Hawks Cay Resort Is The Best Luxury Family Resort In The Florida Keys. Located 100 miles south of Miami, Duck Key sits in between the Upper and Middle Keys. In New York, the winters are long, cold, and blustery, which is why so many of us travel over the schools’ February break. We’re suffering from a serious lack of Vitamin D and need to feel the sun-warmed sand between our toes.
So back in February 2017, when my husband got bit by the travel bug, I completely understood. We were stuck in NY in the freezing cold weather while many of his friends and their families were on vacation.
One morning, as he sat at the breakfast table scrolling endlessly through his Facebook feed, he kept commenting about all of the beautiful sunny places that people were visiting. I knew then that a family vacation was in our future. I just didn’t know when or where.
A few weeks later, my husband called me from the office. As soon as I answered the phone, I could tell he was pretty excited about something.
Remember when I told you I wanted to go on vacation?!
Well, I went ahead and booked us one! I hope you don’t mind…
As it turns out, my husband booked us a stay at Hawks Cay Resort & Marina in Duck Key. Located 100 miles south of Miami, Duck Key happily sits where the Upper Keys meet the Middle Keys. Or, if you are familiar with the Florida Keys, it’s roughly halfway between Key Largo and Key West.
This was our first trip to the Keys and what we loved most about it was that we were able to get that “Caribbean feel” without ever having to leave the United States. So, when you’re crunched for time, it’s an easily accessible destination, especially for New Yorkers.
Since we had such a thoroughly relaxing vacation at Hawks Cay Resort & Marina, I wanted to give you an idea of what the resort is really like and how it’s best suited for family travel.
Hawks Cay Resort Duck Key
If you have a private jet, you’re all set! You can fly directly into Marathon’s private airport, which is just 15 minutes away from Hawk Cay.
But we don’t have our own jet. Waaahhhh! So, we just flew into Fort Lauderdale and drove down through the Keys. You could do the same thing from Miami. It’s an incredibly scenic ride with turquoise waters and white bridges for miles and miles. It’s just stunning and truly worth every minute spent in the rental car with the kiddos!
And, if you prefer flying into Key West – you can do that too and just drive up the Keys instead.
Hawks Cay is a family-friendly resort with accommodations ranging from standard resort rooms and suites as well as villas and vacation rentals with fully equipped kitchens. Originally, we had planned to stay within the main resort building. But, when my husband called a Two Bedroom Townhome Villa was available, so we quickly jumped on it.
Any time I can book a room or suite with a kitchen, I’m all over it. Our children get really weird about eating when they travel with us and food is always the last thing on their minds. So, when I have a kitchen, I can prepare their favorite meals and never worry about what I’m going to feed them. And, this kitchen was great! It had everything we needed – oven, stove, fridge, glassware, cookery – and even a dishwasher! Better yet, it was squeaky clean and well appointed with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. There’s also a Publix right in Marathon, so we just went grocery shopping whenever we felt like it and then chilled out!
As far as the bedrooms in the townhouse went, they were fine. Each bedroom had its own full bathroom and that was a huge plus for our family of four. They were neat, clean, and tidy, but a little scarce in terms of decor and ambiance. (If you’ve ever stayed at The Beach Club in Disney World, it’s a very similar vibe.)
However, the Master had an amazing upper-level deck overlooking the marina and the view was gorgeous. Sadly, the kids stole the Master right out from under us! That meant we were left with the second bedroom, which just overlooked the parking lot and left much to be desired. But, the kids were so stinking excited about the Master Suite, we simply couldn’t steal it back. My husband and I have a lifetime of being alone together on vacation. But, the kids are only little once and the Master was a huge hit with them!
The townhouse also had a small living room with a television, which came in handy one rainy afternoon. A washer and dryer were also located on the main floor, which was another huge bonus for us. We were able to wash all of our dirty laundry as needed and when we got back to NY, all of the laundry was already done! That never happens!
But to be honest, whenever we were “home” most of our time was spent out on the back porch, which conveniently led down to a grassy area where the kids played frisbee most evenings while I made dinner. Or, they headed off to the marina to watch the manatees and tarpon swim around. (I kid you not – this is how they spent every sunset. Pretty cool, right?)
There are FIVE pools on the property including a tranquility pool for adults and a pirate ship pool for little kids. The property also has a small, man-made saltwater lagoon that’s perfect for paddleboarding and kayaking.
We spent time most of our time at the Resort Pool as that is located right next to the Saltwater Lagoon. This way our kids could just bounce from one swimming environment to the next. We also did some night swimming one brisk, windy evening. Well, the kids went swimming; my husband and I chilled out by the enormous fire pit with an adult beverage.
What To Do
Whether you want to rent bicycles and tour the island, or hit up a game of mini golf with the kids, or even just go fishing off the docks, there’s always something to do at Hawks Cay. We chose to go on a family Jet Ski tour through the mangroves, but we wish we had more time to take a sunset cruise or go parasailing!
You can also hang with the dolphins at The Dolphin Connection or watch the manatees lounge in the 85-slip marina when the fishing charters come in at the end of the day. There’s also a top-notch spa on site, but I regretfully did not make it there – maybe next time! And, if you’re traveling with kids, take advantage of Camp Hawk, a fun interactive environmental program geared just for kids!
But what it all boils down to is that a trip to Hawks Cay is all about relaxing. It is the complete polar opposite of Disney World.
Where To Eat
Hawks Cay has several restaurants on site to choose from, but since we had our own kitchen, we chose to make dinner most nights. However, we did eat at The Angler & Ale one night and the outdoor view was lovely. There’s a large fire pit on the deck to hang out by and a turfgrass area below – this means the kids can tear around after they’re done eating while you enjoy a glass of wine or an ice cold beer by the fire pit.
Our waiter was also really cool. He was kind enough to suggest the Conch Fritters, which to his amazement, was something we had never eaten before. They were quite tasty, and in my humble opinion, resembled a hush puppy. We also split the Key Wedge Salad, which was spot on. Then I had a Fish Sandwich (Call me boring, but it was delicious!) and he scarfed down a burger. Overall, we had a great meal with some local craft beers and a great view of the marina.
We also spent a lot of time at The Island Time Coffee Bar, which was a great place to grab light snacks like muffins and pastries, and most importantly, coffee. The Dockside Marina was also a convenient spot to pick up anything that you may have forgot to grab at Publix. And, Puglisi’s Pizza saved us when “Pizza Friday” rolled around — they delivered a piping hot pizza to our townhouse!
Insider Notes About Hawks Cay Resort
This vacation was unlike anything we had ever done before. To be honest, we had a lot of adjusting to do when we arrived because it is just so tranquil. However, after the first 24 hours, we settled into a groove and began to appreciate Duck Key for its quiet, calm nature.
Also, even though many things are included in the price of your stay, many other things are not and need to be rented like kayaks, paddleboards, bikes, and fishing poles. Fees are nominal, but they can quickly add up, especially if you’re traveling with multiple kids.
As a Mom, I can honestly say that Hawks Cay Resort & Marina in Duck Key is one of the safest places I have ever traveled to with my kids. I credit a lot of this to the resort staff and management, but I also feel that the layout makes perfect sense for families. There’s just enough room for kids to be kids – and teens to be teens – and adults to be adults, but it’s also just small enough that parents can keep an eye on everyone.
Have you ever been to Hawks Cay Resort & Marina in Duck Key? Did I miss any details? Drop me a line and let me know!