Over the span of a lifetime, I probably lost count how many times I have traveled to Florida for work or play. When I think about it, most of those getaways were limited to Miami for a party weekend, or Orlando for a family theme park excursion. Needless to say, when I was invited to visit the Florida Keys for my first press trip since 2019, I was super eager to broaden my experience in Sunshine State. And while I love nothing more than traveling with my family, I had no problem with a little solo time away after countless months together!
When you hear about the Keys, most people probably just think about Key West. Guilty of that here, so while doing some research prior to the trip, I was kind of shocked to learn that Florida Keys are made up of over 1700 islands. That’s a lot of margaritas and Jimmy Buffet! Anyway, there are a couple of ways to travel down to the Keys. You can fly into Key West Airport, but with so many islands and destinations in the Keys, you may have a long drive to your destination. You can also opt to fly into Miami Dade Airport, which can save you a connecting flight, and drive to your island spot, which is what I did.
Following our ride from Miami, we were greeted by the incredible views of the ocean, as we pulled into our hotel. Hawks Cay Island Resort is located midway into the Florida Keys on the secluded 60 acre island of Duck Key. Known for world class fishing, exciting water sports, a saltwater lagoon, five swimming pools, and plenty of room types to choose from, we had plenty to look forward to over the next few days.
Each room features classic West Indies or Caribbean décor. The restaurants at Hawks Cay also embrace that island both in their cuisine and environment, offering fresh local ingredients. Sixty-One Prime is a great spot for an upscale option, or hit Oasis Cay, Coral Grill or one their many other dining options for a frosty beverage by the fire pit or lunch with your feet in the sand. I noticed that Hawk’s Cay is definitely a family friendly hotel, but I could totally see sneaking down here with some girlfriends and just Jason for an R&R weekend!
With all the water around the Keys, what better activity to take on than some boat time. Discover Boating arranged all of our boating activities for the trip, leaving me with one remark…. WOW! Each day was an incredible, unique experience! Discover Boating is the world’s largest online resource and guide to recreational boating. A go-to for tips and advice on how to choose and buy a boat, boating activities and where to go boating. Our first excursion included Seadoos, which brought back so many memories of my childhood, when we had two machines, and I recall plenty of rides and laughs on the water with my siblings!
Next up, wakesurfing with Nautique! Ok let me just say, this was such a blast! I’ve attempted wake surfing in the past, never successfully standing. Well, that all changed on this trip, and I have the photos to prove it. Our instructor and pro wakesurfer, Noah Flegel, demonstrated and thoroughly explained the technique and boom, our entire group managed to get up! I think I have a new favorite activity come this summer!
Next watersport – FISHING! Ok confession, this was probably the one and only time I’ve gone fishing, apart from a shoreline cast on a tiny lake when I was 7 years old! After our first hour on the boat, the sun was great, but I honestly thought we weren’t going to catch anything, but finally we got a nibble. That one bit grew to our group pulling in over 20 fish. 19 of them went back in the Bay, but one of them (my catch!) we handed to Angler & Ale chefs to prepare for us. It doesn’t get any fresher than that! Probably one of the best pieces of fish I’ve ever eaten, and I’m not just saying that because I caught it!!
I know it sounds kind of weird, but I am still dreaming about the dinners from Keys! Our first night we dined at Angler & Ale, conveniently located in Hawks Bay Resort. The food was super fresh with local catches and offered island style drinks. As mentioned above, they were great hosts for our post fishing luncheon as well.
Our second night after a full day on the water, we headed to Pierre’s Restaurant located in the heart of Islamorada. Pierre’s Restaurant is set along palm-lined beach overlooking Florida Bay, and offers tasty French cuisine. While there, I wondered why the two story building on property looked so familiar and was surprised to learn it was the Rayburn family house from the show Bloodline (shot predominantly in the Keys!).
On our final night we made our way to Lazy Days South, located in the heart of Marathon. Another oceanfront dining setting with exquisite Keys style cuisine. We pretty much ordered the entire menu, ranging from crab legs to key lime pie! Speaking of Key Lime pie, no meal is complete in the Florida Keys without a slice, so we had quite the sample of pie over the course of our trip!
Overall, what a trip! Huge thanks to Cru Of Two PR for arranging this fabulous experience, and even more fabulous group of editors. And more gratitude to Hawks Cay for hotel and accommodations, and Discover Boating for all of the amazing boating activities! Click here to see our reel!