Tranquility Bay

Marathon, Florida

Oct 26, 2006
Outside Magazine
Tranquility Bay

SALTY DIGS: Taking it easy on the back porch at Tranquility Bay.   

TRANQUILITY BAY // Marathon, Florida
Fed up with the federal government, some fired-up folks in the Florida Keys seceded in 1982, forming the Conch Republic. They rejoined the Union a minute later, but a trip to the island chain and the new Tranquility Bay Resort, in Marathon—the geographical heart of the former republic—will still make you feel like you've traveled to another country. Opened in January, this palm-studded 12-acre oasis on Vaca Key has private sandy beaches, a lagoon-style pool, Hobie Cats for rent, and a fish-filled lake, plus a constant flow of tropical drinks. All 87 casual yet charming two-story cottages face the ocean, with some just a pebble's throw from the beach. One weekend here and you might want to consider becoming an expat yourself.
ROOM & BOARD: Underneath Caribbean-style metal roofs, you'll find island-themed, limited-edition artwork and French doors to first- and second-floor wooden decks. Cook your meals in a fully equipped kitchen with lemon-yellow walls, stop in the property's Butterfly Café for horseradish-crusted grouper, or hit the Tiki Bar for a blackened-mahi-mahi sandwich with Key lime mayo.
OUT THE BACK DOOR: Head to Tilden's Scuba Center and dive 75 feet down in the Atlantic to the 189-foot-long Thunderbolt wreck in search of goliath grouper. Alternately, have Captain Morris help you hook sailfish from his deep-sea charter boat, or simply relax in the shadow of the old train trestles at the beach at Bahia Honda State Park, 12 miles west of the resort. Gulfside, hire one of the resort's guides to take you kayaking through a tangle of mangrove trees around a deserted island.
DETAILS: Two-bedroom beach houses, $299–$649; three-bedroom, $399–$749; 305-289-0888,

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