Faro Blanco Lighthouse in Marathon, Florida Keys | Full guide – how to get there
Lighthouses have helped sailors safely navigate the coast in ships and boats since time immemorial. To this day they remain important aids to navigation, but the active Faro Blanco Lighthouse in Marathon, Florida, is an exception. It is one of the so-called Faux Lighthouses, built not to save ships at sea, but to attract tourists.
So on our Florida trip, the Faro Blanco Lighthouse was a guiding star where we enjoyed stopping and spending time. We love discovering such inconspicuous treasures, even in very hyped places like the Keys.
With a rotating spotlight, Faro Blanco serves only as an auxiliary landmark for pleasure boats. And while it is not located on as picturesque a rocky shore as the lighthouse at Point Reyes, it can be called quite beautiful, even despite its simple architectural forms and lack of an upper gallery with railings around the light source.
In general, not much is known about the Faro Blanco Lighthouse, even though Americans have a great love for these kinds of structures. It was designed by Le Barrette. And it was built in 1950, according to unconfirmed reports, by a local contractor named Archie Rackley.
Originally, the Faro Blanco Lighthouse had a simplified form (compared to the classic lighthouse) and was not intended to solve problems of facilitating navigation. But it was good for attracting tourists as a tunnel tree in Sequoia and Redwood Parks.
Interesting facts about Faro Blanco Lighthouse:
- The Faro Blanco Lighthouse is 65 feet tall.
- Its walls today are painted white with a red outline
- One of them also has its name written on it
Marathon did not become a town until 1999 and was originally a small settlement that was given its name during the construction of the railroad. The remains of the bridge for this road can be seen just as you leave Marathon. The bridge is called the Old Seven Mile Bridge and it connects the Middle Keys and Lower Keys, where the famous Key West and our favorite beaches at Bahia Honda Park are located.
In the mid-20th century, the Davis Docks boating center was built here with docks and a decorative lighthouse, around which a tourist infrastructure began to form with lodging apartments as well as a seafood restaurant.
In September 1960, Hurricane Donna struck the Florida Keys, destroying the Davis Docks. They were quickly rebuilt, but the next year they were hit again by Hurricane Betsy, and then Hurricane Inez said its word, destroying them again in 1965. However, the lighthouse still survived their onslaught. Since then, Marathon has been subjected to many tests of endurance, and has withstood them with admirable honor.
In 1967 Davis Docks changed ownership, and then were renamed Faro Blanco and completely rebuilt. The new owners created one of the largest yacht clubs in Florida with a luxury resort, giving Marathon and its white lighthouse a new lease on life. They soon sold the successful resort for a tangible return on their investment.
The project was so successful that Faro Blanco changed owners several more times, who tried to make a quick buck from rising real estate prices, while not really investing in its development. This went on until the mid-1970s when the next owners decided to make a change. They built apartments for rent, Kelsey’s & Anglers Lounge restaurant and an Olympic pool for the locals.
Another Faro Blanco revival came relatively recently when the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma, which hit Marathon in 2005, was repaired. It took many years to settle the losses, make another change of ownership, and rebuild.
The resort was completely rebuilt by Spottswood, who rebuilt and repainted the lighthouse and installed a new rotating spotlight on top of it.
Among other things, a modern 125-room Hayatt Place hotel, a full-service marina, and an elegant seafood restaurant with a waterfront bar were built on the grounds of the resort. And now, a decade later, in January 2015, the resort reopened as the Marathon Hyatt Place, Faro Blanco Resort & Yacht Club.
And the Faro Blanco Lighthouse is still a prominent landmark not only for pleasure boats and yachts, but also as a tourist attraction. It has withstood many devastating storms and will forever be remembered in Marathon history as a model of resilience and strength!
Where is Faro Blanco Lighthouse located
Faro Blanco Lighthouse is located in Marathon, Florida, USA, in the central Florida Keys (Vaca Key) at the Faro Blanco Resort and Yacht Club at 1996 Overseas Highway, Marathon, FL 33050. It is very close to Turtle Hospital, on the bay. Turn from Overseas Highway to the Hyatt Place Marathon Hotel.
How to get there
You can get to Faro Blanco Lighthouse in Marathon Florida from Miami or Key West by car, shuttle, or bus.
We rented a car at Miami airport and drove 170 km on our own, travel time about 3 hours.
There is a 301 Dade-Monroe Express bus (schedule) from South Miami from Florida City, ticket costs about $3.
You can also fly into Key West and from there to Marathon in just 1 hour by car (rent) or take the Lower Keys Shuttle for only $4-5.
Hours of operation
Faro Blanco Lighthouse is open to the public daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. without a lunch break.
What to see at Faro Blanco Lighthouse
Today, the Faro Blanco Lighthouse is the office for the dock duty officer who regulates the harbor. There is also a small souvenir shop in front of the entrance to the lighthouse premises and a marina with marinas for yachts and motorboats around it.
Sea excursions depart from here during the day, and in the early morning the most venturesome spin fishing enthusiasts return from a night of fishing.
We had a couple of hours of fun watching boats with their catch and boats with tourists returning from a boat trip into the harbor. There are walking paths along the marina that are used by tourists and locals alike who walk their dogs in the morning.
Our tip: Near the Faro Blanco Lighthouse, it’s interesting to meet sunsets and sunrises. We managed to do both. The pictures turned out very beautiful!
Hyatt Place Hotel
Next to the Faro Blanco Lighthouse, a modern 4-star Hyatt Place hotel with deluxe rooms was just recently built. We personally stayed there and were very pleased with the comfortable and modern furnishings in the rooms as well as the high level of service. Completing our experience was an incredibly good hot breakfast with farmhouse yogurt and fresh berries.
We rate our stay at the Hyatt Place Marathon as high as possible and recommend an overnight stay to anyone traveling on their own in the Florida Keys! Check out the rooms and rates on Bookings – direct link.
Lighthouse Grill Restaurant
The Lighthouse Grill restaurant is located right on the harbor, with the Faro Blanco Lighthouse in the middle. It is very popular with vacationers in Marathon due to the fact that it is the perfect place to dine al fresco.
The restaurant’s outdoor veranda offers a panoramic view of the beautiful sunset over the water. We visited there too and were very pleased with the food choices. Despite the fact that it is a fish restaurant where the main course is made with freshly caught seafood, even for us vegetarians there were some options.
We recommend making reservations at Lighthouse Grill in advance or arriving early. Dinner starts at 5 p.m., and tables are usually full by sundown.
Check out the evening menu at Lighthouse Grill here.
Veranda Bar is also open for lovers of a casual atmosphere – it’s the perfect place to relax after dinner or stop by during happy hour in the afternoon.
Our review of the visit
We arrived at Faro Blanco Lighthouse in the afternoon, right after visiting Sombrero Beach, considered one of the best beaches on the Florida Keys. The first thing we did was put the car in the parking lot and checked into the Hyatt Place Hotel, a room we had pre-booked here.
After a little rest in the hotel room, we went for a walk around the resort, walked to the harbor and saw this white lighthouse for the first time. It was still open, so we went inside to see what was interesting. Unfortunately, other than a small souvenir shop, there was nothing else there, you can’t even go upstairs.
Faro Blanco Lighthouse looks much more attractive from the outside than it really is. It is probably because it was built for beauty and to attract tourists.
But it didn’t seem the best idea to watch the picturesque sunset from the veranda of the bar, so we went to the other side of the harbor, not too far to walk. We watched seabirds and boats coming in and took some good pictures with the lighthouse there.
We were lucky with the sunset, it was quite beautiful. And we enjoyed walking there so much that we decided to go back to Faro Blanco Lighthouse again in the morning to admire the sunrise right after an early breakfast. Neither the sunrise nor the breakfast disappointed us either, we were very happy with our stay here.
I think a stay at Marathon and especially the Hyatt Place is the best for a leisurely exploration of the Keys, which they deserve.
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