Feb-March 2016 (2 weeks)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dec 16, 2008
Easy access at well marked gate. Four RV sites with electrical (30 & 50A), water and sewer. No cable or antenna TV reception. Very clean, friendly staff. This is a working high security base, be prepared for the restrictions. You are limited to the campsites and/or cabin areas only. At $25 per night, it is reasonable. No laundry, restrooms or showers. No exchange facilities. It is a place to stay while you do other things. We will camp here again in the future.
April 16-23, 2007
We were in the park for the week of April 16 -23, 2007. First of all let us say that if your are looking for a RV site with secure, full hook-up, slightly over priced ($20.00 per night, with thoughts of an increase to $25/30), no amities (no internet, no washer, with the nearest full military support at the Key West Naval Air Station, 40 miles away) then we can highly recommend the Coast Guard Marathon RV Park. There are a few cautions. The location and getting into the park is more than just tricky, it can be almost impossible. The entrance gate is located just a few feet off of US-1. The gate is TV monitored, unmanned and electronic controlled from the headquarters building. There is a push to talk communications box located too low to reach from the drivers window of any class 'C' or class 'A' motor home. The first caution is that if you are towing a 5th wheel or a motor home with a tow vehicle, most of you vehicle will still be stuck well out into US-1 while you communicate with the duty security officer. Caution number two; don't try to gain entry before the published check-in time of 2:00. We arrived at 12:30, for our week stay, and were advised that the park manager was out to lunch and we were denied entry until the check-in time of 2:00 (What ever happen to delegation of authority?). We explained that we had a logistic problem in as much as the front of our rig was inches away from the gate and our tow vehicle was still blocking south bound traffic on U.S. 1. We further advised that we could not back up. Only then were we allowed to enter, but only to turn our rig around to exit and to return after 2:00. We notice that our reserved RV site number 4 was empty at that time we were turning around.