Aircraft Spotting Pages - Marathon Airport, Florida
If you are in the Florida Keys and want to spend some time away from the fishing and the water, drop by Marathon Airport and spend the day watching airplanes! In fact, if you are one of those people, get back to fishing!
About the Spots and What You Will See
Spot A: Spot A is located along Aviation Boulevard and is about a half-mile from the threshold of Runway 7. Park alongside the road as if you were heading towards Route 1. Aviation Boulevard is located closer to mile marker 51, while the terminal can be accessed only from US 1 South near mile marker 52. You'll get great views of aircraft arriving into Runway 7 as well as departures from 25. You will need at least 300mm to get some decent pictures from Spot A.
Spot B: Spot B is actually an area where you can sit down and set up a picnic. If you ride a bike or a scooter, you won't have any problems with parking, but by car, you'll want to park at the Marathon Jet Center and walk down to the picnic table, which is less than a half-mile walk. There is also a Pratt & Whitney J57 turbojet engine on the other side of the fence that you can get a look at while there is no activity going on. The picnic table is set up near the threshold to Runway 7 and you can get some really nice pictures from there all day long up until about mid afternoon. You will need at least 300mm to get some decent pictures from here.
Traffic at Marathon Airport is usually sparse, but there is a lot of general aviation based there as well as visiting aircraft. Jets are commonly seen, to the point that there will be quite a number of corporate jets parked on the ramp by the Marathon Jet Center. There is a BT-13 Valiant that is in one of the northern hangars at the airport, and for $75 a person, you can get a ride in a Waco biplane over the Keys and possibly get some aerobatic flight in as well. There is also an L-29 Delphi and an L-39 Albatross based there, where you can "fly a fighter jet for a day". The Monroe County Sheriff's Department has a couple helicopters based there, and you will occasionally see Coast Guard helicopters and Navy C-12s from NAS Key West shoot approaches every once in a while. There is no commercial traffic, but that might resume sometime in the future.
I personally have not spotted at Marathon and decided to make a spotting page after being down there in June 2006 and passing by the airport every time while going fishing and getting something to eat. In my opinion, the best place for breakfast in Marathon is the Stuffed Pig, located around mile marker 49. The best places for dinner include Key Colony Inn, Annette's Lobster and Steakhouse (with their stone cooking!), Porky's, Water's Edge (located near mile marker 61 at Hawk's Cay Resort), and the Hurricane Bar & Grill. The best pizza place is the Upper Crust Pizza. Don't forget all the other restaurants down there!
You might have a problem with spotting at Spot A from the Florida Highway Patrol and the Monroe County Sheriff's Department, but from Spot B, you should have absolutely no problem with spotting and taking pictures, as it seems that's why they put a picnic table there.
There are multiple fast food and sit-down restaurants as well as major retail establishments within five to ten minutes of the Marathon Airport.