A Travel Price Comparison for Florida Fort Lauderdale vs. Marathon for Resorts, Beaches, Couples, and Nightlife

Should you visit Fort Lauderdale or Marathon?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Fort Lauderdale and Marathon. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale is a spirited, luxury, and high energy coastal city. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. Other reasons to visit include shopping, nightlife, and food.

Marathon

Marathon is a beautiful, relaxing, and quaint island. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It's also known for scuba diving and snorkeling, beaches, and nightlife.

Fort Lauderdale and Marathon: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Very walkable
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to the Local Beaches
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Fort Lauderdale or Marathon?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Fort Lauderdale. Although Fort Lauderdale and Marathon are both popular with visitors, Fort Lauderdale has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Fort Lauderdale is more touristy than Marathon and is popular for its canals, beaches, walkable waterfront, and luxury resorts. It is also home to The Local Beaches. Marathon is popular for its Loggerhead sea turtles, the Dolphin Research Center, Sombrero Beach, and its many places to scuba dive and snorkel.

How is Fort Lauderdale different from Marathon?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Marathon and Fort Lauderdale. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is the Food Better in Fort Lauderdale or Marathon? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Fort Lauderdale
Marathon

Both Fort Lauderdale and Marathon offer a number of good restaurants to choose from.

Fort Lauderdale offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. Seafood is the obvious option with popular dishes being fish tacos, sea bass, and scallop risotto. There are many waterfront restaurants or you could head to Las Olas Boulevard, which has many bistros, cafes, and restaurants.

Marathon has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. There are restaurants with waterfront terraces, raw bars, and other seafood eateries where you can enjoy fresh caught fish for a reasonable price.


Is Fort Lauderdale or Marathon Better for Nightlife?

Fort Lauderdale
Marathon

Fort Lauderdale is great for nightlife. Also, Marathon is not as popular, but is still a nice island for nightlife and partying.

Many people head to Fort Lauderdale for the nightlife scene. Trendy and upscale partying is the name of the game in this Florida city. Most people head to the beach, Las Olas Blvd, River Front and The New Hard Rock Seminole Hotel Complex for the best bars and clubs. You'll find the most activity around the weekends, but there really is something going on any night of the week.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Marathon. Popular nightlife venues include JJ’s Dog House & Sports Bar, Brass Monkey, and Cabana Club.

Is Fort Lauderdale or Marathon Better for Resorts?

Fort Lauderdale
Marathon

Fort Lauderdale is a must-visit destination for its luxury resorts. Also, Marathon is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its resorts.

Fort Lauderdale offers an unforgettable resort vacation. Luxury beachfront resorts are plentiful in the area. Several of the most impressive include the Ritz-Carlton, W Fort Lauderdale, and the Dalmar. Most resorts have a beachfront pool, hot tubs, and depending on the resort, a kid's club.

In Marathon, you'll find some of the region's top resorts. Popular resorts include Isla Bella Beach Resort and Tranquility Bay Resort.

Is Fort Lauderdale or Marathon Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Fort Lauderdale
Marathon

You'll find good places where you can go scuba diving or snorkeling in Fort Lauderdale and Marathon.

Grab a mask and fins and explore the underwater scenery in Fort Lauderdale. Although the snorkeling doesn't compare to what you'll find further south around the Florida Keys, there are some great places to pull your mask and fins out in the area. Popular snorkeling spots nearby include the Vista Park Reef, Pompano Beach, and Hollywood North Beach Park.

Marathon has a few good snorkeling spots. There are many dive shops around Marathon and the area has dive spots that are great for every level. Some of the best sites are Sombrero Reef, Coffins Patch, and Thunderbolt wreck. There are also many snorkeling trips that head out to Sombrero Reef.


Is Fort Lauderdale or Marathon Better for Beaches?

Fort Lauderdale
Marathon

Fort Lauderdale is a must-visit destination for its beaches. Also, Marathon is not as popular, but is still a nice island for the beache.

The beaches in Fort Lauderdale are among the best in the world. With seven miles of beautiful sandy beaches, a fun boardwalk, and impressive views, the beaches here are among the best in the area. They are surprisingly walkable and, while there can be crowds, there's still a laid-back and relaxing atmosphere.

The beaches at Marathon attract visitors from all over. Sombrero Beach is a popular spot for picnics, swimming and seeing the Loggerhead Turtles from April through October.

Is the Shopping Better in Fort Lauderdale or Marathon?

Fort Lauderdale
Marathon

Fort Lauderdale is a nice place to visit for shopping. However, Marathon is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Fort Lauderdale. For interesting local boutiques head to Las Olas Boulevard and for name brand stores you'll want to visit Sawgrass Mills Mall.

Marathon is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Fort Lauderdale or Marathon Better for Families?

Fort Lauderdale
Marathon

Both Fort Lauderdale and Marathon are great family-friendly destinations.

Fort Lauderdale is a very family-friendly place to visit. With seven miles of beautiful sandy beaches and a number of kid-oriented activities, the kids will love it here. Fun activities include Bluefoot Pirate Adventures, Butterfly World, and Funderdome. On sunny days there are many outdoor recreation areas and when the weather isn't cooperating, there are hands-on museums.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Marathon is very family-friendly. Kids will enjoy getting face-to-face with dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center. Families can also explore Pigeon Key or play in the water at Sombrero Beach. Families will find no shortage of activities on the island.


Is Fort Lauderdale or Marathon Better for Couples?

Fort Lauderdale
Marathon

Fort Lauderdale is a must-visit destination for romance. Also, Marathon is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its romantic activities.

Fort Lauderdale has so much to offer for a romantic couple's vacation. Fine dining, beautiful beaches, and great shopping make for a great romantic getaway. Couples and honeymooners love relaxing at the beaches in Fort Lauderdale. A sunset walk on the beach and a stay at a romantic resort will make for an unforgettable trip.

Marathon is a very popular place to visit for couples. With beautiful views, 7 Mile Bridge, and plenty of activities, this area makes a romantic destination for couples. There are beaches and waterfront spots that offer a romantic setting for couples.

Is Fort Lauderdale or Marathon Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Fort Lauderdale
Marathon

Fort Lauderdale is adequate for times when you don't have a car. However, Marathon is not a good destination for its public transit.

Public transit is mostly limited in Fort Lauderdale. Transportation options include a water taxi and the Sun Trolley Hop-on Bus.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Marathon. There's no real public transportation in town. A car is essential.

Is Fort Lauderdale or Marathon a more walkable city?

Fort Lauderdale
Marathon

Fort Lauderdale is great for its walkability. However, Marathon is not a good destination for its high level of walkability.

Fort Lauderdale is very walkable. It is one of the most walkable Florida communities with a boardwalk and several pedestrian areas that are fun to wander around.

Marathon is generally not very walkable. Shops and restaurants and spread out along a central road, making walking difficult to impossible.


For even more information, also check out Is Fort Lauderdale Worth Visiting? and Is Marathon Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Marathon or Fort Lauderdale?

How long in Fort Lauderdale or Marathon?

Both Fort Lauderdale and Marathon have a number of activities to choose from. In our opinion, Fort Lauderdale has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Fort Lauderdale than Marathon. However, 3-7 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Families should spend more time in Fort Lauderdale than Marathon. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Fort Lauderdale, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Fort Lauderdale than Marathon. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Fort Lauderdale that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Fort Lauderdale than Marathon if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Fort Lauderdale.


  • How many days in Fort Lauderdale or Marathon? Ideal Length of Stay
    Fort Lauderdale 3-7 
    Marathon 3-7

One day in Fort Lauderdale or Marathon?

The beautiful coastal city of Fort Lauderdale offers food and scuba diving and snorkeling. Most people come for the beaches. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

The beautiful destination of Marathon offers food and scuba diving and snorkeling. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

A weekend in Fort Lauderdale or Marathon?

Fort Lauderdale is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

The island of Marathon offers scuba diving and snorkeling and nightlife. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

Five days in Fort Lauderdale or Marathon?

Fort Lauderdale is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. It's no surprise that beaches is why people visit. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Fort Lauderdale, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Marathon is a great place to explore. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. This island offers something for everyone. It is common to spend five days here. Five days is often enough time to do most activities.


A week in Fort Lauderdale or Marathon?

Fort Lauderdale is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that beaches is why people visit. It is common to spend one week here. It's also a great beach destination, too. One week is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Fort Lauderdale has to offer. This coastal city offers something for everyone.

The relaxing island of Marathon offers food and scuba diving and snorkeling. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. For many, it makes a great getaway for one week. Because of this, one week is usually enough time for a trip here.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Train & Rail Tours in United States of America, The Best Sightseeing Tours in United States of America, The Best Cruise Tours and Packages in United States of America, and The Best Cultural Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Marathon or Fort Lauderdale?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Fort Lauderdale is $182, while the average daily cost in Marathon is $158. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Fort Lauderdale and Marathon in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Fort Lauderdale $96
    Marathon $76
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Fort Lauderdale $192
    Marathon $152
Compare Hotels in Fort Lauderdale and Marathon

Looking for a hotel in Fort Lauderdale or Marathon? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Fort Lauderdale


Hotels in Marathon


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Fort Lauderdale Hotel Prices and Marathon Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Fort Lauderdale $51
    Marathon $47

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Fort Lauderdale

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Fort Lauderdale:

  • Try find your better than us ! Airport transfer in Fort Lauderdale HTL-APT (FLL): $285
  • Try find your better than us ! Airport transfer in Fort Lauderdale APT-HTL (FLL): $285
  • Fort Lauderdale Airport Private Transfer (Round-Trip): $285
  • Private Transfer from Fort Lauderdale Airport to Key Largo: $262
  • Private Transfer from Fort Lauderdale Airport to Islamorada : $262
  • Bimini Day Cruise from Fort Lauderdale with Round-Trip Miami Transfer: $259
  • Private transfer from Port of Miami to Fort Lauderdale: $220
  • Fort Lauderdale Airport(FLL) to Key Largo/ Marathon -Roundtrip Private Transfer: $218
  • Transfer to Miami: $200
  • Fort Myers Transfer To Fort Lauderdale Airport (UP TO 14 PASSENG): $192
  • Marco island Transfer to Fort Lauderdale Airport (UP TO 14PASS): $162
  • Fort Lauderdale Airport Private Transfer to Port Everglades: $160

Is it cheaper to fly into Fort Lauderdale or Marathon?

Prices for flights to both Marathon and Fort Lauderdale change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Fort Lauderdale $49
    Marathon $51
Typical Food Prices in Fort Lauderdale

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Fort Lauderdale:


  • Quick Lunch
    $12

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Fort Lauderdale

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Fort Lauderdale.

  • Hollywood Florida Walking Food Tour : $99
  • Downtown Fort Lauderdale Dinner & Drinks Tour: $109
  • Downtown Fort Lauderdale Dinner and Drinks Tour: $114

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Fort Lauderdale $15
    Marathon $27

Tours and Activities in Fort Lauderdale

Here are a few actual costs in Fort Lauderdale for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 1-Hour Interactive Pirate Cruise in Ft. Lauderdale (arrive 30 minutes early): $25
  • 2 Hour Intimate Cruise for 2ppl w/ Catering - Pompano Beach: $270
  • 2 Hours Electric Bike Experience on Ft Lauderdale: $40
  • 2-hour 4PM Private Cruise for 6ppl - Pompano Beach: $250
  • 4 Hour Waterway and Sandbar Cruise: $803
  • 90-Minute Parasailing Adventure Above Fort Lauderdale, FL: $80
  • 90-Minute Snorkel & Seabob Underwater Guided Reef Tour in Fort Lauderdale: $161
  • Air Boat Tour of Palm Beach in The Swamp Monster: $150
  • Atlantic Ocean Snorkeling Experience: $79
  • Beach Snorkeling Adventure in Lauderdale by the Sea: $45
  • Carrie B Cruises! Beautiful and Fun THE VENICE OF AMERICA TOUR!!!: $32
  • Champagne Sunset Cruise in Ft. Lauderdale: $89

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Fort Lauderdale $33
    Marathon $24
Typical Alcohol Prices in Fort Lauderdale

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Fort Lauderdale are as follows:


  • Beer
    $7.30

Sample the Local Flavors in Fort Lauderdale

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Fort Lauderdale:

  • Ft Lauderdale Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $37
  • Guided Happy Hour Bar Crawl by Beer Bike: $64
  • Pedibus Pub Crawl in Fort Lauderdale: $74
  • Party Bike Bar Crawl: $74


When comparing the travel costs between Fort Lauderdale and Marathon, we can see that Fort Lauderdale is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Fort Lauderdale Expensive? and Is Marathon Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Fort Lauderdale or Marathon?

Fort Lauderdale has a larger population, and is about 20 times larger than the population of Marathon. When comparing the sizes of Fort Lauderdale and Marathon, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Fort Lauderdale or Marathon?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Fort Lauderdale or Marathon in the Summer?

Both Marathon and Fort Lauderdale during the summer are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Fort Lauderdale in the summer for the beaches, snorkeling, and the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, most visitors come to Marathon for the beaches, snorkeling, and the family-friendly experiences during these months.

Fort Lauderdale is around the same temperature as Marathon in the summer. The daily temperature in Fort Lauderdale averages around 83°F (28°C) in July, and Marathon fluctuates around 84°F (29°C).

In Marathon, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Fort Lauderdale. In the summer, Fort Lauderdale often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Marathon. Fort Lauderdale gets 316 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Marathon receives 328 hours of full sun.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Fort Lauderdale. Fort Lauderdale usually gets more rain in July than Marathon. Fort Lauderdale gets 5.9 inches (149 mm) of rain, while Marathon receives 3.3 inches (83 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Fort Lauderdale 83°F (28°C) 
    Marathon 84°F (29°C)

Should I visit Fort Lauderdale or Marathon in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Fort Lauderdale and Marathon. Most visitors come to Fort Lauderdale for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area during these months. Furthermore, the autumn months attract visitors to Marathon because of the natural beauty of the area.

In the autumn, Fort Lauderdale is around the same temperature as Marathon. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Fort Lauderdale in October average around 78°F (26°C), and Marathon averages at about 80°F (27°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Marathon this time of the year. In Fort Lauderdale, it's very sunny this time of the year. Fort Lauderdale usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Marathon during autumn. Fort Lauderdale gets 275 hours of sunny skies, while Marathon receives 258 hours of full sun in the autumn.

Marathon receives a lot of rain in the autumn. Fort Lauderdale gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In October, Fort Lauderdale usually receives more rain than Marathon. Fort Lauderdale gets 5.6 inches (143 mm) of rain, while Marathon receives 5.1 inches (129 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Fort Lauderdale 78°F (26°C) 
    Marathon 80°F (27°C)

Should I visit Fort Lauderdale or Marathon in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Fort Lauderdale as well as Marathon. The winter months attract visitors to Fort Lauderdale because of the shopping scene and the cuisine. Additionally, the cuisine are the main draw to Marathon this time of year.

In January, Fort Lauderdale is generally around the same temperature as Marathon. Daily temperatures in Fort Lauderdale average around 67°F (20°C), and Marathon fluctuates around 70°F (21°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Marathon. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Fort Lauderdale this time of the year. In the winter, Fort Lauderdale often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Marathon. Fort Lauderdale gets 243 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Marathon receives 252 hours of full sun.

Fort Lauderdale usually gets more rain in January than Marathon. Fort Lauderdale gets 2.2 inches (55 mm) of rain, while Marathon receives 1.7 inches (43 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Fort Lauderdale 67°F (20°C) 
    Marathon 70°F (21°C)

Should I visit Fort Lauderdale or Marathon in the Spring?

Both Marathon and Fort Lauderdale are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. The beaches and the natural beauty are the main draw to Fort Lauderdale this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Marathon for the beaches and the natural beauty.

Fort Lauderdale is around the same temperature as Marathon in the spring. The daily temperature in Fort Lauderdale averages around 75°F (24°C) in April, and Marathon fluctuates around 77°F (25°C).

It's quite sunny in Marathon. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Fort Lauderdale. Fort Lauderdale usually receives less sunshine than Marathon during spring. Fort Lauderdale gets 300 hours of sunny skies, while Marathon receives 326 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Fort Lauderdale usually receives more rain than Marathon. Fort Lauderdale gets 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain, while Marathon receives 0.8 inches (21 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Fort Lauderdale 75°F (24°C) 
    Marathon 77°F (25°C)

Typical Weather for Marathon and Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale Marathon
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 67°F (20°C) 2.2 inches (55 mm) 70°F (21°C) 1.7 inches (43 mm)
Feb 68°F (20°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm) 71°F (21°C) 1.4 inches (36 mm)
Mar 72°F (22°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm) 74°F (23°C) 1.7 inches (42 mm)
Apr 75°F (24°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm) 77°F (25°C) 0.8 inches (21 mm)
May 79°F (26°C) 6.4 inches (162 mm) 81°F (27°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Jun 81°F (27°C) 9.4 inches (238 mm) 83°F (28°C) 4.5 inches (114 mm)
Jul 83°F (28°C) 5.9 inches (149 mm) 84°F (29°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm)
Aug 83°F (28°C) 7.5 inches (191 mm) 84°F (29°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm)
Sep 82°F (28°C) 7.6 inches (194 mm) 83°F (29°C) 5.7 inches (144 mm)
Oct 78°F (26°C) 5.6 inches (143 mm) 80°F (27°C) 5.1 inches (129 mm)
Nov 73°F (23°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 76°F (24°C) 2 inches (50 mm)
Dec 69°F (21°C) 1.9 inches (48 mm) 72°F (22°C) 1.4 inches (35 mm)