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Features to Look for in a Profitable Vacation Rental in Marathon, FL

Marathon, FL

For investors looking to generate passive income, a rental vacation property in Marathon, Florida is an excellent investment option. Nestled in the Middle Keys, Marathon boasts stunning beaches, world-class fishing spots, and an incredible array of outdoor recreational activities, all of which draw in tourists from within the state and beyond. 

Renting out your property in a highly sought-after tourist base like Marathon can provide investors with a steady source of income. What’s more, the added benefit of personal use allows owners to create cherished moments with family and friends. 

Overall, there are tons of benefits to buying property in Marathon, both for the family’s use and for generating income from as a rental. This article delves deeper into the factors that investors should consider before buying property here, as well as the different neighborhoods found in Marathon, FL.


Marathon, FL

From snowbirds to summer tourists, Marathon, Florida has seen no shortage of vacationers since its rise to popularity as a veritable holiday destination. And since the area is known for its abundant water activities, prime fishing areas, engaging social clubs, and stunning white-sand beaches, tourists are often willing to pay premium rates for rental properties.

But investing in a vacation rental property in Marathon isn’t merely about generating income. It’s also about creating unforgettable memories with loved ones. When it’s not rented out, owners can use their property for personal trips – a unique perk that sets this investment apart. And there’s no better place to connect with people than in Marathon.

Almost everybody greets each other by name in Marathon. Characterized by a tight-knit, community-oriented atmosphere, Marathon is home to some of the most welcoming locals in the area. Retirees, young professionals, and families alike flock to the seaside town in droves, making up a population of approximately 9,000, around half of which are seasonal residents.


While Marathon is undoubtedly an excellent place to invest in, you need to take the following factors into account before diving into this endeavor to avoid potential issues along the way and ensure that you’re doing everything by the book.  

  1. The local laws and regulations

  2. Some cities and towns have strict rules on short-term rentals, including zoning laws, occupancy limits, and licensing requirements. Others may even prohibit these in certain areas. That’s why it’s essential to do your research and comply with all local laws and regulations to avoid potential legal issues. For example, Marathon allows weekly rentals while the nearby Upper and Lower Keys require a minimum 28 days’ stay for single-family units.

  3. Expenses 

  4. One will have to dig deep into their pockets before investing in something with higher-than-average price points like a vacation rental property. That’s why it’s important to calculate all your costs before making a purchase. Consider the up-front fees, maintenance costs, property taxes, insurance, utilities, and other expenses associated with owning and operating a vacation rental property. 

  5. Revenue potential

  6. The point behind making an investment is to make a profit from it in the long run. This is why you should look into the revenue potential of your vacation rental property before making a purchase. You can do this by finding out the average rental rates in the area and then calculating the potential revenue based on occupancy and rental rates.

  7. Local market and seasonal demand 

  8. Understanding how the rental demand trends each year is key when purchasing a rental property. Residential demand differs greatly from vacation rental demand, so it’s essential to know the difference. Knowing the seasonal fluctuations in the area can help tailor your investment strategy and attract more guests to your property.

  9. Professional property management services

  10. Managing a vacation rental property can be a lot of work, especially if you live far away from the property. Consider hiring a property management company to handle the day-to-day operations, including guest check-ins, cleaning, maintenance, and marketing. Property management services can help you save time and ensure your property is always in top shape for guests.


Marathon, FL

  1. Accessible location 

  2. As the old real estate adage goes, location is everything. This is especially true for an investment property. A property in a safe neighborhood with a constantly increasing population and infrastructure is far more likely to attract new residents compared to one with few job opportunities, few school options, and low housing demand. For a vacation rental, location-specific factors such as weather and access to beaches and tourist spots should be what you’re looking for.

    Marathon, Florida is one of the most desirable places in the Middle Keys. Location-wise, everything is just a few minutes away – from the plethora of tourist attractions and exciting food and retail options to the dazzling beaches with white sand. Plus, the Seven Mile Bridge will take you to other destinations that offer their own sets of places to visit, including the Lower Keys.

  3. High safety

  4. Crime rate affects the desirability of an area – no one wants to go on a vacation in a place that is unsafe. Before investing your resources in a property, ask about police presence, check the rate for serious and petty crimes, and study the trends (whether the crime rate is declining or on the rise). Ideally, you should invest in a low-crime area to appeal to a large number of renters.

  5. Pleasant climate

  6. Florida isn’t known as the Sunshine State for nothing. You’ve got clear skies for most of the year here, and Marathon isn’t exempted from this luxury. Marathon’s calendar of events for the summer months is filled to the brim with one activity after another even while temperatures soar to the upper 90s. Another favorite time for out-of-towners to visit is from late October to late November when temperatures start to drop. Snowbirds seek to escape the harsh winters of the North and travel down south to the warmer climate of Florida. 

  7. Abundant physical and social facilities

  8. The most profitable vacation rentals are often the ones closest to physical and social hubs. For many tourists, a thriving social scene makes a vacation more exciting. Consider choosing a property that’s close to restaurants, sports halls, parks, bars, and cultural centers as this is a guaranteed way to attract a steady stream of eager tourists. 

    Community-oriented and lively, Marathon has no shortage of vibrant social hubs for tourists to explore. boasting an animated nightlife and an exciting lineup of bars. Local favorites include Key Fisheries Bar on 35th Street, a seafood joint with a casual atmosphere and stunning water views. Meanwhile, you can enjoy a wide selection of cocktails and live entertainment at The Brass Monkey, an upscale dive bar at K-Mart Plaza.

    Parks and sporting areas are plenty here. Marathon Community Park boasts multiple tennis courts and ball fields, as well as a skate park, community theater, outdoor amphitheater, and cinema. Only a few steps away is the Florida Keys Country Club, the town’s premier golf course.

  9. Reasonable rent

  10. A property with reasonable rental prices is likely to have a larger pool of potential renters. You’re less likely to experience long vacancy periods with the steady stream of renters and, in effect, you also ensure yourself a steady income from this investment. Charge exorbitant prices for your rental and you risk limiting – or even losing – your market. To find out what a reasonable rental cost would be, you could study comparable fees of other rentals within your preferred property’s vicinity and then go for a fair but competitive rate. 

  11. Low vacancy rate

  12. Low vacancy is a good indicator of high demand and a positive market. On the other hand, historically high vacancy rates likely mean a less desirable location or an oversupply of housing. It’s important to consider both short-term and long-term trends in the market to gain a complete understanding of the overall demand and outlook for a particular neighborhood or property.

  13. Low property taxes

  14. Low property taxes often translate to more savings and more funds for investors to use in developing the rental property. This keeps the rental market in positive territory, and this translates into lower vacancy rates and a higher return on investment for your property.

    Areas with low property taxes generally attract businesses and homeowners, contributing to a healthier local economy and a more vibrant community. Thriving economies bring in tourists who, in turn, drive up the demand for both short-term and long-term rental properties. This provides investors like you with greater opportunities to further expand your asset portfolio.

  15. Luxurious amenities

  16. When it comes to investing in a condo, properties with better amenities are often a better investment in the long run. Features like pools, in-house spas, fitness facilities, and exclusive membership perks can make your property stand out in a crowded market. 

    And while luxury establishments may command a higher premium initially, they can also offer a better return on investment in the end. With more amenities to offer, you’ll have a competitive edge over other vacation rental properties in the area.

    Plus, properties with such amenities often attract tenants who are likely to treat your property with respect and care. This often leads to fewer damages, less wear and tear, and ultimately, lower maintenance costs.

  17. Inviting interior 

  18. Guests need a place to relax while on vacation, and a rental with well-designed interiors can go a long way in creating that atmosphere.

    Aesthetically pleasing, simple, and chic designs exude a welcoming vibe that could lead to returning guests and referrals. With online reviews being such a critical component of the vacation rental industry, investing in a property with design elements that give a warm and fuzzy feeling can have a significant impact on the success of your property.

    Note, too, that the design and layout of a vacation rental property can affect its functionality and profitability. Maximizing space, providing ample storage, and incorporating practical features such as a well-equipped kitchen or a laundry room can make the property more attractive to potential renters. If you play your cards right, this can lead to higher occupancy rates and maximized income.


  • Bustling activity year-round. The Florida Keys sees a high volume of tourists no matter the season, making the real estate market for short-term and holiday rentals consistently active throughout the year. Plus, the area’s proximity to major cities and highways makes it easily accessible to a broad range of vacationers.
  • Countless recreational opportunities. The area offers various recreational activities such as fishing, diving, and other water sports, attracting vacationers who want to enjoy these activities for weeks at a time. Marathon is especially known for its fishing spots and beaches.
  • Personal use. Owning a rental property in the Florida Keys provides an opportunity to generate rental income while also enjoying the beautiful scenery and activities the place has to offer.
  • Local and foreign clients. With the growing popularity of short-term vacation rentals, owning a property in the Florida Keys can attract a global clientele, further boosting rental demand and increasing the potential for high returns on investment. In 2022 alone, approximately 7.02 million foreign tourists made their way to the Sunshine State.


Marathon, FL

Coco Plum 

If you’re looking for a property that offers the perfect balance of solitude, natural beauty, and dog-friendly fun, Coco Plum Beach is the ideal neighborhood to invest in. Situated on the Atlantic Ocean, Coco Plum Beach boasts a pristine stretch of sand that’s perfect for romantic walks, sunbathing, and taking a refreshing swim. Plus, the beach is an epicenter of nature preservation as you’ll find turtle nesting areas and an adjacent wetland. This not only allows visitors to enjoy the sun, sand, and surf, but to also view nature up close. 

Sombrero Beach 

Sombrero Beach may be farther south than the typical Miami excursion but it’s the perfect destination for vacationers seeking a quieter and more secluded beach experience.

Sombrero Beach is approximately halfway down the Keys at MM 52, making it accessible from both Key Largo and Key West. The beach features pristine waters and a sandy bottom – perfect for water activities. It also offers a picnic area, shaded shelters, and playground equipment for families traveling with children.

But what sets Sombrero Beach apart is its pet-friendly policy. As a vacation property investor, this means that you can attract a wider range of renters, including those who don’t want to leave their furry friends behind. 

Little Venice 

As part of the Middle Keys, Little Venice benefits from the area’s reputation as a fishing paradise that draws in both sportsmen and tourists. Aside from fishing, however, the area offers many other attractions that visitors can enjoy, making it an excellent year-round destination. 

Stirrup Key 

Stirrup Key offers a decidedly residential feel, making it an ideal place for vacationers who want to feel like they’re part of the community. The proximity to the water also means that there are plenty of opportunities for boating and ocean activities.


Angel DiGiorgio provides clients with the highest caliber of real estate services. With her extreme attention to detail and unique insight into the breathtaking world of Marathon and the rest of the Middle Keys, Angel has been instrumental in the sale of thousands of homes in the region for more than 25 years. She has helped investors from across the country maximize their resources by connecting them with the perfect rental property in Florida.

Explore the most profitable vacation rentals in Marathon Shores, Duck Key, Long Key, Grassy Key, Conch Key, and other communities in the Middle Keys. Get in touch with Angel DiGiorgio by calling 305.509.0971 or sending an  email.