Southern Getaway: The Florida Keys (with Video)

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It’s no secret I love traveling overseas, but sometimes I find myself looking for a quick getaway that’s not too far from home. As an Atlanta gal, that often means finding something in the South. This summer, I was invited to stay at Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys, giving me the chance to add a new option to my list of southern escapes.

WATCH THE VIDEO (and continue reading below)

GETTING THERE

I landed in Miami International Airport after a roughly 2-hour flight from Atlanta.

After arriving, I met up with my girl gang for the trip. I was so excited to finally meet face-to-face with a group of women I had grown to know and admire through Instagram:

⭐ Nina: @SidewalkerDaily

⭐ Lisa: @LisaHomsy

⭐ Dianna: @FollowDee

⭐ Christina: @TheBoldBrunette

⭐ Aggie: @Travel_InHerShoes

Together, we hopped into our ride and drove 90 miles from Miami to Duck Key. You actually have a couple of options for getting to the Florida Keys from the airport. You can rent a car and drive there yourself or you can choose to have yourself driven! There’s Ahoy Taxi or the Florida Keys Express Shuttle, which offer transportation services to the Keys from both the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International and Miami International Airports.

WHERE WE STAYED

What I love about the Florida Keys is that each island is so different! Now that I have a Tesla, if I ever wanted to take a road trip down there, I would probably spend my time exploring the different islands and could easily stay somewhere that offers EV charging accessibility. There are destination chargers scattered throughout the keys and a supercharger is located just 30 miles north of Key Largo.

For those of you not traveling by EV (electric vehicle), your options are limitless. We stayed on the very centrally located island of Duck Key, FL. I was excited to stay here because I love visiting places I’ve never even heard of. I knew of Key Largo and the Key West, but I never heard of Duck Key. So in my eyes, that made this place a hidden gem.

We checked into Hawks Cay Resort, which was designed to feel like a private island within an island. Their goal was to create a space that feels like a Caribbean getaway without having to whip out your passport. While I mostly like to get out and explore, sometimes I just want to go on the type of vacation where I never have to even leave my hotel—and that’s exactly what happened here. There was so much to do at Hawks Cay that I never even had to leave the premises.

WHAT WE ATE

I’m not going to lie. An awkward part of being vegan is visiting seaside destinations like the Florida Keys and having to ask for vegan food at restaurants. I always quietly wonder if I’m being judged for vacationing in a place that is well known for its abundance of fresh seafood. It is what it is though and I’m definitely not going to let dietary preferences stop me from traveling where I want to go.

Thankfully, Hawks Cay Resort was cool about it! Every restaurant at the resort is amazing and if you have any dietary restrictions, then you can just let the chef know. They have several restaurants to choose from, all of which cater to a wide range of budgets. My favorite restaurant was Alma, where I had a delicious coconut curry infused tofu dish–it was so good!

For the seafood lovers out there, you’ll certainly love this place. Everyone on the trip raved about the menu at each restaurant we dined at. And don’t get me started on the dessert. I recall at one point every person at the table ordering seconds.

Florida Keys Travel

Florida Keys Travel

Coconut tofu curry!

HOW WE RELAXED

Since the goal of this stay was to have a stress-free girls trip, we made sure to take advantage of the various amenities that offered us peace and relaxation.

First up was the private cabana rental. We all lounged outside by the adult-only pool, ate a robust meal, and sipped on yummy tropical cocktails. The blaring sun was never a problem either because the cabanas kept us shaded while the pool kept us cool.

The other way we relaxed was by getting massages at the Calm Waters Spa. I slipped into my robe and slippers and spent almost an hour getting all the kinks out my back. Afterwards, I retreated to the jacuzzi and sauna where I continued my mission to unwind.

Florida Keys Travel

Florida Keys Travel

HOW WE PLAYED

Relaxing is great and all, but you know I’m an adventurista at heart. I couldn’t sit still for long, so I scheduled some time to get out and play.

My favorite activity by far was parasailing! We drifted away on a boat one morning to embark on what we hoped wouldn’t be a terrifying experience. The gentle sea breeze that softly tapped our faces when we first set sail eventually transformed into a strong wind that whipped our hair like we were in a Beyoncé music video. Despite all that, I was able to safely launch into the sky for several glorious minutes.

I also really wanted to go jet skiing, but the weather didn’t quite cooperate with us the morning we planned to go. So instead I retreated to the saltwater lagoon to do some paddle boarding. Other water activities they offer include snorkeling, sunset cruising, and kayak rentals.

Florida Keys Travel

Florida Keys Travel

What’s your favorite southern vacation spot? Let me know in the comment section below!

xoxo,

Ashley 💋

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