Dream Getaway at Hawks Cay Resort in South Florida

Resort offers family-friendly fun from dolphin encounters to a pirate ship

By Tiffany Olmstead, Macaroni Kid Monroe - West Monroe Publisher November 12, 2019

Visiting new places is something my family values. Each time we take a family vacation, we like to try somewhere new. This year, we had a unique opportunity to take a trip we will always remember to Hawks Cay Beach in southern Florida.

In 2018, Macaroni Kid National named me Publisher of the Year and gifted our family with a four-day vacation to the stunning Hawks Cay Resort. Located approximately 90 miles south of the Miami International Airport and 60 miles north of Key West, Hawks Cay Resort features a saltwater lagoon, multiple pools, and numerous on-site activities -- all included in your resort fee.

A drive to remember

We decided to truly make an adventure of our trip by making the 20-hour drive from our home in Louisiana instead of flying. I am so glad we made this choice. It gave us the chance to see even more sights along the way, such as the amazing Florida Everglades. I was surprised how often the kids put away their electronics as we drove, especially around the Everglades.

Plenty of room to roam

Once we arrived at Hawks Cay, we received the key to our home for the next four days. We walked into a welcoming villa furnished with everything a family could need. Upstairs, the kids’ room had two twin beds, the master bedroom had a king bed and a private patio, and we shared a full bath. Downstairs included a fully stocked kitchen, a living room, half-bath, and patio with gorgeous views.

After we unloaded and unpacked suitcases, we took the tram around the resort to discover all the amenities. There were so many! Hawks Cay Resort has everything you could possibly want to do on their property. There are five swimming pools, a family activity center, six restaurants, a full-service marina, dolphin encounters, a saltwater lagoon with kayaks and paddle-boards, kid and teen clubs, and a spa.  

Connecting with dolphins

The on-site Dolphin Connection is the only resort-based program of its kind where guests can interact and swim with dolphins in their natural environment. It’s also the only facility on the mainland U.S. that offers free public viewing of trained dolphins. Guests can enter the water, interact from the dock, or spend the entire day getting an up-close perspective and understanding of the dolphin and trainer relationship.

Safe adventures

The saltwater lagoon is fed from the ocean and guests have free access to kayaks and paddleboards. After trying the paddleboard for the first time at the lagoon, the kids asked daily to return. My son also loved the kayaks.  As a mom, I loved that they experienced both in the contained calm waters of the saltwater lagoon.

Aaargh! The perfect pirate nest for the young guest

Coral Cay is geared toward families and younger guests. The Pirate Ship Pool has slides, tunnels, water shooting cannons, and is a great place for splash pad fun. Be sure to check the daily resort schedule to meet Captain Hawk, Koral the Mermaid, and Priscilla the Pirate Queen. Coral Cay is also the host for Camp Hawk, where kids can take a break from their parents and experience hours of activities just for them!  

Exploring on our own

Our family explored the resort and Duck Key at our own pace with Coral Cay's free bicycle rentals. Our kids loved spotting iguanas, beautiful homes, boats, and gorgeous water views.

'The best waitress I ever had'

After a full day of swimming, sunbathing, and Coral Cay activities, it was time to enjoy the restaurants. On the resort, you will find gourmet, casual, and to-go options. If you are a coffee-lover, like my husband and me, you will love Island Time, which featured a full menu of Starbucks coffee. We dined for lunch mostly at the Tiki Grill near the main pool and lagoon with sandwiches and salads delivered poolside or at the lounge chairs. As a guest at Angler and Ale, we enjoyed the fresh fish tacos, burgers, and craft beer. At Sixty-One Prime, prime steaks and delectable signature seafood dishes in an elegant atmosphere was a perfect way to end our stay. My son thanked our waitress with hugs and told her, "You were the best waitress I ever had.” 

Full pampering

One of the slogans of Macaroni Kid is #TakeCareMamaBear and at Calm Waters Spa, you will be fully pampered. The relaxing ambiance begins as soon as you enter with the warm smiles of the staff, tranquil music, soothing colors, and rejuvenating treatments. The 7,000 square foot spa has eight treatment rooms, including two couples’ suites, three facial rooms and a tropical rain room with a Vichy shower for body treatments. For 50 uninterrupted minutes, the Calm Waters Custom Massage removed me from the stress of everyday demands with a specialized blend of Swedish and deep tissue therapeutic techniques with hot stones and aromatherapy. Additionally, the spa has a state-of-the-art fitness room with a complete schedule of group exercise classes, relaxation room, candlelit whirlpool, eucalyptus steam room, and dry sauna.

Thank you!

Being named the 2018 Publisher of the Year is a huge honor. Thank you to Joyce, Eric, and all of the publishers for the recognition. My family created wonderful memories at Hawks Cay Resort and spent time remembering how Macaroni Kid has been able to enrich our lives for the past four years.

The author and her family received a complimentary stay at the resort for the purposes of this review. Her opinions, however, are her own.