcement" facility. This site is use by several "Law Enforcement" groups and that activity comes first, but I found it to be no problem in any manner and will return here again and again (if available).
12-25 June 2011
Okay, hold onto your hat, this may take a while. For those looking for the "campground" experience; campfires, yucking it up with your neighbors, walking to the cantina for things, this isn't your place. The MWR "shack" is just that, a tool shed size bldg that you can reserve one of three 21-22', center control, outboard powered boats for $80/day plus gas. We had a great time renting one. Be prepared to show FL boating course and take a 20 question test before renting a boat. There is no ticket sales, and only the smallest of supplies, e.g. a few bottles of sunscreen, some t-shirts, but thats it. This station is 100 yds wide by 300 yds deep. Thats it. For those looking for a base of operations, this place is the heat! As a family of four, we had a blast traveling up and down the Keys from this Marathon location. Two miles from this station there is a Publix and Winn Dixie for groceries and a K-Mart, all in the same parking lot/across the street from each other. In the K-Mart parking lot there is also a Tom Thumb with the cheapest diesel in the area. A turtle rescue center is 1/2 mile from here. A dolphin research center is at MM 57 and is wonderful for the whole family. 7 Mile bridge is only one mile from here via a bike path (which parallels the complete US1) and it a great ride. Bahia Honda SP is just west of the 7 Mile bridge and is the spot for beach activities. There are also public beaches east and west along US1. Utilities are 50 and 30 amp and provide unwavering power. Water was a constant pressure and sewer provided no problem. As stated, there are only 4 sites and being a small station, not that much space to maneuver and back in rigs. The USCG personnel are wonderful and stay to themselves. They are friendly to talk to and did answer questions about the local sites and activities.
August 10th 2010
Don't go here! Especially the cottages, you have to clean the cottage after you leave, I'm not talking just pick-up, I'm talking mopping the floors and scrubbing the bathroom. You better bring your own towels, the ones provided are about 100 years old and totally worn. You cannot move around the very small complex, everything is off limits. This was just a bad experience.
23-25 April 2010
Great Location, halfway to Key West. No bath house, but full hookups. No real facilities for use, a small store, but it's mostly for buying fishing gear. For $25 a night, it's a steal. Looked at other campgrounds in the keys, but this provides the peace and quiet we like. The reservation process seemed a bit complicated, but it's worth the trouble.
3 - 10 November 2009
Sure the reservation process is not user friendly, but it is manageable. The location makes it easy to get to Key West and other areas of interest. There are two 30Amp and two 50Amp sites. Site three is tight against site two, but for the most part sites are very deep and spacious. Gate cards are a thing of the past. Gate combo is now in use. Rick and Randy do a good job of managing the sites. After a trip to look at Sigsby and how tight those spaces are, I am glad we stayed where we did. We would go back again. $25.00 a day in the Keys in November is a good deal.
March 11-22, 2009
This was our second visit to Marathon Coast Guard Station RV Park. Both times we were in site #4. Both times we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. There is enough to do in Marathon that we did not miss the usual on base amenities and facilities. After 70 days at Trumbo Point with no water, sewer or electric Marathon CGS is heaven.
Jan 3, 2009
Not a place for me. Smelly sewer less than ten feet from door of slot 2 convinced me to forfeit payment for three more nights and move after one night. Pretty waterfront about 150-200 feet away was off-limits to RVers. No wi-fi or cable TV. I also got the $250.00 for lost card speech. In-brief/welcome consisted of do nots, but the guy - Rick - was pleasant. Different guy on duty the next morning was a jerk. Sometimes you feel like a second-class military person. I moved to Jolly Roger, about ten miles away near MM 59and paid $8.50 a night more with PassportAmerica. I highly recommend Jolly Roger. For sure I won't go back to the CG station.
8-15 December 2008
We have stayed here before and enjoyed it, having learned you are basically on your own for activities. We happened on it previously and just happened to grab 5 open nights. This time we wanted to be sure, so we reserved. A rigorous procedure - you call the Miami phone number; we got a helpful guy who confirmed our dates were OK, and then took my Visa to hold it, but I had to MAIL the application, because he said the Coast Guard does NOT honor a fax'd signature. OK, fine, we abided by their regs, I took our laptop to a Kinko's, printed the application from their website, and invested $.42 and mailed it. Got a cell call from Miami confirming receipt of same and we were good to go. Got there afternoon of 8 December, got our site. Five days later we went to Key West to scope out Sigsbee since we wanted to go there next, and also did laundry and went to the Navy Exchange (NEX). Headed back to Marathon and I fumbled for my gate card to get access back to the USCG Campground, and could not find it. Punched the intercom on the gate and we got in OK. Next day we searched long and hard for the card, no luck. Being the honest soul that I am, I went over the the Camp host and told him I lost my card. He flatly said, "Hope you got your checkbook, because that will cost you $250." I had remembered being warned NOT to lose the card, but $250? Scheeez!!! Decided to go back to Sigsbee the next day and look in the laundry for the key. There IS a God because there, on the shelf above the washers, was THE card!! Some good soul had found it and just put it on the shelf, rather than throwing same away! LESSON LEARNED: Do NOT, repeat, do NOT lose your gate card! It ain't a Holiday Inn keycard!! These guys are SERIOUS about the replacement cost and they said in no uncertain terms that if you walk away with it or lose it, the US Coast Guard WILL find you and you WILL pay! You have to sign a statement to that effect, which we did, to pull into your space. Final thoughts....rules is rules is rules. Would I stay there again? Certainly. Just a bit more difficult to reserve, you're on your own, and FOLLOW THE RULES. Remember this is the 'real deal'. These guys can and do go out on missions 24/7, sometimes with the .50 cal mounted on the prow, ready for whatever they might encounter. They are serious about their mission, and expect you to seriously honor their rules.