Turquoise water, poolside drinks, and catch-of-the-day dinners await at Hawks Cay Resort. This 60-acre Florida resort has it all – activities for land and sea, kids camp adventures, and an adults-only pool and bar.
I recently booked a girls’ getaway to Hawks Cay Resort with the notion that my newly minted 21-year-old daughter and I would spend a few days lounging in the sand, books in hand. What I failed to take into account was that once there, I wouldn’t want to relax. Why would I, when there was so much to do? I could be reef snorkeling or paddle-boarding or boating around the island!
Hawks Cay Resort is nestled in the middle of the Florida Keys, about halfway between Key Largo and Key West. At 60 acres, the resort spans the entire island of Duck Key, with water views at every turn. You may want to rent a car to drive the two hours from Miami International Airport, but once you arrive at Hawks Cay, you’ll have little reason to leave. With five pools and a saltwater lagoon, five restaurants, tennis courts, complimentary bicycles, mini-golf, a marina, and even dolphins to visit, your days will be packed.
We started mornings at the resort early, with sunrise walks around the property and a poolside breakfast at Sixty-One Prime. Pancakes, fruit and cappuccino were just the ticket. My daughter then snuck off to claim a lounger by the adults-only pool and I set out to explore the island. There were crafts with Koral the Mermaid by the family pool, free SUPs to try in the saltwater lagoon, and charter boats in the marina preparing for half- and full-day fishing excursions. I loved walking along docks, watching both giant iguanas and pelicans.
In the afternoons, the resort bustled with guests enjoying outdoor activities and amenities. In Coral Cay – the family zone with pools, a playground, a soccer field and a golf putting course – there were Ninja Warrior, ultimate dodgeball, and kickball championships taking place. By the main pool, there were more family games. By one poolside bar, adults were taking a jelly bean tasting challenge. It was all great fun, but after a lunch of burger and fries from the Tiki Grill, I decided to indulge in a massage at Calm Waters Spa.
After some quiet time, I got back to it. Evenings at Hawks Cay were lively and packed with good food. One night, we tried Angler and Ale for dockside fresh dining in the marina. The next, we enjoyed lobster and chocolate cake at Sixty-One Prime while joining in an outdoor trivia game. I won the sports trivia round (thanks to my random knowledge of Zambonis) and my prize was free drinks from the bar.
At Hawks Cay Resort, you can choose to stay in a recently renovated hotel room or in a private villa. We stayed in the centrally located hotel and enjoyed being steps away from the main pools, fire pit, restaurants, and sunset boat cruise. The resort’s two- and three-bedroom villas are larger, and some have pools. But, many of the 250 villas are privately owned, so you may get one that has not been renovated.
On our last night at Hawks Cay, we took a beautiful sunset cruise with Solé Watersports. The owner, Melanie Slaga, is an Austin native. If you visit, be sure to check out Solé for watersports rentals, tours and cruises. You can make the most of your time in the Florida Keys with a reef snorkel and sandbar escape or a private boat excursion. Tell Melanie we sent you and give our regards from Texas!
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Cover photo courtesy Heidi Gollub
Heidi Gollub is happy to be traveling after spending a year in her closet office. She lives in Austin with her five children and can’t wait until they can all travel together again.